6 reasons why you’re dreading your workout – and how to change that!

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I know that feeling too well. That feeling of dread because you know you need to do a workout but every part of you doesn’t want to. Of course there are those annoying people who are so full of energy and always talk about how much they LOVE a good workout. Well friends, those people got a couple of things right and below I will be discussing why you may not be. 

1. You don’t enjoy your workouts

Perhaps you go to the gym, expecting to hate it because it’s hard work. Perhaps you think if you’re not in pain, almost fainting and drenched in sweat that you did it wrong. So some people workout that way and enjoy it, and you might even have some of those in your exercise future. But let me tell you, working out can be FUN! You are allowed to have fun while burning those not-so-fun calories. Ok so you’re not going to enjoy all of your workouts, there are still days I have to drag my ass out of bed and I certainly don’t always skip and sing to the gym. BUT on those days, I make sure I keep things interesting. The other day I just felt like dancing. So I put on some upbeat music and danced for 30 minutes! Again, you’re allowed to find fun ways to keep fit and active. 

Here are some other ways you can keep exercise fun:

  • Use a skipping rope between sets
  • Do quick sprints on the treadmill
  • Go to the gym with a friend
  • Go for a walk/run with a friend
  • Prepare a playlist that will pump you up
  • Make it short but intense
  • Track your progress and compete against yourself
  • Check out pop sugars crafty ideas that use random stuff like playing cards, popsicle sticks etc. 

2. You are expecting quick results 

Here’s the thing. In terms of fitness (that includes fat loss, muscle building, getting lean etc.), slow and steady progress is often the best progress. Don’t expect to get results in the first week. You might see small changes each week, but it’s what happens over a consistent period of time that counts. Commit to a program for 2-3 months because that’s when you’ll see progress. If you have hit a plateaux and have genuinely not seen any changes after a few months then that means you need to change up your workout regime. Perhaps you’re doing too much or too little cardio. Perhaps you need to increase your weights or even give yourself more time to recover. Listen to your body and give it time! 

3. You are focusing on appearance instead of performance

Most of us workout or join a gym with the intention to stay in shape, or to lose weight or build muscle. All of these reasons are focused on aesthetics. This puts quite a substantial amount of pressure on a person. The problem comes in as a result of being impatient. We want to look good, and we want to look good NOW! And then we feel disappointed and despondent when changes don’t start happening right away or even after a few weeks. This perspective can leave you dreading the gym or create a negative relationship with exercise.

Let’s shift that focus to performance. Instead of constantly obsessing with the way your body looks, start measuring how your body performs. For example, you are doing a high intensity workout consisting of 5 x 200m sprints, 10 burpees, 10 jump squats and 10 leg ups. Perhaps that takes you 10 minutes to do the first time. Well, if you’re focusing on performance, your goal will be to do that in less than 10 minutes the next time. The same goes for weight training. Let’s say you start with 5kg dumbbells doing 12 bicep curls the first time. Work towards being able to increase your weights/reps for future workouts. If running is your thing – try increasing your distance or speed or improving your form. There’s also yoga or pilates (or any class for that matter), fix your attention on what your body is able to do each time. Focus on your performance and the changes in your body will happen as a byproduct. This will allow you to feel better about your progress and proud of what your body is capable of doing.  

4. You are worried about what others are thinking about you

At university I used to go into the gym and worry obsessively that everyone was looking at me and judging me. How self-centred. No one really cares. When I started focusing on my personal progress and doing intentional exercises for my goals, I stopped worrying about whether other people were taking note or not. Most of the time, people are either consumed by their own program or are even more self-conscious than you are. But I get it, the gym can be an intimidating place. Especially the weight section for women. We see men with unnecessarily big muscles lifting giant weights and think we will look stupid doing 2kg bicep curls. Firstly, these guys are definitely only worrying about their muscles. Secondly, you have goals and you have to start somewhere. And I can almost guarantee that no one will be judging you unless you start juggling weights in the air (no that’s not what they’re meant for). If you feel you might be doing something wrong, that’s what the trainers are hired for – ask them for help!

5. Your nutrition is not right

What we put into our bodies as fuel, determines how much energy we are going to have. It also determines how your body will feel during a workout as well as after. In order to get the most out of your workout and then recover effectively, it’s important to be nourishing your body with good stuff. If you are eating lots of foods that cause unstable blood sugar levels in your body (sugar and other high GI carbs), you are not going to have sustainable energy and will therefore not feel like working out. 

6. You don’t know where to even start

Having a clear workout plan is always helpful. There’s no use going to the gym (especially as a beginner) without knowing what you should be doing. You will likely end up rotating between all the cardio machines. While cardio is good, and I have nothing against the exercise bike or elliptical, you can get SO much more out of the gym. Here’s how:

  • Do your research and find a plan that works for you and what you want to achieve.
  • Check out videos on youtube that explain how to do the exercises or ask a trainer at the gym to go through it with you.
  • Make sure to review your workout for the day prior to going to the gym.
  • Gather all the equipment you need for that day’s workout.
  • Put on some great music and just get started!
  • Track your progress on your phone or notebook.

Here are some links to workout plans to get you started: 

Women’s Health Mag (body type training for women) 

Daily Burn HIIT for beginners (for men and women)

Darebee.com 

What if you really looked forward to your workouts, enjoyed the actual workout and then ALSO felt good afterwards?! Well it’s time to make some changes because that’s how it should be. Go for it friends – I believe in you!

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