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Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Going to the gym and pumping out rep after rep is the classic image of a good workout, but gym-goers are starting to get fed up with feeling like a hamster on a treadmill. More and more people are looking for ways to exercise that don’t feel like doing your daily chores.

Fortunately, our understanding of physical fitness is improving alongside our desire for more engaging exercise activities, If you’re looking to improve your health, but the boredom of a regular gym routine has got you down. Try incorporating these everyday exercise ideas into your life.

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Hiking

“Walking?!” Many of you might be thinking, what could I mean by endorsing that most boring of activities as a fun alternative to working out. To you I say, what you hate is walking, but hiking is different from walking. When you go walking for its own sake, you’re just plodding along until you go for however far or however long you’ve assigned yourself for this prescribed exercise activity. No wonder you’re bored.

Hiking is about taking in the world around you and any walking that you happen to do along the way is simply instrumental to the pleasure you’re getting from nature. This makes hiking a great way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. If you’re worried because you don’t have any hiking trails near where you live, no need to worry. You can get much the same experience in your city’s own parks. Look for things like this list of Philadelphia parks for your local area to get some ideas about where to hike.

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Swimming

It turns out that swimming is great for giving your muscles a good workout. Depending on your swimming pool exercise routine, doing your physical activities in water can either help you to ease into more difficult workouts or step your usual workout up another level with the added resistance of water all around you. Who knew that the ultimate symbol of backyard relaxation was also such an effective way to exercise?

Biking

Commuting by bicycle is something that more and more health conscious people are doing these days. It turns out that by leaving the car at home, you can get some great cardio in while doing your part to help the environment. It also helps that more and more cities are catering to their biking populations by providing safe bike lanes and innovative programs that will encourage citizens to get out on two wheels more often.

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If you’re just starting out with biking, try traveling back and forth to recreational events before you switch over to a totally car-free commute. For example, why not ride your bike to that baseball game that you’re going to see this weekend?

Rock Climbing

Nothing is more fun or provides a more complete workout than rock climbing. Pulling yourself up a sheer cliff is exhilarating, works every single muscle in your body just as well or better than the machines at the gym, and keeps your mind sharp by honing your problem solving skills. It’s the perfect solution for weary gym-goers who are tired of feeling like a hamster on a treadmill.

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If horror stories about the cost of climbing have you worried, fear not. Indoor bouldering (climbing on walls less than 15 or 20 feet tall) has taken off lately and is incredibly safe with large foam mats placed beneath climbers. Unlike traditional climbing, bouldering does not require a wallet-busting collection of gear. All you need is a pair of beginners climbing shoes and a gym membership to get started. That said, if you do decide to go the full gear route and tackle iconic climbs like Half Dome in Yosemite, take a tip from me and find yourself some kind of storage locker to keep your gear organized. There’s nothing more agonizing than spending $100 on a set of nice quickdraws only to have them disappear in a mess of equipment.

Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

All the great workouts in the world won’t help you if you get back from your hike, ride or climb and immediately open up a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of Mountain Dew. With new research showing that weight loss is as much a result of good exercise as it is maintaining a healthy microbiome, there’s more reason than ever to eat well on top of your fitness routine.

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Published on November 29, 2018

When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

When is the Best Time to Workout to Get Incredible Results

“I don’t have time”

is the number one excuse people give when they’re asked how come they don’t exercise.

In the book The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz, it says that it’s management of our energy levels and not time that is the key to higher performance. If we kept our energy levels in check and made sure that every part of our lives contributed to positive energy levels, we would be able to get more done.

One of those aspects that give us energy is exercise.

Exercise is the fuel that gives us energy and an activity that keeps on giving even if we are sitting around day in the office and in meetings.

Reaping the benefits of a good workout is immediate. We have better focus and concentration; we are more alert and awake; we manage our mood better and have more creativity after a good workout than if we skipped the gym.

If you’d like to get started working out I’m going cover the pros and cons to exercising at different times of the day so that you can find a time that fits for your lifestyle and schedule.

So, when is the best time to work out? Let’s get started!

Working out in the Morning

Most people aspire to exercise first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. If this is you, read on to find out the additional benefits of getting your workout done in the morning.

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Benefits of Morning Workouts

1. The rest of the day is yours

Exercise and lifting weights is a staple and a habit in my life but it’s also the biggest to-do on my list. When I exercise first thing in the morning, then I’m free to do whatever I want the rest of the day. This is why I have a very strong preference of exercising in the morning as oppose to afternoons or evenings.

I schedule my day with my biggest to-dos first while I have the energy and focus at the beginning of the day. But the more I procrastinate about my workout and putting it on my list for later, the bigger that reminder to exercise sits on my shoulder.

My mind feels free when I finish my workout and this is the main reason I get my exercise in as soon as the day allows; and if I have to get up before the sun rises, then so be it.

2. Gyms are less crowded and there is more equipment available

Here’s the best part about working out early in the morning – there is not competition for equipment.

