Exercise Inspiration For Those Who Hate It

Until a couple of years ago, my favorite way to exercise was to walk from the couch to the fridge to grab another can of diet coke.  I’m the first to admit that it’s difficult to get into the exercise groove.  I’ve never been a fitness buff or a true athlete, and I’m not embarrassed to say that while I’m working out, I sort of hate it.  It’s sweaty, fairly uncomfortable, and it’s difficult to breathe. Not to mention there are sweaty people in various states of discomfort all around you.

So as a non exercise maniac, why have I made fitness an important part of my life?  Well, for someone who may never be a gym freak, this may be one life example where it’s more about the destination than the journey.  Don’t get me wrong, the journey is important.  Yes, it’s great to increase endurance, and it’s great to be able to lift heavy things, and its great to know that in The Hunger Games, you could at least outrun most people.  But think about the destination, your goals.  Mine were to get rid of my muffin top, wear a bikini without wanting to cover up, and not get winded after walking up a flight of stairs.

Superficial and perhaps a bit silly? Sure, but at the end of the day, does it really matter what gets you active?  Some folks enjoy sweating (I’m looking at you AC Slater), some people get a runners high, and others  go to the gym to meet people.  What matters is you make the commitment.

Malibu Triathalon
If AC were in The Hunger Games, I would probably hide under some leaves and hope for the best

Now when I made my muffin top bikini goal (which by the way is a great title for a  Rupert Holmes Song), I knew that wasn’t enough to get me going.  I live in a four season city, and something I might wear three months out of the year just wasn’t inspiring enough to work out.  After much trial and error, I found that the following were huge motivators for my fitness routine:

1.  Group Classes
Sure I could go to the gym and read a magazine while pedaling on a stationary bike, but would that really get me closer to my goal?  I don’t push myself when I’m alone and I need someone to tell me what to do and how to do it. A personal trainer isn’t exactly budget friendly, and classes still give you the feedback and positive reinforcement.

Besides, how can you not enjoy someone yelling IF IT’S BURNING ITS WORKING or THAT POINT WHERE YOU WANT TO STOP? THAT’S THE POINT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. I kid, I kid.

2. An Instructor who Has a Body That I Covet for Myself
Remember when DJ Tanner put pictures of supermodels all over the fridge (I know she had an eating disorder in that episode, but I just wanted to call out that one detail)?  Imagine the live 3D version of those models working out alongside you.  If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is (Note, I once took yoga from an overweight man and I didn’t find that motivating at all).

Fitness Instructor
Motivation (My Actual Instructor)

3. Pay per Session with a Cancellation Penalty
When I belonged to a gym, I got very acclimated to the monthly charge on my credit card.  And you know what?  I NEVER went.  There was always something I just HAD to do instead of going to the gym.  Even after I cleaned my house, did my taxes, organized my makeup, and redid my sock drawer, there was something that came up.  Now I buy packs of classes.  All my workout sessions are scheduled through an online registration process.  If I don’t cancel by several hours before the class, I lose my money.  And I refuse to lose money because I’m lazy.  So whether I want to or not, I go.

The key really is to find what works for you.  Maybe getting a running buddy. Maybe you’ll love spinning with crazy music.  Maybe you’ll love hiking because you love nature.  Maybe you’ll love kickboxing because you can imagine punching the face of someone you really hate.  Perhaps yoga is your style with its meditative style.  Whatever it is, I guarantee you won’t regret finding it.

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5 Responses to Exercise Inspiration For Those Who Hate It

  1. RC says:

    This actually really ties in to behavioral economics, especially number 3. You need some sort of punishment (like losing money for a specific action) to stay disciplined. Also recommend forcing yourself to donate to an organization you despise if you don’t hit certain targets on meeting your goals.

  2. Karen Young says:

    This is inspiring, thanks for it! Gonna try.

  3. Amy says:

    Great post. I’ve really struggled with this. But for me to exercise regularly, it appears to require a dog. We got one, although not for that reason, and the dog HAS to go for a run, or he is miserable to live with. I didn’t anticipate that, but it’s been a huge side benefit for me. He actually chews on my shoe laces if I don’t take him out. My gym buddies have never been that effective!

    • sara says:

      That’s a great point! I have a friend who runs 8 miles per day with her dog- rain or shine. Bea Arthur is 7 years old with bad knees so that’s not an option for us as far as aerobic exercise goes, but the action of taking the dog out a few times a day for walks forces us off the couch and definitely makes a difference.

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