Ever gone to a HIIT workout thinking “I hate exercise – why am I doing this” or “Exercising is so boring“? Do you find your eyes glued to the clock, counting the minutes until you can end your workout? Do you find exercise boring, difficult or just a massive punish?
Believe it or not, you’re not alone.
As much as fitness Instagrammers would have us believe that exercise is a #lifestyle, not a chore, the truth is that it’s not always fun or easy to motivate yourself to work out.
And that’s totally okay! You don’t actually have to love exercise. It doesn’t have to be your passion.
However, there’s no way around the fact exercise is an absolute essential for our mental and physical health. In some form or another, we all need to be moving our bodies regularly.
The good news is, even if you’re a chronic exercise-phobe, there are a few easy ways you make working out bearable and hey, maybe even enjoyable!
5 simple ways to make exercise suck less
1. Try something new every week
There’s nothing worse than trying to drag yourself to a workout class or through a program when you’re really not feeling it.
While it’s true that exercise isn’t always a case of love at first session, chances are you’re not going to become a CrossFit fanatic after a month if you hated your first class with a fiery passion.
So, rather than trying to push through something you hate, the key is to try ALL THE THINGS until you find something you actually like.
Because truth is, there really is a fitness style out there for everyone — you may just not have even thought of it yet!
So, I want you to find out what joyful movement means to you.
Apps like Classpass and Esquared make it super easy for you to experiment with different workout styles, by paying a set membership fee per month that allows you to try unlimited classes in your city.
Oh, and my app Back to Basics also offers a bunch of enjoyable 5, 10 and 20-minute workouts, that you can do from the comfort of your own home (no equipment needed).
I would encourage you to try at least one new type of exercise per week — the more different they are from each other, the better!
You’ll be surprised about the options for exercise for people who hate exercise.
Even if you don’t find your perfect match, you’ll at the very least sneak some exercise in and the novelty will keep things interesting!
2. Pump some tunes
There are people out there who shun exercising with music, because they say it distracts them from their form and technique. And hey, if that works for you, then go for it (although, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if that was the case!)
But for the rest of us who aren’t robots and/or masochists, great tunes are essential for surviving our workouts.
Not only are the pumping beats a welcome distraction from that burning but science has proven that music actually makes exercise feel easier. The key? Matching the tempo of your exercise to your exercise.
To give you some ideas, there are loads of awesome playlists on Spotify or on the mixcloud Steady130 that are specifically tailored to different types of workouts.
I’ve also put together my own playlist of tunes that get me inspired and motivated, no matter what I’m doing. You can check it out below.
There is no way you’ll hate working out with a banger playlist in your ear!
3. Change your mindset
I know, I know — changing your mindset around anything can be easier said than done.
I’m the first to admit that it doesn’t happen overnight. But when I shifted the way I think about exercise, it stopped being a punishment and turned into an activity I actually love and look forward to.
Before I thought it’s as simple as I don’t like working out. I thought exercise sucks.
Now, I can’t imagine not having exercise as part of my daily life!
Ask yourself this simple question: “Why do I hate exercise?”
Do you think of exercise as something you have to do in order to look a certain way, or to punish yourself for eating certain things? Firstly, I would challenge you to think about the benefits of exercise beyond the superficial.
I think many of us lose sight of the fact that exercise does way more than help us ‘get toned’ or ‘lose weight’ — it’s essential for our overall health, mental wellbeing and longevity.
Maybe it improves your mood, or gives you more clarity?
Or is it the only part of your day that you actually get time for yourself?
Whatever it is, try to focus on that.
Secondly, I would encourage you to stop thinking about exercise as something you ‘have’ to do, and instead, think of it as something you ‘get’ to do.
You’re alive, you have a working body and have access to exercise facilities — and that’s not something everyone can say.
This is such a simple shift, yet so powerful.
4. Rally a crew
Okay, you may hate exercise, but you know what I bet you don’t hate?
Quite the contrary, right? Because, they’re the best, and they make everything no more fun — and exercise is no exception.
So, why not get your friends involved in your workout routine? You could create a sports team, get your friends to join you at a local dance class or even just put together a group that trains together at the gym.
Not only can working out be way less intimidating (and about 10 million times more fun) when you’ve got your pals there, but you’ll also be way less likely to bail on your sessions.
Bonus points if you combine your workouts with another fun activity, like noodle night after Netball, or brunch after Barre, if you want to get really Bougie about it.
5. Try exercise snacking
No, sadly this one doesn’t involve munching on biscuits between burpees.
Because, while that might help you get through your workout, it will also probably give you a serious case of ingestion. And that’s never fun!
Instead, fitness ‘snacking’ is the idea of breaking up your exercise into smaller bursts throughout the day.
So, instead of doing a one-hour gym session, you might do 30 squats in the morning while you’re brushing your teeth, walk to the bus stop, take the stairs at work, do some stretching on your lunch break and take your dog for a walk in the afternoon.
Before you know it, you’ve done an hour of exercise — virtually without even trying!
The dude who invented the term ‘fitness snacking’, UK personal trainer Matt Richards says that he allocates points to each exercise, and tries to hit five points per day. If you’re someone who likes to have a goal to work towards, then by all means you can use that approach.
But you can also just try to get more incidental exercise throughout the day and know that it’s just as good for you as actually hitting the gym.
Because all exercise is good exercise.
I truly hope my tips help you make working out more bearable… and that “I hate exercise” will be a statement from the past!
Other ways I can support you:
Want to be healthy but can’t handle going on another pesky diet? My Back to Basics App has everything you need. Try it FREE for 7-days.
Listen to my podcast No Wellness Wankery, which will help you sidestep wellness wankery (phew!) so you can be healthy without dieting and feel better in your already wonderful body.
Want help with binge or emotional eating? Check out my online program Binge Free Academy. It’s already helped thousands of people create a healthier, more balanced and intuitive relationship with food.
Just looking for recipe inspo? You’ll be stoked to find hundreds of FREE, deliciously simple recipes on my website!