Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Ways to Have More Fun With Your Workouts

At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for myself… my only goal for this year, actually… to have more fun with my workouts and not take myself so seriously.

Generally I like to select a workout program and then follow if through for the prescribed 6 or 9 or 12 weeks, and I do tend to get a bit obsessive about making sure I get all the workouts done on their scheduled days.  And in the past, sometimes I didn’t really even enjoy doing them, but I did anyway because I believed they were good for me and would help me reach my fitness goals.  Sorta like taking  that yukky cherry cough syrup to calm your throat.

So yes, this fun aspect to my workouts is a real mindset shift.  And I think it is important.  Now, don't get me wrong... I am still a proponent of following a particular program instead of just working out willy-nilly in order to meet specific goals, but I have come to realize that I need to have fun with my workouts.  If I don’t they aren’t going to do me any good at all. If I am not enjoying what I am doing, I am not likely going to put the required real effort into it.

One thing I have learned as I go along is that life is too short to spend time doing things I don’t like.  Don’t you agree?

Have Fun

1.  Do activities you really enjoy.

This is so obvious I almost hesitate to say it, but honestly it took me a long time to figure it out.  I like to do a variety of different kinds of workouts and exercise activities.  I also like to play several different sports. There are so many things that I do like to do, that I don’t have enough time for them all, especially if I am busy wasting time with things I don’t.

Sometimes I will give things a third or fourth try just to make sure... some things I know without actually trying at all. For example, I know I would not like Crossfit so I have never even tried it. I don’t like stairclimbers, elliptical machines, treadmills, or machines at the gym so I don’t use them.  I really don’t like stability balls.

I do love to walk and to run, to lift weights and do full body weight workouts. I like kickboxing, hiking, swimming, biking, and canoeing. I am crazy about tennis, and golf and yoga. In the past I was an avid snow skier and would jump at the chance to do it again now.

2. If you cannot do your given workout, substitute something similar that you like to do.

I love to run, but I don’t like to run on a treadmill… so if I can’t run outdoors because the weather is too wet or too windy, I will find some other way of getting in some exercise instead of heading to the gym to run on a treadmill.  More than likely I will put a kickboxing DVD on and get sweaty with that, or I just may don appropriate clothing and footwear and head out for a hike or nice long walk. It’s still cardio. It is still doing the same good for my heart. I am still spending time on my feet.

3. Don’t spoil your love for an activity by turning it into a competition unless you really enjoy that aspect of it.

Again, I love to run, but I am not interested in racing or collecting race medals so I no longer register for running events where I am going to feel pressure to show up at a time and place I may not even feel like running.  I love to play tennis, and to golf, but no longer competitively.  Athletic and sports competitions are not something I enjoy doing myself, so I have stopped taking part in them… but I am a great spectator and cheerleader at them!  Other people live for the bling and that is what makes it fun for them.

4. Allow yourself to goof off once in a while.

I am working very hard right now in order to build up my upper body to help me with my swimming.  But if the opportunity arises to head to the tennis courts on a beautiful day, I won’t feel the least bit guilty ditching that workout for a tennis match.  More that likely I will really look forward to that next strength session too.

5. Try new things… and new locations… and new people!

I am one of these people that want to do it all.  When I was a kid I was often called fickle because I never stuck with anything for very long. There was always something new around the corner to try, or some new kid down the street that I hadn’t met yet.  I am the same way with vacations.  I want to go somewhere I haven’t been instead of returning to a given, same place year after year.  I thrive on new experiences, new places, new faces.

I am not saying that you have to be changing your workouts all the time… quite the contrary. But I do think you must to be open to trying new activites in addition to your favorites.  If you are a pavement runner, find a trail.  And take along your husband or you kids with you.  If you do yoga, try a different practice at a new studio.  If you love hoisting weights, try a resistance band.  You get the idea. Or try something completely new. Get outside your comfort zone.  Experiment. You may find a new love or obsession!

I am always looking for the next adventure.  Let's see… I haven’t tried rock or wall climbing yet… or stand up paddling…

So how do you keep your workouts enjoyable and fun? 


  1. #1 is so important! I have people ask me all the time, what is the best way to exercise. And I tell them, find something you enjoy. Otherwise, duh (I don't say duh when I'm talking to clients :-) ), you won't do it. Great post!

  2. Great post Elle! I keep my workouts fun by mixing it up. I like to look up new things to try on the internet and running outside never gets boring for me!

  3. i plan workout dates! instead of going to lunch or coffee with a friend, we sign up for a new workout class or go to a park to walk!

  4. These are all so true! I have to say, I mostly just run, but I really enjoy playing softball, riding a bike and swimming for fun! I think that we tend to think of workouts as work sometimes and that is not the case! Also, I think you should try stand up paddling; you will love it! It's a great way to be on the water, get exercise and see some cool stuff!

  5. My word of the year is FUN!
    No, not every second of every training workout will be fun, but the races I've registered for (including a destination half marathon, a relay with friends and a marathon--my BFF's FIRST!!) most certainly will be. I have company for almost every training run and I will enjoy those few alone runs because it's rare these days that I run alone. :)

  6. Great post! I think the joy of it all is so key. That said I'm totally violating that one by taking on swimming this year. That one's about conquering a fear. And I think I may be doing it.

  7. I love this. Great tips! I love to have fun... and if it isn't fun... it isn't worth doing. ;)

  8. Great tips! I can't wait until it gets warmer so I can play tennis with my mom again. Well, we don't play real tennis since we have never played lol mainly just hit the ball back and forth and make our own score system :)

  9. Yes! Making it fun keeps me coming back;)

  10. Super-great and fun tips! I find if I am doing a "punishing workout" I won't be coming back for more, but a "fun" workout--I'm there!!

  11. I think these are such great tips! It's so easy to fall into doing something only for fitness not for the love of it or because everyone else is doing it. We should all be happy with our fitness. There is so much you could do, everyone can find something they can enjoy.

  12. Such great tips! I think people can get so stuck on making sure they do a particular workout that they forget to have fun and enjoy themselves...and they'll probably stick with the program longer if they are enjoying themselves!

  13. I'm all about people doing activities that they love. If they don't enjoy what they're doing, then they'll be less likely to want to get off the couch and get active.

  14. Ahh yes goofing off and giggling can be the best. Also, changing locations and activities can bring the fun back into fitness!

  15. One of the reasons that I do so much running and so little else is that I love running. Love it. And so far I've found nothing else that makes me as happy...

  16. I do more of what I love! If you don't love it you're probably not going to stick with it for very long.

  17. Number 5 hits home for me. Thanks for your post!

  18. A good reminder for me to mix it up more. Thanks!

    reminding (myself of number 2)

  20. These are all great tips, ESPECIALLY #3! I've seen way too many people lose their love and passion for something because they got obsessed with competition!


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