We’ve all heard the saying “mind over matter,” especially when it comes to fitness. That’s because for most people (us included) the physical work isn’t actually the hardest part.
Like eating bland veggies, going to a boring job or even doing the dishes, the hard part is finding the motivation to do something that you simply hate doing.
So what do you do? Well, you could sit back and accept a life of poor health and ill-fitting clothes OR you could take a tip from the SWIISH team and learn how to exercise when you hate exercise…
When you don’t like doing something, you want to do it for as short a time as possible. Right? If you don’t enjoy long, boring workouts, opt for short HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions instead. The great thing about HIIT is that it gets you really fit in a much shorter amount of time.
Try doing 5 x 1-minute sets of an exercise such as sprints, burpees, squat jumps or jumping lunges, with a 30-second rests between each set. After the first 5 sets, take a break for a few minutes before repeating the workout again. You’ll have a 20-minute workout done before you know it! As you get fitter, you can add one or two more sets to make the workout longer.
Did you know that mentally draining activities such as having to make lots of decisions or focusing on a speaker talking can actually drain away your willpower reserves? And this is the same willpower you need to get up and off the couch. That’s why trying to go to the gym after a long hard day at work can be more difficult than going in the morning when your willpower is still at an all time high. If exercise seems like a major chore, try doing a quick workout first thing in the morning. You won’t have time to think about it! Working out on the weekend or on your day off will also be a lot easier.
The best way to make exercise less of a chore is to make it a habit. Think about your friend that works out every single day, it’s nothing to them! That’s because it’s just second nature. Even if it means just doing the tiniest little bit of exercise everyday, it’s consistency that counts. Try going for a 10-minute run or doing a 5-minute ab workout every day. Then, as time goes on you can slowly build this up to 30 minutes. The best part is, as you get fitter you won’t hate exercise quite so much.
One of the most common excuses people have for not exercising is that they don’t have the time. They can’t enjoy exercise because they spend the whole time stressing about all the other stuff they’re supposed to be doing. Don’t worry, we’ve been there!
We’ve found that the best way to combat this issue is to kill two birds with one stone. For us, that usually means getting somewhere when we exercise. Take a power walk to the post office or bring a backpack and bike ride to the shops to pick up a few groceries. If work or study is the issue, you might like to consider recording a presentation or notes that you need to memorise and listening to them while you workout. It’ll also help to take your mind off the exercise!
Exercise is always way more bearable when it doesn’t feel like exercise. You’ve got to make it fun! Try rock climbing, going hiking in nature or just cranking the music up in your room and dancing. Across the SWIISH team, we’ve come up with a great dance playlist that always makes us want to move.
You may also like to try out a ‘No Lights No Lycra’ class, which is basically a vamped up version of Zumba that lets you dance freestyle in the dark. Sounds strange but trust us, it’s so much fun!
Even if you don’t enjoy going to work, when you work with good people it makes it sooo much better. Well, the same goes for exercise! Working out with a friend or doing group exercise classes is one of the easiest ways to stay motivated. You also have other people to hold you accountable if you don’t show up!
When you workout with a group, you’ll share goals, you’ll encourage each other and you’ll find it so much harder to give up. Also, most ‘group exercise’ classes have a certain number of tracks (or ‘sets’ of exercise with short breaks in between). This breaks the workout up and makes it more likely that you’ll finish. Instead of ’10 more minutes of exercise’ you just think of it as getting through ‘2 more tracks’. It makes it seem like a whole lot less!
Do you have any tips for how to work out when you really don't like exercise? We'd love to hear them!