This post has been created in partnership with Fit4Less, aimed to to give every Canadian the opportunity to live a fit and healthy good life!
How often have you heard others say that they have a love/hate relationship with exercise? Or maybe you know some who would just say it’s hate/hate? …or maybe that’s you?
I definitely used to have a love/hate relationship with exercise. It took a whole lot of self-talk and convincing to muster up the motivation to get my body moving as I didn’t like getting all red and sweaty, and I really didn’t have the energy most of the time (my former nightlife lifestyle was definitely no help!). Usually by the middle of my workout I’d start to feel those endorphins pumping and at the very end, I’d have that lovey-dovey feeling.
Even when I got more into exercise in my mid 20’s and was working-out quite often, I still seemed to have that love/hate relationship and I wondered if I’d ever be able to truly love exercise, anticipating my next work out and enjoying it right from beginning to end.
Well, it’s finally happened. I believe I’ve reached the point where I can say that I do TRULY LOVE exercise. I can’t say I’m exercising as much as I’d like to be right now because of little miss Hemsley (my 1-year-old munchkin) taking up much of my attention, but I know for sure that my relationship with exercise has changed to a love/love! I’m going to share the 5 things that have helped me along this journey in hopes that if you currently find yourself in the middle of that love/hate or hate/hate relationship, you too can find true love!
1. Ditch Rules & Restrictions
This has probably been the biggest catalyst for change in my relationship with exercise. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have dealt with perfectionism and can be rigid when it comes to routine and structure. Nothing changes that more than having a baby (mamas am I right?!) so the past year with Hemsley has really helped me let go of my A-type tendencies.
When it comes to exercise, letting go of rules and restrictions (must exercise specific days at specific times, must exercise for x amount of time, must follow structured routine, can’t skip a workout, etc.) helped take the stress out of the expectations that I felt came along with exercise and left room for me to truly enjoy it.
The same goes for diet— the more rules, restrictions, and red tape I had in the past, the less freedom I felt around food and a natural desire to nourish my body well. With strict rules and restrictions it felt like I was constantly playing tug-of-war with myself. Instead, I now enjoy exercise with flexibility and grace. If I can’t get a workout in I don’t sweat it (no pun intended) as I know that another opportunity will arise and I actually look forward to it!
2. Find Community
Most things are better with company, right?! Of course we all need our alone time, but if you are struggling to love exercise, it might be because you need some community in your workout life! I used to exercise by myself all. the. time. Headphones in, no talky-talky, just worky-worky. It got pretty lonely and made workouts seem a lot longer. I definitely had days (and still do now) where I need to just put in my headphones, get in the zone, and disconnect from everyone, but more often than not I’ve found that joining others in group workout classes, going for runs outside with my hubby, or friends, or simply teaming up with a pal to hit the gym helps me truly love my workouts more.
Recently at the gym a friend and I were able to motivate and push each other that much harder when we knew that on our own we would have thrown in the towel much sooner. Community brings laughter, accountability, friendships, and motivation to your exercise, constantly nurturing that love/love relationship.
3. Try New Things
Again, in my past exercise relationship I was very structured and only ever did a couple different types of workouts. I would forgo trying other types of exercise simply because I didn’t want to embarrass myself, didn’t feel confident, thought it was too expensive, or felt too stuck in my routine (which is why I’m happy I dealt with #1!).
Once I opened myself up to all kinds of exercise (running, strollercize, barre, TRX, strength training, swimming, yoga, HIIT, circuit training, etc.), I uncovered so many that I really enjoyed, which in turn gave me continued motivation and excited anticipation for my workouts. It’s always a bit awkward trying something new for the first time, especially with exercise. Yes, you might fumble around, miss the moves, or feel a bit daunted, but I’ve always found that within a few tries you’ll find your groove, plus the experts (trainers/intructors) are always more than willing to help.
If budget is an issue, there are so many different workouts to try that are affordable or free! Running or biking outdoors, home workout videos, or budget-minded gyms including Fit4Less are all great options. At Fit4Less you can enjoy high quality facilities at an incredibly low cost (basic memberships start at $4.99 every 2 weeks + a one-time $44 joining fee, and family memberships start at just $10.99 every 2 weeks!! Find out more about affordable Fit4Less memberships here!) so there’s really no big hit to your monthly budget!
4. Be Realistic
Nothing that will dampen your relationship with exercise faster than the feeling of failure. I remember when I was 20 years old I decided I was going to get my act together and start working out every day. I planned to start a certain exercise program that required me to workout well over one hour each day, every single day for three months straight (…then like magic I’d have a six-pack, or so they said!).
Well, as I’m sure you can guess, that ended about five days in with me on the couch feeling sore, achy, exhausted and completely defeated wallowing in the land of self-pity and failure. The problem was that I wasn’t being realistic and this did nothing but make me feel unimpressed with the idea of working out.
It’s so important to start at the fitness level you are currently at and work slowly and realistically to build and grow your strength, stamina, and abilities. If you want to try something new that might seem out of your league remember that there are always ways to adapt exercises and adjust intensity in the beginning stages. Don’t be a 20-year-old me!
5. Track Your Benefits
If nothing dampens your relationship with exercise faster than the feeling of failure, there’s nothing that boosts that relationship faster than the feeling of success! This is why it’s so important to track all of your exercise benefits when trying to bring your relationship from hate/hate or love/hate to that glorious love/love.
Once you truly know and understand the abundance of ways that regular exercise benefits your health and life it’s difficult not to seriously love it through and through. Open up a blank note on your phone or get a simple flip calendar and every time you exercise, write down all of the positive benefits you experienced during your workout and after; bad mood went away, slept better that night, body felt more relaxed, made better eating choices, noticed strength increased, felt more muscle tone, felt more confident, etc. The steady reminder of benefits is sure to keep you swooning over your workouts!
At the end of the day there’s practically zero downside to regular exercise so long as you are working out mindfully and not doing anything that could cause injury. I hope by trying out these five ways I’ve boosted my exercise relationship to love/love you’ll too find that sweet spot!
Happy sweating my friends!
Christal // NITK
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fit4Less. The opinions and text are all mine.