How to enjoy exercise…or at least not hate it!

by Khushboo on December 13, 2011

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but I’ve been just been too lazy…which is ironic given the nature of the topic ;) !  After a 10-hour sleep last night, I woke up this morning ready to get in some kind of work out.  I wanted to take it easy as I’m still not feeling 100% back to normal.  In typical maternal fashion my mom tried to convince me to ‘rest’ but I knew any kind of movement would make me feel better both mentally and physically.

As much as I ramble on about how much I love to work out and yadi yadi yada, this wasn’t always the case.  It’s definitely been a gradual process but now I can’t imagine it not being a regular part of my life.  It sounds cheesy but regular exercise is like a small gift of health I present to myself daily.  I know there are some people who question why I would pack trainers on holiday or give up an extra hour of sleep in the morning to sweat, so I thought it would be helpful to post my tips on how to love exercise…or at least not hate it so much:

  • Do what you enjoy:  Ever heard the expression “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life?” The same concept absolutely applies to working out: if running really doesn’t excite you, sign up for group classes or dabble in other exercises till you find one that you genuinely want to be doing.  Lord knows I wouldn’t give up sleep for just about anything!
  • Find a friend: I usually prefer working out solo as it is my ‘me’ time but I also enjoy the occasional social aspect to having a workout buddy.  More than that, knowing someone is waiting for me to exercise is enough motivation to show up and get it done!
  • Rest days: As much as I love to exercise, I equally love Sundays where my activity levels are close to zero.  Whether you’re a newbie exerciser or running marathons regularly, at least one full day for recovery per week is vital.  It gives your muscles a chance to recuperate and does wonders for your motivation levels too: I always find my desire to work out is fully charged after a day off.
  • Be realistic: It’s great falling into a routine of regular exercise but is it something you can uphold in the long-term?  Just because your friend exercises before work 6 days a week doesn’t mean it’s the perfect formula.  Even fitting in exercise 3-4 days deserves a pat on the back, and who cares what time you do it so long as you do it!
  • Try new things: My aunt recently started kickboxing and I’ve never heard her be so excited about cardio or exercise in general.  More than helping you find “your” exercise, it will also prevent boredom from kicking in and falling into the dreaded rut.  When I do the same workout for too long, my workouts lose meaning and I lose dedication.
  • Reward yourself: Set an exercise target and once you achieve it, reward yourself for your efforts.  I can’t promise it will get you to love exercise but it sure will keep you motivated.
  • Change your mindset:  Exercise should not be a chore or something you feel you ‘have’ to do.  Cliché perhaps but the minute I stopped viewing exercise as a ‘calorie burner’, I started to actually look forward to my workouts. Look at the overall benefits of exercise and whether it’s the feeling of achievement, empowering yourself, or the guaranteed endorphin rush, remind yourself of these benefits every time your motivation levels hit rock bottom.

How do you stay motivated to exercise?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Snapshots of Happiness December 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Everything you said is pretty much what keeps me mortivated to workout! I think changing up your workout routines really help and trying new things. :-)

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Keeps things interesting too !

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jojo December 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

That is so true! “Finding an exercise routine you love” is definitely big!
It was hard for me to find something else when i injured my wrist playing volleyball, because I was so in love with it!
Although I haven’t found anything I love equally, it was nice to get back to running or meeting new people hiking, etc.

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Any hopes of your wrist getting better enough to reintroduce volleyball in your life?

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forgottenbeast December 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm

“Do what you enjoy”–SO true! I think that should be the #1 rule of exercising. So many people think they have to go to the gym and run on a treadmill for miles, and then just don’t go because they don’t like it. I recently discovered that I LOVE LOVE weightlifting, and I get excited about going the gym–particularly on leg days! But I used to think of it as a chore, dreading that ol’ treadmill or elliptical…

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

You’re so right- on days where I really can’t be bothered to run, I have to remind myself that there really is no need to run X amount of miles just to say I did…there’s no hard and fast rule about what’s the best workout!

