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How to Trick Yourself into Loving Your Workout

How to Trick Yourself into Loving Your Workout

I used to hate my workouts.

Sure, I did them, but I was frustrated, grumbling, and upset the entire time. I dreaded going to the gym, and did almost anything I could think of to get out of it. At the slightest hint of a cold, I was so relieved to have a good excuse not to work out that I milked it for all I could.

Then something changed, and I actually started to enjoy my workouts. Sure, I’d like to say it had something to do with the endorphins and maybe it did, but here’s the thing that has completely changed my attitude about working out: I’ve combined working out with something I really love to doread novels.

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At first, reading while working out was just a half-baked attempt to be able to stay on the elliptical for half an hour without going completely insane, but then something shifted. I decided that since my life is so incredibly busy and I love to read novels (which don’t really have much intellectual or business value), I would only allow myself to read novels while working out.

I can’t overstate what a difference this simple rule has made for me.

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Now I LOVE to work out.

I can’t wait to get to the gym. I seriously try to figure out ways to get there, even on days that are not my usual workout days, and it has nothing to do with endorphins. It has everything to do with the fact that I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the awesome novel I’m reading.

OK, so maybe you’re not as freakishly bookish as I am, but is there something you absolutely love that you can somehow tie to your workout? Your favorite podcast perhaps? A bite of chocolate as you finish up? Playboy magazine? I don’t care what it is, but when you connect something you dislike with something you absolutely love, you’re bound to start enjoying your work out more, and when you limit the time you’re “allowed” to spend on that beloved endeavor to ONLY during workouts, you’ve got the added motivation you’ll need to turn “meh” into “yeah!” Want a few more minutes to wrap up that awesome podcast? Then I guess you’ll be staying on the bike a bit longer today, won’t you?

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This strategy has really been a win-win for me.

First, it helped me enjoy my workout time far more than I thought was possible, but it also helped me prioritize and recognize that reading novels in my free time was actually cutting into my overall productivity. Now, instead of being hijacked by a really great read, losing sleep, and ignoring my other responsibilities, I simply put the really great book down and know that I’ll get to discover the next chapter during my next workout. Since I enjoy working out so much more, my trips to the gym are happening more frequently and more regularly, so I know I won’t have to wait too long between chapters.

The added benefit of increasing my motivation to get to the gym should be obvious, but in case you’re lost, I’m now in far better shape, I have more energy, and I’m generally happier than I was before I worked out regularly.

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So, what will it be for you?

Find something you enjoy so much that it sometimes distracts you from your priorities in life, and then couple it with your exercise routine for at least three weeks. After that, I hope you’ll report back and let me know if it works for you too! I sure hope you can get the same amazing results I have. OK, I’m off to the gym! I just HAVE to find out how this book ends.

Have a great day!

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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