When it comes to fitness, there are – broadly speaking – two types of people in the world.
- Type #1. The first type is people who could be considered fitness devotees, or even “fanatics” – those for whom working out is a genuine hobby that they thoroughly enjoy. Fitness becomes a key part of their life; something that they genuinely enjoy, look forward to doing, and anticipate – a key part of their identity, and something that they rely on. For people in this group, fitness often becomes a career; a true vocation that they want to dedicate their lives to.
- Type #2. The second type of person is almost the exact opposite of the above. Fitness isn’t something that they love; it’s something that they do primarily because they (albeit rather grudgingly) accept that they need to do in order to stay well. They’ll skip a workout if given an excuse, and may go long periods without exercising at all, before finally convincing themselves to get back on the exercise bike and resume. For people in this group, fitness will always be a chore – a necessary chore, but a chore nonetheless.
If you are part of the second group, then it might be worth asking if it’s possible to somehow transform into a member of the first group. It’s undeniable that being a “type one” person would be so much simpler; you’re going to be working out anyway, so wouldn’t it be preferable if you could enjoy yourself too?
The good news is that it is possible to move from a position of seeing fitness as a necessary evil to a far warmer, happier perspective. In fact, if you follow the tips below, you may find yourself reaching a point where you start working out for fun and even consider finding out how to become a personal trainer so you can turn your newfound love of fitness into a full-time career!
1 – Be kind to yourself, especially when it comes to discomfort or pain
If you’re trying to persuade yourself to fall in love with fitness, then everything to do with fitness needs to be as pleasurable as possible. As a result, forcing yourself to work out when you’re not feeling your best (or, worse yet, are injured) is far from ideal; in fact, it can make a workout feel like a punishment, when working out should actually be something pleasant and enjoyable. So, be kind to yourself; skip a workout if you’re not feeling well and, when you do work out, don’t force yourself to keep going by running more miles or completing more reps if you’re already physically uncomfortable.
2 – Continually change activities and exercises
Most people thrive on difference throughout our lives; after all, variety is said to be the spice of life. People tend to want to watch different TV shows, see new movies, read books by a variety of different authors, go to new countries – yet when it comes to fitness, this commitment to difference often peters out. It’s not unusual for people to do the same routines and activities week in and week out. In terms of enjoyment, this constant repetition is far from ideal, so switch things up to keep yourself interested and add a sense of fun and adventure to your fitness journey.
3 – Workout with a friend
Most activities in life that are considered to be “fun” are usually shared with others (going out for a meal, to the cinema, taking a day trip, and so on), so why not working out too? You can work through the suggestions here to help find your own workout buddy and then look forward to a more sociable, enjoyable fitness experience.
4 – Recognize the benefits of physical fitness away from working out
Maybe you find yourself needing to run for the bus so you can get to work on time, or the elevator at your office building is broken so you need to take the stairs, or you’ve got enough energy to keep playing with your kids for hours on end – whatever it is, you’re able to meet the physical demand because of the fact that you work out. Every time your physical fitness is useful outside of a direct workout scenario, make a note of it so you can constantly see and appreciate the multitude of benefits of working out.
5 – “Double up” on mental health and well-being benefits
Exercise is important for mental health and well-being in its own right, but why not “double up” by combining a workout with another beneficial activity? It’s impressive how much exercise can combine with; for example, connecting with nature is thought to be good for mental health, so go for a run outside rather than in the gym for two-fold benefits. Similarly, listening to music can improve mood, so wear headphones while you’re working out for an extra boost, or try singing (which releases dopamine, the “feel good” hormone) between reps or exercises. The happier you feel while working out, and the more you associate working out with feeling good, the greater the chance of you falling in love with fitness.
6 – Reward yourself for working out
Positive reinforcement is widely recognized as one of the best ways to build ‘good’ habits. The idea is simple: when you work out, you then ‘reward’ yourself for your effort. How you choose to reward yourself is entirely subjective; we all have different motivations and preferences, so it’s best to choose a reward system that genuinely makes you feel enthusiastic about achieving the reward, and then test the system out. A certain amount of discipline is required here (you should only receive the reward if you complete a workout, or a number of workouts, as originally set), but get it right and the positive reinforcement will quickly build up.
If you have always been more of a “type two” person when it comes to fitness, then following the above advice could start your transformation towards life as a genuine fitness devotee. Enjoy!