In last month's blog I confessed that I was feeling bored and disenchanted with my exercise routine. This is, I'm sure, a feeling many of you can relate to. The thing is, I love exercise and I want to enjoy being active. (Plus, what kind of trainer would I be if I couldn't honestly tell my clients that exercise is rewarding and fun?) To counter my growing ambivalence towards exercise, I challenged myself to complete one "fitness adventure" per day for a month.
The month is now over and I can honestly say, it was awesome! The highlights were a Kangaroo fitness class, Justin's (and only Justin's) Zumba Circuit class at Izzy's Fitness and an intense, machine-based pilates class.
I encourage anyone who is feeling bored with their current workout, or unmotivated to start a workout routine, to try something new and fun.
In addition to breathing new life into my exercise routine, my month-venture taught me a few other things as well. I am such an A-type personality that I have organized what I learned from my "month-venture" into five handy "take-aways." My need to organize is slightly pathetic (not to mention ridiculous since the whole point of the month was for me to let go and have fun), but at 30, I am who I am. So, here it goes, my five main "take-aways" from my month-venture are as follows.
Take away 1: Fitness buddies are motivating!
My girlfriend Jessica was particularly motivating. Jessica and I decided that we would have one adventure (in the form of going to a fun exercise class) every Wednesday. Jessica coined these adventures "Wed-ventures." (Inspired by this, I have started to refer to this past month as my "month-venture.")
Take Away 2: The more reasons you can find to exercise, the better.
I am always trying to find ways to encourage my mom to exercise (I want her to be healthy and around for as long possible). So, I got her a package of Zumba classes so that the two of us could go on "mother-daughter" Zumba dates.
These classes offered me three reasons to get myself to Zumba. I was monetarily invested, I wanted to encourage my mom to exercise, and the classes counted towards my adventure quota.
Many people's primary exercise goal is to look better and/or to lose weight. Go ahead and keep that goal, but also aim to sleep better, feel more energized, get more fresh air, improve your sport performance and/or spend more time with friends. Long-term, this multi-pronged approach will help keep you motivated and on track.
Take away 3: if you try a new workout and don't like it, don't use the bad experience as a reason to stop exercising.
During my month-venture I tried four different versions of Ballet Bar. These four classes taught me that different studios and instructors offer their own "take" on every class. Out of the four Ballet Bar classes I tried, I loved two of them, tolerated one and disliked another. A good instructor makes all the difference.
Keep trying different workout adventures until you find something you like. If I had been discouraged by the instructor I hated, I would never have gone back and found the teacher and class I loved.
Take away 4: planning is key.
If you don't plan exercise in advance, it often doesn't happen. Book exercise into your schedule like any other appointment.
Set dates with friends. The date will give you extra incentive to get to the class. If you know you are naturally inclined to be unmotivated during certain parts of the week, month or year, plan workout solutions in advance. For example, since I am easily bored, instead of waiting for myself to become bored, I pre-emptively booked a few future fitness adventures. The scheduled variety will help ensure I don't ever reach the point of hating exercise again. I have signed up for tennis lessons starting April 24. I have never played before. Learning a new sport will challenge me and give me a fun activity to do with friends.
Take away number five: You are more likely to continue with your exercise regime if you enjoy it.
I am not arguing you should love every second of your workout. However, I strongly suggest structuring your workout so that it includes at least one element you enjoy. So, you might hate walking, but if you enjoy socializing, a walking group might be a perfect adventure for you. If you hate going to a gym, but were athletic in school, try joining a sports team.
The next time you want to skip a workout, instead of ditching entirely, make your workout an adventure. Try a new running route, download new music or schedule a workout date with a friend. Just remember, the more multifaceted your reasons for exercising are, and the larger your support network, the more successful you will be.