Fitness is hard to love sometimes—whether you can’t get yourself to the gym this week or are struggling to reach that goal you set three months ago. You don’t have to dislike it though, because fitness is what we make it. If we force ourselves to do the same workout day after day, of course we’re going to start getting bored. If we try to get to the gym before work, but hate waking up early, of course it’s going to suck.
There’s also the issue that we don’t like being told what to do. When it comes to our fitness goals we tend to lean on what ‘experts’ tells us we should be doing. We take this information so seriously that we don’t allow ourselves to look beyond their guidance and focus on what we really want!
To fall in love with fitness, you need to ease up a little bit. Rethink your goals, try something new and above all: do what you want to do. When you’re happy, fitness is easier to love—and isn’t that the goal anyway?
1. Try something new
If you’ve been doing the same workouts, in the same gym, for the last three, six or 12 months—it’s time to refresh your routine. Your body and mind are burned out, which means you’re less and less excited for your workout with each passing day. Slowly, you go from procrastinating, to simply avoiding. Eventually, you end up despising working out altogether, which can halt all the progress you’ve made this far.
To fall in love with fitness, try something new. Your mind and body crave challenge, so have fun with this 30-minute playground workout, test your cardio with a jump rope workout or head to the pool for an aquatic workout.
2. Do what you want to do
If someone asks you to do something you don’t like, do you do it? In most cases, no—and if you do, it’s begrudgingly. When it comes to working out, follow that same mentality and do what you want to do. While it may sound like an easy task, there’s a lot of “should” self-talk at play:
- I need to run more so I can lose this extra fat.
- I should work out longer because I missed yesterday’s session.
- I should really take that HIIT class so I’ll burn more calories.
- I should lift weights today because that article said I need to three days each week.
This is the way we talk to ourselves when deciding what to do for our workout, which can quickly lead to resentment. Instead, think about what you want to do. If your body is sore, take a yoga class. If you’re feeling strong, spend the workout lifting heavy weights. If you need to clear your mind, lace up your shoes and go for a run.
When you do what you want to do, you enjoy the activity, which makes it much easier to love.
3. Get the timing right
If you’re not a morning person, but your alarm goes off every day at 6 a.m. and you groan as you roll out of bed, you’re never going to love fitness. It’s not only inconvenient, but most workouts are likely grueling as you trudge through while half asleep.
It may require more planning, but working out at the right time will make every session more enjoyable. For example, if you feel more motivated after lunch, you can beat the 3 p.m. slump with an afternoon workout. If you deal with a lot of traffic after work, and your gym is close to the office, hit the gym post-work to beat traffic—and before you get cozy on the couch.
4. Set smaller goals
If you’re chasing an impossible fitness goal, you’ll never feel like what you’re doing is enough. Small goals help you love yourself and your workouts because you end each one feeling like a champion. Look at goals a little differently using the following ideas:
- Set goals for each workout: I will run for at least 15 minutes and do these five weight training exercises.
- Set goals for the week: I will work out three times this week.
- Set goals for the month: I will reach my 10K-distance goal this month.
This doesn’t mean you can’t set long-term, or hard-to-reach goals. It just means you need to find a balance of the two. If you’re never succeeding, and always feeling like a failure, you’ll quickly throw in the towel.
Learn to love fitness with these helpful tips. When you ease up on the “shoulds,” focus on smaller goals and workout when you’re awake and ready, you’ll be looking for every chance to get moving!