How to Love Working Out
Written By: Melissa Fiorenza
Rather than bore you with the endless list of reasons why exercising is undeniably critical for living a long, happy, healthy life, let’s get right to it. You’re here because you already know those reasons, but like most of America, you hate working out. You loathe lunges. You don’t like sweating. You’d rather watch Hulu. You think burpees were created by the devil himself, and if you were granted one wish, it’d be to eat whatever you want every single day without gaining an ounce. (Ugh, can you imagine?)
But the good news is, you’re reading this—which means you so badly want to love the pain, and that’s step #1. The desire to turn your life around. Go with it; don’t stop now. From one former exercise-hater to a (hopefully) future exercise-lover, here are my no-nonsense, totally honest ways that I finally flipped a switch and started to crave the burn. (And this is coming from a girl who used to text her husband, who was downstairs, to bring me a drink upstairs because I was too lazy to get up. Trust me. Change is real.)
1. Try every kind of workout format you can think of
For real. Take a yoga class, a Pilates class, a HIIT class, a kickboxing class, any kind of class. Search Pinterest for exercise infographics and do whatever you find. Browse YouTube for beginner hip-hop videos, and check out BeachBodyOnDemand.com (their 21 Day Fix video series is what finally, for some reason, won me over).
The point here is that you have to find something that makes you somewhat intrigued, rather than forcing yourself to enjoy something you just won’t. Maybe you’ll discover that you dislike in-person classes, but you can get down with throwing on a sports bra and working out to the TV in your basement. Or maybe you’ll realize that while you love the treadmill, you hate the gym, so it’s time to fork over some cash and buy one for yourself. No matter how long it takes, you have got to experiment until you land on something that makes you come back tomorrow. And the next day, and so forth. It’s out there. Search for it.
2. Buy some kickass clothes
I used to wear a sports bra that didn’t properly fit me, cheap yoga pants, sneakers I bought online, and oversized tee shirts that I had just collected over the years from random event functions. Talk about feeling frumpy before you even break a sweat. But here’s a quote I love that I want you to really believe too. Professor Karen J. Pine of the University of Hertfordshire once wrote: “When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.” Break out your wallet. You’re going shopping.
For starters, it’s so, so life-changing to buy a sports bra that fits you. After a far and wide search for the support and comfort I wanted, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s expensive, but worth it. I tried Amazon, I tried Dick’s Sporting Goods and everything they carry, I tried specialty shops. In the end, I’m currently obsessed with Lululemon’s Enlite Bra, $98, woof. But it’s the best I’ve seen. For sneakers, GO TO A STORE where they’ll pick out pairs for you based on your stride. Pick the one with bangin’ colors. For clothes, choose what you think looks good on you—because honestly, that’s half the battle right there. And while you’re at it, get a pretty water bottle. C’mon, whatever it takes.
3. Find your tribe
If it weren’t for my group text—me and a few friends—I wouldn’t have fallen in love with exercising. Some nights, we’ll get a text from one of them with a pic of their TV, proof that they just completed a video workout (and I’ll do the same). Other nights, I’ll shoot them a message asking for tough love—to tell me to get on my treadmill and work off the pint of Halo Top ice cream I just devoured. It’s becoming a nightly ritual to share our victories with each other, and it’s all because of the accountability that it turned from commiserating to celebrating (okay, sometimes still commiserating, but we’re all allowed off nights).
Who can join this journey with you? Coworkers? Family members? Your BFF who lives far away counts too! (Check out this Women’s Health article for inspiration: 'My Best Friend And I Got In Shape Together—While Living 650 Miles Apart.’) Whoever it is, agree to motivate each other on a daily basis, and to never slow the other down when one of you is in need of a skip day for whatever reason. The best accountability buddies are the ones who believe in you.
4. Remember the post-workout bliss
After you go for a run or complete a class, something very magical happens. You feel good. You feel accomplished. You’re tired, but you’re glad you did it, right? It’s really, really, really, really, really easy to forget that feeling tomorrow and skip your workout. That’s why it’s essential to document it.
Take a pic of your exhausted but happy smile, print it, and post it on the fridge. Or write a note to your future self about how you feel in that moment and tape it to your TV. To love working out, you have to love the post-workout. Savor that moment and remember it perfectly the very next day. “I wish I didn’t just exercise” — says no one ever.
5. Get addicted to something
Here’s what I mean: choose something that you only get if or when you work out. If you’re currently addicted to a TV show, for example, let’s say The Affair (so good), make it your treadmill-only show. If you think a chocolatey protein shake is the one good healthy food the gods ever created, reward yourself with a refreshing glass only after you complete your circuits. Have something to look forward to during or after the workout, and it makes loving the actual process a lot easier to do.
On a grander scale, consider what you could treat yourself to after a bigger accomplishment than a daily workout. For instance, if you run that 5k in a few months, book yourself that 1.5-hour hot stone massage. When you finally lose the inches you’re hoping to shed, get yourself to a beach stat to show off your progress. Every major milestone should be a big deal. It takes hard work to get there, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t celebrate yourself.
I used to despise exercising. Now, I get mean when I have to miss one. (Just ask my husband.) You can do this—stop quitting, start working.