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How to Actually Enjoy Working Out

Group of People Dancing

Article authored by Matt Barrack, Fitness Coach at Hilton Head Health

Raise your hand if you LOVE exercising! I’m betting there were not many hands raised. Congratulations, you are a human being. A lot of us do not love to work out. You do see them on social media though. “I have to work out!” “Fitness is my release.” “Whenever I do a set of squats I just feel better!” Blah, blah, blah – whatever. Have you had a reaction or thoughts like this? My whole life I have heard legends told of the runners high – but you know what? I sure haven’t experienced it and I have run a lot. I’m going to fill you in on a little secret, are you ready? When they started, those people did not love it either. One by one and day by day they discovered a love of exercise, of pushing their bodies. They might have even learned it so early on in their life; they don’t remember not liking it. Or, a string of positive experiences created a plethora of happiness around fitness. Sunshine, fluffy bunnies, and pushups.  

The Reason Most People Dislike Exercising

What does the opposite set of circumstances create? Let’s say your family wasn’t very active or athletic. When you tried to play kickball as a kid, you were the last one picked. You tried to start running that one time and injured your knee. You joined a group fitness class with your friend and they knew every move but you clumsily fumbled through it. Maybe there were not so muffled snickers and whispers at the way you looked in your new workout clothes. You were so proud of them too.  Let us say that your fitness career was a snowball of one bad experience after another. Nobody would blame you for not liking it.  

I do not know which type of events have happened to you. I know that I have had a mix of both. I used to LOATHE exercising. After a lot of trying and failing, trying and failing, trying and failing, trying annnddd failing, (notice a theme?) I found a way to make it a positive spot in my day.  

Step One: Focus on Your Goal

I want to be clear, I did say nobody would blame you if you don’t love it. However, it is YOUR responsibility to take care of your body. Being healthy is a must for a happy, productive life. Even though I wish I could get paid to do pushups for you….sadly, you have to do the work yourself. So that is the first piece of homework. Write down what you would like to get from exercise. If you ask for something and get it, that’s a happy moment, right? You want to be a champion discus thrower but you show up to boot camp in the park. I promise you won’t be happy doing it and you will not be one step closer to chucking a really heavy frisbee.  

A good place to start is getting your health markers in range.  

Health Infographic

Having a six-pack may be a goal but it does not mean you are healthy. At Hilton Head Health, we believe in setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals. 

Step Two: Identify Your Passions

Having a way to track your successes can help you find a passion for exercise. If you get good at something, you’re more likely to love it. Another question to ask yourself, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does being around people drain you or give you energy? Choosing a fitness activity just based upon that fact alone can create a drastic effect. If you are not sure try a month of both to see which one is better for you. Here is an article that goes a little deeper into it.

Step Three: Create Your Ideal Exercise Environment

We can also create as much of a positive workout environment as possible. Trying to find a gym? Go to a few before deciding. Is it an easy commute? If you hate being in traffic and you pick a gym on the other side of town, it will be an obstacle. Does the gym staff have positive energy? Are they being pushy right away? Do you see them helping other members on the floor? If they only seem concerned about new sales, they may not be very helpful when you need them to be. Being part of a club where they notice and congratulate your 10th class in a row can be a big boost. 

If you want to work out at home, we can do the same thing. Let’s have a good workout space. Make sure it is safe. We don’t want to bang our knee into the coffee table while doing a lunge. Set up everything you need beforehand – towel, water, weights, or whatever equipment you need to have for that particular workout. 

Step Four: Learn that “No Pain, No Gain” Doesn’t Work

Also, make sure the workout is appropriate for you. Is this your first time ever? Do not try to murder yourself. That’s an order. Your mission for your first work out is to finish it and feel good about it at the end. We have to be gentle and accepting of ourselves in the beginning. What workouts would be the right workout for me? I’m glad you asked. You can see my and my fellow trainers faces at https://www.h3ondemand.com. We have 3 levels of modification in every single workout. We will have a good time, I promise. Plus, I am adorable. (The other trainers are alright too, I guess).

Step Five: Build The Healthy Habits

Consistency. That is the most important word in your fitness vocabulary. You have to be consistent in order to achieve your fitness goals. Not perfect, thank goodness. Keep pushing towards getting it mostly right.  

After being consistent, especially in the beginning, you need to build the habit of success. That means do not, I repeat – DO NOT push yourself to failure. Your body has a certain rate at which it can buffer the damage done from working out. When you are younger or have been consistent for a long time then you can improve your recovery ability. Following a progressive plan with measurable steps is the way you reach any goal. Give yourself a home run pitch when you are just starting. Do workouts you know you can finish. Then notice and tell yourself positive things during the workouts. “I like to feel my body working.” “Getting my heart pumping will make me healthier.” “I’m so glad that I finished this workout!”  

Finishing workouts filled with positive emotions is the way to love. Just like dating, finding the right one can be very tough. You will need to use all of the information above and more to keep the spark alive. I promise you with everything in my heart, no matter what you have to go through, it is WORTH IT! Of course, you can join us at Hilton Head Health for a short or long stay. I will personally see to it that you smile during a set of squats. I hope it helps. Have a great day.  

Matt Barrack
Fitness Coach at Hilton Head Health

Click here for more information about the wellness and weight loss programs at Hilton Head Health, recently named the #1 Wellness Resort the Country by USA Today