When you learn how to make exercise fun, you will stick to it and see results! I have been a certified personal trainer for 18 years, and I love hearing from my clients what they enjoy doing and what they absolutely dread. It is fascinating to me that some people love lifting and hate running, while others are the polar opposite. Even more interesting is when the runner discovers lifting, or the lifters discovers she likes running.
It makes sense that people gravitate toward new activities and maybe back to old ones, over the course of years. Interests naturally change as you grow, and this process can help you find what you really enjoy.
Why Should You Make Exercise Fun?
Why is it so important to enjoy your training? Simply, because you want to keep it up forever! It is important in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally. We know exercise helps in many ways beyond physical. It improves self confidence and brain cognition. There’s a reason many of the most successful people in the world list physical activity as a habit that keeps them productive!
Identify What You Want and Why
This is the number one tip I can give people. If you identify what your goal is and why you want that, you will have endless drive. This might not come to you on a whim, and identifying this isn’t a passive process. Sit down and think about what your ideal outcome is. Look around and see who motivates you. Is it a certain physique that motivates you? A celebrity? The lady you see jogging around your block rain or shine?
Be honest with yourself about what you want, and why it matters to you. This is your goal, not your mama’s, not your spouse’s; yours only! Write this down and revisit it often, and it will make the process and outcome even more enjoyable!
Find What Motivates You
Pounds and inches can be useful for tracking change, but this goes far beyond that. Have you ever gotten a PR (personal record)? This is when you set a new personal best, such as the heaviest you ever deadlifted or the most pushups you’ve ever done. It is an amazing feeling to see the improvement you’ve earned!
You can also find motivation in realizing that you have a streak of going to the gym 3 times a week for 2 solid months. Or, you might realize you enjoy all your cute clothes again because you feel good in your own skin! And those stairs you do every day at work? They don’t wind you at all anymore. That’s the stuff that keeps you enjoying your training!
Sometimes it’s fun a refreshing to just work on the things you like. I’m NOT saying skip legs…but if an affinity for a particular exercises drives you, then let it. Here are my favorite exercises; the ones that will get me into the gym.
Try New Things Your Gym Offers
Have you been doing the same old workout for a while now? Change it up. Many gyms have classes or programs you can get involved with. Spin, Pilates, yoga, conditioning classes, and swimming are great ways to diversity your training and find new activities to enjoy.
Try New Ways to Lift
Even if your gym doesn’t offer classes, there are always new things to try in the gym. You can learn specific lifts, such the power lifts, or Olympic lifts. This is guaranteed to make you learn and progress.
If you’re in Austin, check out the Austin Fit Fest coming up August 19, 2023, for some inspiration and new activities. Armored combat, anyone?
Or, you can change specific goals about the lifts you currently do, such as aiming for strength (heavier weights and longer rest) or conditioning (higher reps and less rest between sets).
These things sound like little adjustments on paper, but they will absolutely change the pace and style of your training, and you might find you love it!
Find an Expert
My clients will often ask me for tips to try something new, whether it’s a small adjustment on a specific exercise, or an overhaul to their whole program. They are sometimes surprised when I pop out a suggestion for a new move that targets the exact area they want, or a new schedule that really suits their lifestyle. But, as many hours as others spend on their job at their desk, I am in the gym learning from my clients. I usually have a hunch about a new training style someone will enjoy, because I’ve learned from so many people along the way.
This is why I always seek experts when I’m learning something in a new field, whether I’m learning a new skill or looking to invest money smarter. Having an outside eye from someone who has had many clients like you will save you time and trouble, and introduce you to new opportunities.
If you’re ready to jump into an expertly written program, here are the three programs I currently have available. One is written for those who go to the gym and love the barbells and equipment, one is for those who exclusively work from home with just a few pieces of equipment, and one is for the brand new beginner who will use a gym.
Workout with a Friend
At a very busy time of my life, a friend and I realized we weren’t seeing each other much, and the “free” time we had was our gym time. I got a new gym membership that day. We met twice a week and had double the fun, catching up the whole time. Make no mistake, this wasn’t about accountability or reaching goals, this was solely about spending time together.
I have friends that I could do anything with and have fun. If you have one of those too, give ‘em a call and meet them for a lift. It’ll be time well spent.
The Low Hanging Fruit
I’m not ashamed to say a new outfit will make me enjoy my gym time a little more. Killer playlist? Yes please! These things aren’t deep motivational habit building strategies, but they can get you through a slump. Get yourself a new pair of shoes, fitness gadget, or update your playlist.
Sometimes it’s the small things, yall. Whether it’s deep thinking about what you’re working toward, or those new pants with the pockets, grab that motivation and get yourself to the gym. Whatever you have to do to make exercise fun!
How Do You Make Exercise Fun?
I’d love to hear your ideas for how you make exercise fun! If you’ve been around the gym for a while, you’ve probably had some highs and lows. Let me know how you pulled out of it to make exercise fun again for you!
Need Help With Your Program?
Sometimes, just having a plan written for you can make you stick to it. Then you see results. Then it is fun. 🙂 If that’s the case for you, message me here and we’ll set up a free consult to see if we’d be a good match to work on your program.
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.