Regular exercise is one of the most important–arguably the most important–part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting your body moving through moderate cardio activity for an hour at least five times per week promotes heart and respiratory health, improves your sleep, and boosts your mood through the natural release of endorphins, along with countless other less obvious benefits for your mental and physical health.
For women who want to lose weight or visibly tone their frame, keeping up with regular cardio and strength workouts is also essential for meeting the personal fitness goals they have in mind.
Despite how important working out is for your mental and physical health, many women dread exercising and find any excuse to put off their workouts. This disdain is understandable. Exercising can be boring, uncomfortable, and eat a lot of time out of your already packed schedule. However, the benefits of keeping up with a healthy, regular workout schedule far outweigh the minor inconveniences of building exercise into your daily routine. Working out doesn’t have to make you miserable. Revamp your exercise routine to stop dreading your workouts and stick with your fitness plans to reach your long-term fitness goals.
1. Never Underestimate the Power of a Playlist
Music is an extremely powerful tool for fitness motivation. Listening to a playlist of upbeat songs while you exercise distracts you from any physical discomfort you’re feeling, boost your stamina, lift your mood, and improve your performance.
On days when working out is the last thing you want to do, hit play on your liveliest playlist before you even start exercising. Just hearing the fast-paced beat of the music will likely encourage you to get moving and make the prospect of starting your workout feel much less torturous.
2. Plan with Pinterest
Pinterest is the Holy Grail of fun workouts and fitness motivation. You can scroll through Pinterest to find hundreds of exercise plans and workout routines for every fitness goal imaginable.
Use Pinterest to help yourself develop an exercise plan that seems fun to you and is doable with your schedule and skill level. Whenever you find yourself feeling bored or discouraged, don’t be afraid to take a break from your plan. Go back and pin some fun, unfamiliar workouts that keep you moving on a daily basis until your motivation is revived.
3. Compete with Yourself
Competition is a great motivating factor, even when you’re only competing with yourself. Finding some way to incorporate competition into your exercise routine adds interest and excitement to your workout schedule.
If you go for a run every day, try to beat your own mile time or distance every week. If strength training is the focus of your fitness plan, track your progress and mark deadlines for when you want to be able to increase the weight you lift by a certain amount. Setting goals and challenges for yourself can transform the dread you usually feel about your upcoming workout to excitement and determination.
4. Find a Friend
Exercising shouldn’t be a solitary activity. Humans are social creatures by nature. Part of the fun and excitement of playing a team sport, for example, is interacting with your teammates, encouraging them, and making progress together. In the same way, your workouts a lot more fun if you make them a social activity.
Find a friend with fitness goals that are similar to yours. Plan your workouts together, whether that means heading to the gym at the same time or meeting in a certain place to start your morning runs as a team. When you exercise with a friend, you’ll find that your workouts go by much faster and the encouragement and support you get from each other lifts your mood and pushes you to give every workout your best effort. Plus, on days when you’re inevitably feeling less than motivated, you’ll be less likely to skip your workout if you know someone else is counting on you.
5. Stop Hurting Yourself
If you’re in pain every time you work out, it’s no wonder the thought of exercising is accompanied by a feeling of dread. It’s a common misconception that feeling pain while you exercise is normal and is just something you have to deal with if you want to make any progress toward your fitness goals.
Exercising shouldn’t be easy. Effective workouts that push your body do usually come with some level of discomfort. However, if you feel sharp pain in your joints, severe shortness of breath, or any sensation that surpasses slight discomfort, it’s time to make a change. Try lowering the intensity of your workouts or experiment with a lower-impact activity instead. Your workouts will seem much less unpleasant if they don’t go hand in hand with pain.
6. Beat Boredom with Intervals
Interval workouts are a saving grace for women who get bored with exercise routines easily or find it difficult to fit regular workouts into their hectic daily schedule. As their name suggests, these workouts are designed with multiple intervals. This means that you’re not stuck doing exactly the same thing for more than a few minutes at a time.
Instead, you constantly switch up your movements–from sprinting to incline walking or from crunches to jumping rope–while staying in motion the whole time. These workouts leave you almost no time to get bored before it’s time to move onto the next interval. Interval workouts also get your heart pumping quickly and help you burn more calories in a shorter period of time, so they’re the perfect option for days when fitting a full-length workout into your schedule seems too overwhelming.
7. Be Patient
For many women, the motivation behind working out is getting the beach body of your dreams. It’s natural to want to see the physical results of your hard work as soon as possible. However, one of the most common reasons why women dread their workouts is because they push themselves too hard. Pushing yourself too hard leaves you exhausted, discouraged, and in pain by the time you leave the gym.
Be patient with yourself. No one loses twenty pounds or builds a six pack over time. Seeing the results of your workouts takes time. Pushing yourself too hard won’t speed up your progress; it will just lead to frustration and even injury. Every time you finish a workout, you should feel more confident and energetic than when you started. If you’re feeling tired and defeated instead, that’s a clear sign that you should tone down the intensity of your exercise routine.
When the thought of heading to the gym makes you feel physically ill, you know you’re doing something wrong. There is no reason for your cardio or strength training to be the worst part of your day. If you form your exercise habits the right way, you might even find yourself looking forward to your daily workouts and the mental and physical benefits they bring you.