2021– The Year we get in shape. Almost everyone has a fitness goal for this year especially since more than half of the previous year was spent at home eating junk, sleeping and gathering fat. No matter what your fitness goals are this year, we all have one term in common.
This is the part most people dread because who likes spending hours at the gym or doing bone shattering workout routines at home? (Definitely not me!)
But what if I told you that you could actually enjoy exercising and not want to kill yourself after a ten minute ab workout? (lol).
For someone who has been working out for some time, I’ve definitely had my share of self loathing and the profound discovery of just how unfit I am after dying in a 5 minute workout session but these tips I’m about to share with you have totally changed the game for me.
I am not going to pretend that I 💯 enjoy exercising or that I am now addicted to working out, but these are some of the tips that have helped me enjoy working out even more.
Disclaimer: I just want to mention that I am neither a fitness instructor nor an expert in health and fitness. Most of the knowledge I have is what I’ve read and seen on the internet. These tips come from my personal experience and so should not be regarded as the “Ultimate” solution for everybody.
It’s unrealistic to try to achieve a thousand jumping jacks in a day, or five hundred Burpees at once or to run a marathon in a week. Just like every other thing, the best way to enjoy working out is to slowly ease into it. If you’re new to working out, you may be overwhelmed by some of the fitness programs and exercises you’ll see on the internet. They’re tons of body movements with even complex variations so it’s safe to say jumping right into doing these exercises is not safe.
When I first started working out, I made the mistake of jumping straight into long fitness programs and trying just about any workout I set my eyes on. Of course I failed woefully, I couldn’t keep up, I felt sore in the wrong places and I just wasn’t getting the satisfaction I wanted so I quit.
This time, I tested the waters by doing low impact workouts on YouTube and eventually, I ended up liking them ( for beginners I recommend doing EMI Wong’s workouts on YouTube, they’re super fun, beginner friendly and still manage to give you a bit of challenge to help increase your strength.)
In order to build a healthy lifestyle and actually get to enjoy working out, you have to start small. Begin by doing simple exercises first, do fewer reps or shorter period and slowly increase your pace as you move on.
When doing or following any workout routine or video, try and modify the exercises to the minimum and give your body time to get used to moving your muscles before jumping into the full exercises– DO LOW IMPACT.
Example instead of jumping straight into full fat burning hiit workouts, try walking, rope jumping, jogging or low intensity body movements first. Don’t just jump into lifting weights the first day you go into the gym, do body weight exercises and resistance training first.
The key is to start small and slowly build up the intensity.
Find the right workout.
There are thousands of workout videos on YouTube alone. If you add the tons of fitness pins on Pinterest, Instagram and even tiktok, it could be over a million so finding the perfect workout routine for your goals is quite difficult.
However, the key is to keep searching. Check out workout routines that are related to your fitness goals and test them. You could do them for a week or few days to see the one that works for you. If possible, you can even create your own workout routine! Just follow this simple guide on how to create the perfect exercise routine you’ll stick to.
Just remember these three tips when looking for a good workout routine or creating one yourself.
- A good workout routine must be something you enjoy!
- It should consist of movements that you can actually do, so as to get the most of it.
- It should not be too easy or too hard. It should be challenging enough to make you work a sweat, but not too hard that you can’t do any movement right which can lead to injuries.
Think of it as a habit not a chore
I’m sure we’ve all heard of discipline and how important it is in fitness journeys. Nonetheless, the notion of discipline can misread especially when it comes to working out when we don’t feel like it. Often time we think of exercising as something we must do or as a “chore” that must be met in order to achieve our fitness goals. This idea can only get us so far.
The idea to actually enjoying your workouts is to think of them not as a chore, but as a habit. That is, something we need to do for ourselves and our well being, not necessarily a chore that needs to be done so that we can check if off our daily to-do list.
Wear Comfy workout gears
Obviously one of the ways to have a good workout is to wear the appropriate outfit; nice fitting pants, tops, a nice footwear and preferably a good sports bra (for females).
Wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose to workout is a bad idea. You risk the chances of not doing the exercises well, being in the wrong form and getting distracted thereby demotivating you (i.e if your pants are too lose or tight, you’ll find yourself dragging up the waist line every second or rubbing off an itch on your thigh and good shoes will not come off your feet when running or give you toe sores afterwards.)