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Parita @ myinnershakti December 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Awesome post! I think finding something you love and not just jumping on a certain bandwagon is a great tip. I stay motivated to workout by reminding myself that there is a whole host of health things that are out of my control to some extent (due to genetics and just fate) but making my workouts a priority is in my control. Why not take advantage of that!

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Love this…so much is out of our hands but why not control those factors which we have the power to! Prevention > cure!

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Tara December 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I think doing what you love is so important. I wouldn’t force myself to swim since I’m not a fan of it! Though I think I’d I gave it a chance and got better I might enjoy it, so it’s also important to remember to give things a fair shot because they aren’t always easy at first!

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

For sure…running definitely was not easy at me for first…heck I’m surprised I even bothered to give it a second chance- I HATED it at one point!

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Tracy's Treats December 14, 2011 at 1:00 am

My main motivation for exercising is how I feel afterwards! I love that feeling of accomplishment and the endorphin high ain’t too bad either!

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

True story: ‘you’re only one workout away from a good mood’–> works for me everytime!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset December 14, 2011 at 5:49 am

Doing what you love is so necessary! I mean who likes sticking to something that they don’t enjoy doing… forcing yourself to do anything is such a bummer :(
Seeing and feeling the results is what makes me love exercise (plus that nagging weight gain fear too….ugh!)
Great post m’dear!

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Yes feeling/seeing the results is definitely a motivator..proof that something’s actually working :)

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Allison (Allison's Delicious Life) December 14, 2011 at 5:53 am

Great post! I really think changing it up is key. Reading fitness blogs or magazines always pumps me up to try new workouts!

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Blogs are always a great source of inspiration and also for workout ideas…even more so than magazines for me!

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Simply Life December 14, 2011 at 6:15 am

so many great ideas! I definitely work out because I completely notice that on the days I don’t, I’m much more likely to be crabby!

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Haha I’m significantly a lot nicer after a workout :) !

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Meg (A Dash of Meg) December 14, 2011 at 7:43 am

I seriously love your blog sweetheart. You always have great topics :)

I would LOVE to try kickboxing! Always something I have wanted to try out

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Khushboo Thadani December 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Thanks so much :) ! If you want to try kickboxing, check whether your library has the Billy Blanks dvds…it’s a really fun kickboxing workout and can be done at home!

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Sara K December 14, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Haha you know what motivates me to exercise? Hot guys at the gym. Okay totalllllly shallow; just kidding…but not really ;) I actually keep a killer playlist on hand and the music keeps me going

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Khushboo Thadani December 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Haha you said it, I thought it ;) ! With the exception of 2 guys (one is super hot, the other is a case of ‘make lemonade out of lemons’), my gym is filled with a rather unattractive crowd. Bitchy maybe but I call it as I see ‘em :D

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com December 15, 2011 at 2:40 am

For me, having a workout buddy is the most important to get me motivated :)

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Khushboo Thadani December 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

A little friendly competition is also a great motivator ;)

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Asmita December 15, 2011 at 8:14 am

It’s about being disciplined and there are days I feel so lazy that I find every excuse in the book not to exercise. But the days I do , I feel great!
BTW, I enjoy kickboxing.

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Khushboo Thadani December 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I like that you mentioned ‘being disciplined’…there are going to be days where working out isn’t always easy but you just have to suck it up sometimes – chances are you’ll be glad you went. I am yet to regret a workout!

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Gayatri December 17, 2011 at 7:21 am

These are great tips! I have to have to have to get more disciplined when it comes to exercise. My weight has been yo-yoing for 2 yrs now and I have to bring it under control!

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Khushboo Thadani December 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Hope 2012 is your year :D

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) December 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I can completely relate – exercise was a drag when it was simply a means to weight loss but now that I don’t look at it like that I genuinely enjoy getting my workouts in! Rest days are crucial for me – the moment something starts to feel like a chore I take a break or switch it up.

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Khushboo Thadani December 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

My thoughts exactly! If I don’t want to run, I’m not going to…I refuse to turn something I genuinely enjoy into something I dread!

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Maneka Chotirmall December 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

I completely agree-I encountered this problem a month ago. Got really bored of just running on the treadmill so decided to change my exercise routine-I now do yoga and am loving it!

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