Fitness Tips: Say Goodbye to Gym Boredom
By Eve Hersh
I look forward to my workouts. But that wasn’t always the case.
I always equated that so-called “runner’s high” to a unicorn: pure myth. Try as I might to chase after it, I could never find it. But I eventually discovered that my attitude towards exercise was partly to blame. I viewed it as a chore. I dreaded gym time. I placed way too much emphasis on the number of calories I was burning during my workouts. And I felt discouraged when I didn’t see immediate results. (Really, who can blame me? There’s so much conflicted information out there about the “best” types of exercise, and combined with all that emphasis on having the “perfect” body it’s no wonder that women struggle with this!)
Through trial and error, research, and encouragement from fitness instructors and friends, I found some strategies that help me. By no means am I perfect–I still struggle through exercise, make excuses, and get frustrated when I’m not making more progress, but I can always get myself back on track with these tools. So turn that workout from boring chore to coveted “me time” with just a few steps.
1. Remind yourself why you’re working out. Are you working towards improved health? Stress relief? If you exercise because you feel like you have to, maybe it’s time to refocus. Pay attention to how your body feels, notice which muscles you’re working, focus your breath on the areas you’d like to work, and make the experience about self-care and better health rather than obligation. The more you focus on the feel-good benefits of exercise, the more you’ll enjoy it.
2. Look around. Exercise in a setting that makes you happy. This could be outside, at the gym, or at home. If you find yourself getting bored or losing motivation, become mindful of your surroundings, look at the tiniest details around you–like the texture of the road in front of you–and describe it to yourself with great detail.
3. Variety is the spice of, er, exercise. There’s no reason to continue an exercise regimen that doesn’t leave you satisfied. In fact, ditch the word “regimen.” You should enjoy your physical activity. Find something that you look forward to doing, and change it up so you don’t get tired of the routine. Hop on a bike Monday, go for a swim Wednesday, dance around in your pajamas Saturday, check out a new workout video Sunday. Or, as Katie Levy, one of our Twitter followers recommends, try Cross Fit:
Just keep trying, you’ll find your sweet spot eventually.
4. Buddy up. Encourage a friend to join you in your workouts. Having a friendly face nearby makes it a social activity and therefore more engaging! Or, find a local running or exercise group and meet new people while you’re at it. Extra encouragement and camaraderie never hurts.
5. Go for the gadgets. We all know that music can be the difference between a great workout and a not-so-awesome one. So bring your iPod, smartphone, tablet, etc. along. Find some pump-up music that also matches your desired rhythm or pace. Get some audiobooks from the library that you reserve only for your workouts or start a new show on Netflix.
And if you’re like Stonewear Ambassador Tami Mittan, maybe this is what you need:
What do you do to keep the workout woes at bay?