Be More Intentional with your movements. (Mind-Muscle connection)
A good number of people (including myself) are guilty of rushing our exercises in order to get the done as quickly as possible and move on with with our lives. This is bad for so many reasons: First, we end up neglecting our form, we also forget to engage the right muscles thereby risking the chances of getting injuries.
In order to enjoy our exercises, we actually have to feel it..meaning we need to establish a Mind-Muscle connection. Picture yourself doing the exercise and how you are supposed to look in the proper form and also picture those muscles you need to work to achieve that movement perfectly, then try to engage them as much as possible.
Go slowly, it’s not about how many reps you get but how many good reps you get. Remember to breathe and embrace the burn!!
Reward Yourself For the little accomplishments
Set little goals for yourself and reward yourself each time you complete them. E.g make a goal to do cardio three times in a week or fifty Burpees everyday and reward yourself by buying that dress you love or going to that spa treatment you’ve always wanted.
NEVER reward yourself with junk food! You’ll just be reversing the effects of your workout.
Find Your Method: Reps or Time?
Everyone knows they’re two ways to measure how much exercise you’re doing: you either count your reps, or you track your time. Now I won’t say that one method surpasses the other because people have their preferences. I personally prefer counting reps than time because I like to have a specific goal count in my brain as I’m working out. However, most workout routines especially on YouTube use timers which has its own benefits.
One of the benefits of tracking time instead of counting reps is that it helps you aware of how strong you are and how much improvement you’re getting with time as compared to just counting reps where you have no limits and so can take forever on just one exercise. Still, I would suggest using reps (especially if you are still a beginner cause like I stated earlier, it gives you a clear goal count of what you want to achieve making the workout more bearable). As you progress, add more reps to increase the difficulty so as to continue to see results.
Greasing the groove
Greasing the groove is a training principle used to increase neurological pathways, gain strength and improve your ability to do an exercise. It involves practicing the exercise with many sets but with low
reps, as to never bring the muscles to exhaustion. For instance, if your goal is to get hundred squats done everyday, do ten squats each time you get up to do something or even do a squat hold while using the toilet.
Greasing the groove is a great technique that is not only applied to exercising but can be very useful in other parts of your life.
Track Progress in every way possible.
One of the ways we get motivated to workout is when we start noticing the changes in our body, because of course seeing results from your workouts makes you want to do them even more!
Most people spend half of their time looking at the number on the scale in order to check their progress. While this understandable, looking at the bathroom scale every morning might not be the ideal way to track your progress. This is because:
- Our weight fluctuates, which is natural and is as a result of our metabolic activities throughout the day (your weight at morning may be different from your weight at night)
- The number on a scale may not be a good way to monitor weight loss because as we exercise, we tend to build muscle and muscles weigh more than fat so you may be losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time thus making the number not to change much
They’re other ways to measure your progress such as taking before and after pictures, measuring strength and endurance and measuring inches or centimetres around targeted body parts.
Tidy your kitchen.
When I say “tidy your kitchen”, rest assured I do not mean literally. Exercising is one of the popular ways to lose weight but it’s quite unarguable that your diet plays the most part. You could spend an entire day training at the gym or running on a threadmill to burn as much calories as you want but a carefree trip to the nearest fast food or MacDonalds can undo everything. (It’s the sad truth:-|).
You cannot outrun a bad diet.
If you really want to reap the benefits of your workout, you’re going to have to eat better. I’m not telling you to cut out carbs, sugar and junk completely or embark on one of the numerous crash diets on the internet because they might not be sustainable, but a few simple changes can help.
Eat more whole foods instead of processed or prepackaged. Rather than dining frequently at a fast food, try and cook your meals at home if you have the time. Drink water before every meal- that way you’re less likely to overeat and apply the 80:20 rule “eighty percent healthy foods, twenty percent junk“.
Finally, always remember that consistency is key. Don’t try to copy other people or compare your workout results to other people’s result because we are all different. What works for other people may not work for you and vice versa so just put in the work, be patient and you will definitely see results!
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did please leave a comment below with your thoughts, share this with a friend (or fitness buddy:-) and don’t forget to subscribe to get new posts directly in your inbox.
Stay safe, Stay happy.