Have workouts become a drag? If your New Year’s resolution was to get fit this year, you might find that a month in, you’re lacking in motivation.
But there are ways to make workouts fun again, according to Tally Rye; Personal Trainer and author of Train Happy: An Intuitive Exercise Plan For Every Body..
You don’t have to go to the gym
‘If you dread going to the gym and your whole workout feels like a chore – switch it up. There are so many great ways to move your body that don’t involve a gym setting. Why not try hiking, rock climbing, netball, a run group, pole fitness or even dance class,’ says Tally.
‘Experiment with different activities and find the one that makes you feel good. If you enjoy it, chances are it’s going to become something to look forward to.’
Question your motivation
Tally explains that for so long, the narrative has been that exercise is simply something we do as a means to lose weight fast and make aesthetic changes. She adds: ‘Therefore, motivation to workout largely comes from external pressure from diet culture to live up to body and beauty ideals. But, if you consider all the wonderful physical and psychological benefits that regular movement brings such as improved stamina and mood, you can dig deeper to tap into the intrinsic reasons to keep moving consistently, as opposed to just leading up to a holiday.’
Make it social
Workouts can be a great way to catch up, and as Tally reveals, research is quite clear that people who have good friendships live longer and are happier. ‘Physical activity is a great way to make new connections as well as strengthening existing ones. Run clubs, sports teams, walking groups and classes are a great way to spend time with people that make you feel good whilst doing an activity that makes you feel good,’ she says.
Celebrate the mini victories!
When you’re getting started, simply showing up to do a new activity is huge and win to be celebrated. Tally explains that each little wine builds up over time, and leads to progress.
Don’t worry about what you look like or what you weigh
It’s hard, but if these are your focus reasons to exercise, it can detract from all the wonderful physical and psychological progress you are making. Tally says: ‘I encourage people to think of weight or aesthetic changes as a potential by-product and instead think about other ways in which regular movement benefits us. Replace progress pictures, with a diary – keep track of how you feel before and after a session and notice over time what impact it has on your mood, confidence and self esteem.’
Trust your body
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be hammering it in the gym every day. Tally says that instead, we should tune in to our body and mind and listen to what it’s telling us. ‘Some days, you might have buckets of energy and so want to do a high energy workout, others you may want to slow it down with pilates or yoga and other times you might need to hit snooze on the alarm and get the extra sleep. Each time you honour what your body is telling you, you will build a greater trust and connection with it which is incredibly powerful.’
Take rest days
This is key; resting your body and restoring energy is just as important as working out. If you’re training quite hard, you need adequate sleep, and you need to nourish your body with adequate amounts of food. Tally explains: ‘Having total rest days gives your body time to process and respond to what you are asking of it. I recommend having two full rest days a week.’
Remember, at the end of the day – getting to move our bodies is really adult play time, but somewhere along the way we forgot about the ‘play’ part,’ says Tally. Perhaps music makes things more fun for you? Or the people you’re with?