Most people typically struggle with getting up early in the morning except for the elderly. And in the morning, the gym floors are pretty sparse, this means there is no wait for equipment or competing for floor space.

I live in the crowded city of San Francisco where the gyms are packed once it gets to 9 AM, so the best times to get in if I want a squat rack is before 8 AM. Plus, the gym equipment is organized so I can find the free weights I want without much effort and there is usually a bench available.

3. You have more energy and more clarity to fire up the day

After you drag yourself to the gym at the crack of dawn, you will walk out of there with more energy and clarity then when you stepped in. Not only will you wide awake but you have extra energy on top of your cup of coffee.

The extra burst of creativity and focus keeps you productive so that you’re able to make more progress on your projects at work and finish earlier.

4. You become more consistent

The ones who see results are the ones who are consistent and morning people are definitely more consistent than people who postpone their workouts later in the day.[1]

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This is because as the day starts to unfold, unexpected meetings and events come up that can cut into or even eliminate gym time. If you want to workout more consistently, get your workout in first thing in the morning before life happens.

Downsides of Morning Workouts

1. You’re a zombie on the floor

Of course dragging yourself out of bed before the sun rises is why most people struggle with morning workouts. Some of us, like me, don’t want to talk to anyone before a certain time and get really short on a lack of sleep.

To combat morning zombie, make sure to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

2. Your preparation starts the night before

Your workout may happen in the morning but your preparation starts the night before. If you’re a last minute person and not a planner, you will struggle in the mornings to get out the door in time.

Packing everything you need for the gym in the morning is the key to getting to your workout in that day. Support successful mornings by modifying your night time routine in order to prepare for the next day.

How to Make It Easier to Wake Up

The first step is to make a commitment and stick with it. Don’t go back and forth the night before on whether you should go to the gym in the morning.

Make the decision to go in the morning and focus your energy on making it happen.

When you create that habit, you do it even if your workout is less than optimal and you’re not completely ‘all there’ or you’re a zombie in the morning. Just keep going because repetition makes it easier and the more often you go, the easier it gets.

Eventually your brain will catch up and start to automatically be awake at those times.

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A question you can ask yourself is what can you do to make it easier for you?

Can you set your workout clothes out the night before? Or have your breakfast prepared the night before? Or if you’re an alarm snoozer, put your alarm across the room and set back up alarms to make sure you get out of bed to shut them off.

Again, what can you do to make it 20 seconds easier to help you get up and out of the door in the morning?

Working out in the Afternoon/Evening

So what about working out in the evening? Is it a good time to help achieve your fitness goals?

Benefits of Evening Workouts

1. Your body performance is at its peak

When you’re training in the afternoon, your warm ups can be shorter because your body temperature increases throughout the day.

A higher body temperature leads to increased flexibility,[2] overall muscle strength,[3] and increased endurance.

Not only does the combination of low blood pressure and heart rate in the afternoon lead to faster reaction times and better performance, but also less likelihood injury.

At the same time the muscle growth hormone testosterone also peaks in the afternoon which is great for maximizing resistance training.

2. An accountability partner is easier to come by

If you’re someone who needs accountability partner to make it to the gym consistently, it could be easier to find a workout buddy in the afternoon than it is in the early morning. There is more flexibility in scheduling during lunch or after work as oppose to early mornings because it could cut into your sleep.

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3. You have more class options

If you’re a class person or like to attend group classes, I found that there are more class options in the afternoon/evening times versus mornings. So your favorite instructor may teach a couple more classes in the afternoon during the week giving you more flexibility in your schedule.

4. It’s a great way to destress after a long day

One of my favorite reasons to workout in the afternoon is the relief it provides after a long day at work. This is especially true for those who work long stressful hours. That hour you spend at the gym is dedicated you time to zone out is completely relaxing for the mind.[4]

Downsides of Evening Workouts

1. Consistency could take a back seat

Postponing your workouts till later in the day means you are more likely to skip your workouts because of an unexpected event. You’re also more likely to be low on energy after a long stressful day or you have to stay late at work and cancel your workout.

I find afternoon and evening workouts challenging because I’m ready to wind down after a long day and instead have to find the energy to wind up and be mentally prepared for my workout.

2. Crowded gyms and classes

For the most part, gyms are packed in the afternoon because of the after work crowd and in some cases gyms require you to RSVP to classes ahead of time due to limited spots. Majority of the people prefer working out after work and you’ll see an influx in crowds at the gym.

3. Additional preparation required

Working out after work means you need to be more mindful of your meals and make sure that you have prepared additional snacks to help you get through your workout.

It also means lugging around an extra bag with your gym clothes and other essentials.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what time of day you workout because your body will adjust to your schedule when you go the same times every time. What’s important is that you find a time that you can go to the gym consistently that works with your schedule.

It’s important to be consistent because consistency is what’s going to get you results. The road to results is simple but not easy. Mastering consistency year round is what is going to make you leaner and stronger one year from now.

Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

Reference

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