Even though we know that consistent exercise is important, getting to the gym every day can feel stressful, overwhelming, and straight-up not fun. And when your life is full of other “not fun” responsibilities, from work assignments to dentist appointments, it can be hard to find motivation for one more chore.
Here’s the thing, though—if you dread your workouts and view gym time as a to-do item, you’re actually more likely to skip workouts, make excuses, and give up on your goals.
Why? Because, at the end of a long day, when you have to choose between an awful, boring workout and an hour of chill time on your couch, which one’s going to win out?
So, here’s our secret: stop viewing exercise as a dreaded obligation, and start finding ways to fall in love with your workouts. Here are our top six tricks for making your workout the best part of your day.
REWARD YOUR EFFORTS
Exercising might not feel like such a chore if you give yourself a fun reward (every once in a while, at least). Treat yourself to a fancy green juice after an intense workout, buy a few pairs of leggings or shorts that you feel great in, or invest in a quality gym bag that makes it easy to schlep your gear to and from the box.
Upgrading your workout equipment and taking a few small steps towards investing in your health might make your next exercise session a little bit more bearable.
FIND WAYS TO ZONE OUT
Get bored on the treadmill? Can’t find a way to push yourself through that last set? Maybe you just need to find a way to keep your mind off the workout until the very last rep.
Try putting together a hip hop playlist or downloading a true crime podcast. Then, put your headphones on. Let your body take you through your workout, on autopilot, and give your head a break for a bit.
EMBRACE “ME TIME”
Instead of looking at your workout like one more task on a neverending to-do list, try embracing a different perspective. Your workout is the one hour of the day that you have all to yourself. No responsibilities. No phone calls. No kids, or partners, or managers vying for your attention.
When you get to the gym, you can leave your stress at the door, step into a positive mindset, and focus on you, your body, and your health for an entire hour—and we think that’s something to celebrate.
STOP THE REPETITION
Do you run the same route every single day? Check in to the same spin class? Go through the same interval training routine? Well, then, it’s no wonder that you’re dreading your workouts and looking for excuses to stay home.
Try mixing in some new workouts into your weekly routine, and see if you can find something that you love. We’re all different—and there’s a workout out there for all of us. CrossFit. Rockclimbing. Rowing. Zumba. Acro yoga. Spin. Long distance running. Swimming. Kickboxing. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS
Maybe you’ve fallen out of love with exercise because you haven’t stopped to notice, recognize, and celebrate your progress. You’re so wrapped up in your monotonous exercise routine that you’ve barely realized that you can get through an entire barre class without feeling like you’re going to pass out. Or, you can finish your personal training session without taking half a dozen water breaks. Or, you can finally run an entire mile without stopping to walk.
Whatever your personal milestones are, big or small, stop and celebrate them. And, you might be surprised to find that you’re more motivated than ever to get back into the gym and work towards the next one.
FIND YOUR TRIBE
There’s a time and a place for working out alone. Sometimes we need a long solo run or a zoned-in weight lifting session to keep us grounded. But we aren’t meant to do this fitness thing alone forever.
If you don’t enjoy working out (and you dread going to the gym), it might be because you haven’t found a community to support you, cheer for you, and hold you accountable. Next time you’re at the gym, reach out to a coach, introduce yourself to the person next to you after yoga, or swap paleo recipes with a CrossFit member. Then see what happens.
These simple tips will have you looking forward to your workouts, enjoying your gym sessions, and celebrating incredible results in no time.