In a perfect world, we would find exercises we love and stick with them. There would always be room in your Zumba class, it would always be offered at just the right time, and your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend would be required to stay ten miles away from it at all times. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, what’s best for us isn’t what we necessarily find the most fun. Few people love running or doing squats.
When willpower isn’t enough, here are a few ways to learn to love exercises you hate.
Join a 30 Day Challenge
Let’s say that your personal trainer suggested that you do more planks. So what if you can barely get yourself off the floor without shedding tears and a little dignity? Search Facebook for a “30 day plank challenge” or download a similar app. These challenges encourage you to add a little bit, day by day, until you’re a master by the end of the month. There’s one for every love-to-hate exercise: squats, push ups, planks, you name it.
Before you start, decide on a special treat you’ll give yourself if you complete the challenge. Massage? Manicure?
Sign Up for a 5k
Sign up for the most fun-sounding 5k you can find. It’s a booming industry these days, between color runs, foam runs, and all sorts of crazy themed runs. Rope a few friends along with you, then start getting ready. When you’re logging those training miles, think of how great you’ll feel when you cross the finish line at the race.
Walk to Food
Hey, if you’re going to brunch anyway, pick a place a mile (or two or three) away and walk there. Call it an “urban hike.” Just remember that a walk around the corner to the convenience store does not “burn off” an ice cream sandwich.
Have you ever thought about getting up early, before work, to go to the gym or go running? Thinking is about as far as those plans usually get. Get a buddy to get up early with you, and you’ll have more fun too.
If you’re the competitive type, find a few friends or co-workers who will pitch in a few dollars to a pool. Everyone sets an exercise goal, and whoever reaches their goal splits the pot.
Start a blog to track your progress and invite your friends and family to follow along. If you’re not the public type, start an exercise journal. Track your daily progress. It’s easier and faster to run your mile rather than to make up a creative excuse not to do it.
Make It a Game
Let’s face it—running can be a real snoozefest. Running from zombies? Well, that’s kind of interesting. The “Zombies Run” app, and others like it, turn running into a game. Interval training is built in as sprints as you “outrun zombie hordes.” Hey, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Listen to the Right Music
Somehow, watching the Food Network on the TV attached to the elliptical just doesn’t motivate you as much as listening to some uptempo, driving music. Create your own playlist, or if you get tired of that, check out the “workout” genres in Pandora for stations like “Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout,” “80s Cardio,” or whatever gets your blood pumping. Your workout will fly by, three minutes at a time.