Does any of this sound familiar?
- You got a trainer to write up a gym workout plan for you, but you just can’t stick to it
- You got yourself a running buddy to motivate you to run, but you still skip days all the time
- You paid $500 for a gym membership, thinking that the money you spent would be a big motivator, but you still avoid the gym like the plague…
Making exercise a habit isn’t an easy thing to do. But there’s one key that sounds simple, but it absolutely works.
The Secret to Making Exercise a Habit
To make exercise a habit, it’s as simple as finding a form of exercise that you truly love.
It might sound too simple, but I promise you, if you find a form of exercise that you love doing, you will not struggle to make exercise a habit. On the flipside, if you’re forcing yourself to do something you hate, you’re not going to keep it up.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of lifting weights at the gym. Although I’m well aware of the benefits, I find lifting weights to be boring. If my workout routine consisted of 5/weekly weights sessions, I know I’d never stick with it. (I still get in regular weights sessions, but I do them at home just using the small home gym setup I have.)
Fitness classes are what I love, and what keep me motivated and excited to work out. I love the extra motivation of working out with a group of people, I love the variety of fitness classes and I find that the time passes so fast that I’m often shocked when the instructor says we’re all done!
But while I love fitness classes (things like Body Pump, H.E.A.T, Power Yoga, etc.,) but I know people who hate fitness classes and would never be able to keep up a regular exercise practice if attending fitness classes was their only option. But they’ve found what works for them, and as such, they stick with it.
If you’re struggling to find a form of exercise that resonates with you, I’d encourage you to give everything a try. You never know what is going to be the one you fall in love with!
With that being said, here are some suggestions that you might not have thought of:
If you want to burn maximum calories in minimum time, then HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) might be the perfect exercise for you. With HIIT, you work out in short, intensive bursts, with a short recovery period.
An example might be doing as many squat jumps, as fast as you can for 2 minutes, then resting for 30 seconds, then repeating. HIIT raises your heart rate fast, so it’s great for improving cardiovascular strength and burning calories, fast.
Check out these 4 fast HIIT workouts for beginners.
Crossfit has taken the world by storm – it seems like there’s a new box opening up on every street!
Crossfit is popular because it provides an excellent full body workout and builds functional strength, but the many people I know who are Crossfit fans say that the sense of community is perhaps the biggest benefit of Crossfit.
Crossfit gyms are usually smaller and more intimate than your regular gym, and because the workouts are at set times, you’re going to be working out with the same people every week. If you love the feeling of community when you’re working out, then Crossfit might be a good choice for you.
To find a Crossfit gym near you, check out this directory.
Barre is a ballet inspired workout that promises to give you a long, lean dancer’s body, without adding bulk. It’s a very popular form of exercise for people who want to gain strength, flexibility and increase muscle while maintaining a slender physique.
Some more benefits of barre include:
- Low impact
- Increases flexibility
- Improves posture
- Increases core strength
If you like the idea of yoga but feel like you’re not getting enough of a workout during a traditional hatha yoga class, then I’d encourage you to find a power yoga class and give it a try. I’m betting you’ll change your mind!
I do power yoga twice per week, and by the end of the class I’m always dripping with sweat and my muscles are burning. While perhaps not quite as intense as a HEAT class, power yoga definitely provides an amazing full body workout.
If running on the treadmill sounds like your idea of hell (I’m with you on that) then give outdoor running a try. Even though there are some benefits of running on a treadmill, I find it incredibly tedious.
Running outdoors, on the other hand, can be fun. Nature is beautiful and inspiring, and I’d much rather be breathing in clean, fresh, outdoors air than the sweaty, stinky air at the gym! Additionally, depending on the terrain, running outdoors can provide an additional challenge that you won’t get on a treadmill.
If you’re a running beginner, I highly recommend trying out Aaptiv. It’s my favorite workout app, that has hundreds of personal trainer led workouts, including dozens of beginner friendly running workouts. One of my favorites is the “Progress to Run” workout. It’s a 22 minute “walk + jog” workout that is set to some awesome old and new pop songs. Get a free 30-day trial of Aaptiv here.
Note: One thing that often prevents exercise from becoming a habit is muscle soreness. Read about how to reduce muscle soreness after working out.
Boxing is a great way to release an pent-up stress and tension, as well as providing an excellent full body workout. A common misconception about boxing is that it only provides an upper body workout – this is completely false.
If you’re using proper form, you’ll be working your entire body, increasing your strength and getting an amazing cardio workout. You’ll also burn major calories and improve your coordination and flexibility.
There are lots of trainer-led boxing workouts on Aaptiv, otherwise check out your local gym to see if they have any boxing classes!
The Bottom Line
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. To the contrary, when you find something you love, you’ll actually look forward to exercising and want to do more of it. Don’t get dejected if you try something out and don’t like it – it doesn’t mean there’s anything “wrong” with you, it just means you haven’t found your “thing” yet. Keep going and eventually you’ll find that exercise that you fall in love with!
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