How to Stop Dreading Exercise and Start Loving it

Woman running
One of my good friends is a new Mom – at least I consider her to be so.  She’s got an almost 3 year old and an 8 month old.  She’s always been super active but with the challenge of chasing after two kids, keeping up with housework and making meals she has found this past year to be quite challenging when it came to her own personal health.  (are you relating to her story yet??) Needless to say, she found herself hanging onto post-baby weight a lot longer than she wanted to and had lost track of her better nutrition habits.  In my opinion, my friend is beautiful inside and out, but we all know that feeling of not being able to fit into our clothes, feeling sluggish and run-down.  No one likes it, and no matter how you may appear to others, I believe that you have to be comfortable in your own skin and you need to feel good to be the best version of yourself!


So back to my friend, she decided to sign up for the fitness challenge going on at her local gym to help hold her accountable.  The contest is a point system based on how many classes you attend at the gym, before/after photos and of course weight/measurements. So far she’s doing fantastic and has lost 6lbs in just a few weeks!  I’ve been checking in on her on a weekly basis as I provided her with a few workouts and a basic meal plan to follow. This week I received really interesting feedback…


When I asked how her workouts were going she said she was doing really well but she had had a recent revelation.  When she looked at some of the other contestants, for whatever reason she decided that she wouldn’t come close to contending as a winner.  A little disheartening only a few weeks in, wouldn’t you agree?  Her chances, I would argue, are certainly debatable but that’s a discussion for another time 🙂  The important note here is her thought process, it went something like this:


“since I realized I’m not nearly good enough to win (the contest), I need to do things that are good for ME, not good for winning the contest”


So what did she do:


“I ‘gave up’ some points by not doing a boot camp and just ran.  But the run was so good for my soul, I was in a great mood after and I ran for an hour straight!”


WOW.  You can just hear she is beaming in her messages.  As an additional note, my girlfriend has always loved running, so just because the running doesn’t earn her as many ‘points’ should she really say no to a run that she’s in the mood for and do the class instead? The answer seems simple enough right?


How many of you actually enjoy working out?  Like really, truly, enjoy a good sweat?  I know we all groan and complain about how tough class can be or how sore we are the next day, but think deep down, do you actually enjoy the feeling of challenging your body?


I know this must sound strange coming from your ‘boot camp’ instructor…skipping boot camp???  But my message is this, you should ENJOY your workouts and it’s important to find what type of workouts bring you enjoyment!  Why spend the time exercising if it’s not something enjoyable or fun?  I know it’s not going to be fun every time (burpees anyone?) but for the most part, there should be something enjoyable about your workout that feeds your soul.  This is part of your ‘you’ time!  We all lead very busy lives, but our lives are meant to be lived abundantly 🙂


All things considered, keep in mind that variety is still important and your week of workouts needs to include cardio, strength and flexibility.  However, remember to make time for the workouts that you do love, especially on the days when you’re not feeling as motivated to get moving….on those days, stick to your faves!


So my challenge to you this week, is to take a few minutes to figure out and write down a few things:


1) What do you love about exercise? (I know there’s something!)
2) What gets you truly excited about completing a circuit/workout/class (it can even be the coffee date afterward!)
3) If you could pick one physical activity that you feel completely invigorated after, what would that be? (think outside the box on this one)
4) Why do YOU exercise, why is exercise important to you? (hint: not why it’s good for you, search a little deeper than that)


Write all these down and keep them somewhere nearby, these things are your MOTIVATION for working out.  These are your “WHY’S” for wanting to achieve your goals.


So here’s to a great week of workouts…and enjoying the sweat it brings!