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Six Reasons You May Dread Working Out, and What To Do About It
by Kathy Smith
Perhaps you’ve heard someone say something like, "I love exercise! It’s my passion, the highlight of my day, and I look forward to it!" Perhaps you’ve found that person to be incredibly annoying. Perhaps you’ve even found yourself thinking, "Am I missing something here? Because I do NOT love exercise."
Workout dread is totally understandable. We know it’s good for us, but sometimes that knowledge just isn’t enough to get motivated. But don’t worry; you’re not alone. Here are some of the most common reasons for avoiding exercise, along with some tips on changing it up.
1. You're going it alone.
You’ve heard me say it before, and it’s worth repeating: Use the buddy system! The world can be a lonely place – but if you’ve got a friend, spouse or family member to help you stay motivated and accountable, you might just change your whole outlook on exercise. The trick is to find different groups for different activities: Some friends have a stronger sense of adventure, and can’t wait to get outside for a hike or bike ride. Others prefer a little one-on-one time, and would make a great companion for a long walk-and-talk. And don’t be afraid to walk on the wild side: Find your most daring pal and jump into that Zumba class you’ve been longing to try. You’ll get your hearts pumping, you’ll keep each other on track, and you might just have some fun along the way.
2. You've been hurt.
If you've suffered from an exercise-related injury in the past, it’s no wonder you might be avoiding the gym like the plague. Perhaps you’ve got bad knees or “tennis elbow.” It goes without saying that safety comes first…but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If, for example, running is out of the question for you, there are still plenty of upper body and core exercises you can do. And if you’ve got a specific injury that concerns you, a personal trainer might be a worthwhile investment: Anyone with a proper certification will be able to guide you through a workout without aggravating an injury – and they can even help you get stronger so that you can avoid further injuries in the future.
3. It's boring.
Sure, exercising can be monotonous. And monotony is boring. And if something bores us, that’s reason enough to stop doing it. But if you think about it, anytime we do something the exact same way all the time, no matter what it is – even sex! – it’s going to get boring. The key is to mix things up. If you’re only doing cardio, for example, it’s high time you started adding in some resistance training. And if you’ve shied away from certain activities, whether yoga, Pilates or using an elliptical, force yourself to try something new. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference: If you listen to music during your workouts, try a whole new playlist. You might even try downloading an audiobook or free podcast to your iPod so that you can set your imagination free while you’re working out. Variety is the spice of life – so if the exercise part of life has gotten boring, it’s time to spice that up, too. (And here’s one great way to do it: Pop in my Cardio Knockout Workout DVD, try some new moves in the comfort of your own home, and kick off any trace of boredom!)
Cranking up the intensity of your workouts can often help you break through a fitness slump. That’s where interval training comes in. Intervals are short bursts of high intensity activity followed by a period of moderate recovery.
4. You're not seeing results.
This is a common pitfall: You’ve finally gotten motivated and gotten moving, and yet none of the magical body transformations you’ve been promised have come to light. Or maybe you’ve been exercising regularly for a couple of months, you’ve seen some good results, and suddenly they’ve come to a screeching halt. In both scenarios, it may be that all you need is a little extra push. Cranking up the intensity of your workouts can often help you break through a fitness slump. That’s where interval training comes in. Intervals are short bursts of high intensity activity followed by a period of moderate recovery. Need an easy and effective introduction to interval training? Try my Super Slimdown Circuit DVD: You’ll get three complete workouts for the price of one, all of them designed to boost metabolism, sculpt the entire body, and help you ramp up your results.
5. You don’t feel confident about your body.
Maybe you are out of your exercise routine, or something at work or with your family is causing stress and low confidence. There are a million reasons to be in a self-esteem rut, and it happens to the best of us. Whatever the reason, when you are at that point, it can be hard to go to a class to feel your thighs and problem areas jiggle for an hour, with mirrors everywhere. This is when experimenting with classes is key. I like to sprinkle in spinning to my routine. No excessive bouncing, great music to help draw my focus away from body issues, and rooms with either no mirrors, or low-lighting, or both! And for a quick pick-me-up, swap out the unforgiving spandex outfit for a softer cotton blend. I love the brand Green Apple. The silhouette is flattering, and the fabric feels comforting to the touch.
6. You don’t have time for the cleanup.
When it comes to excuses for avoiding exercise, “I don’t have time” is the platinum gold standard. But sometimes it’s not the workout itself that wreaks havoc on our schedules; it’s the cleanup afterward. We can’t exactly run to the gym before work or squeeze in a workout during lunch if it means we’ll show up drenched in sweat afterward.
But with a little extra planning, you can get some exercise and get back to your day in one piece – no fuss, no muss. Generally gyms provide showers, of course, but these days they also offer some pretty nice toiletries. So if you just throw a change of clothes and some shower shoes into your bag, it’s relatively easy to come out looking nicely put together – it may just mean shortening your primping routine a bit.
There are also quite a few “showerless” options on the marketplace. Check the aisles of your local pharmacy or even camping/outdoor sporting goods store. My daughter likes ShowerPill. It’s a large body wipe, “individually packaged to be discrete, yet versatile and big on performance.” Throw one in your bag, and you can always freshen up quickly in a pinch.
Remember, doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. So stop the craziness, start switching things up, and watch the dread – AND the pounds – start to melt away. And who knows? You might even turn into one of those “I love to exercise” people before you know it!
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About the Author
Kathy Smith has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for more than thirty years. As President of Kathy Smith Lifestyles, she has sold over $500 million in lifestyle products and fitness equipment. In addition to being a best-selling author with Feed Muscle Shrink Fat Diet and Moving Through Menopause, she has also recently launched Ageless with Kathy Smith, a new age-fighting DVD workout line with award-winning producer Acacia; has teamed with Pivotal 5, the industry trendsetter in hand held fitness, to successfully launch two lines of products; and with Rejuvenation Prevention + Rehabilitation™ to create a line of seven products targeting the "Actively Ageless". In 2010, Smith helped develop the Kathy Smith Healthy Living brand exclusively for Ross Dress for Less® stores.
A sought-after motivational and educational speaker, Kathy is the spokesperson for the International Council on Active Aging, serves on the Board of the University of Southern California's School of Gerontology and is a member of the Founders Circle of the Woman's Sports Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Billie Jean King. She has contributed her expertise on health and wellness to countless media outlets, including the LA Times, USA Today, The Today Show, Oprah, The View, and Larry King Live.
Kathy is a graduate of the University of Hawaii and was recently recognized by the School of Business with their "Alumni Hall of Honor" award. In 2011, the LA County Commission for Women named her "Woman of the Year" for her work educating communities. Kathy is a recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement" award from IDEA (the world's largest organization of fitness professionals), and a member of the Video Hall of Fame. Visit Kathy at www.kathysmith.com.