As much as I would love to tell you that I enjoyed every minute of my weight loss and fitness journey, that’s would be a lie!
I say that becasue honesty is vital, but I do count those 33 weeks where I lost 45kg as amongst the best of my life. There were still some things that I chose to do in the name of health and fitness that, no matter how hard I tried and what psychological tricks I played, I just could not enjoy.
Finding my motivation
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For me, finding fitness motivation and learning to love exercise after hating it for so long was one of those less-enjoyable experiences. However, the results – loving exercise and making fitness a core aspect of my life – were certainly worth the pain and torture.
Plus, by taking the right steps and approaching exercise and fitness motivation in a different way, I was able to transform my experience.
I started small, took time to learn more about myself, and experimented. This allowed me to not only seamlessly add exercise into my life then, but it has continued to this day and now I love to workout. And you can too!
But I was an exercise hater – for 29 years!
For the first 29 years of my life, I hated to exercise. I actually cooked up elaborate ways to avoid PE in school and made it my mission as an adult to exert myself as little as humanly possible. I even avoided walking. I remember once getting in the car to drive to a letterbox that was a mere 150m away.
Exercise was boring. Exercise was hard. Exercise was not for me.
When I started my journey to lose weight and get a life, I knew that regular exercise needed to be a part of it, however intolerable. My life-long fear of exertion weighed on me though (quite literally) so I started small.
The first few times I “exercised” all I did was take 10 minute walks around my neighbourhood. That’s it.
In fact studies in exercise adherence have continually shown that the more barriers there are between you and working out (i.e. getting in the car to drive to a gym, conforming to class times, etc.) the less likely you are to stick with it, particularly in the beginning. Instead, the key is increasing your activity with as little effort and inconvenience as possible.
So take a walk, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. It’s a start, and it’s better than nothing.
How to get F.I.T.T.
Unfortunately, if you want fitness progress, walking is not enough. You simply cannot do the same thing, day in and day out, and expect to continue to see results.
You need to get F.I.T.
This acronym, which stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, refers to the changes that you need to make in any exercise routine in order to progress.
However, I like to extend this acronym to F.I.T.T. where the last “T” stands for Type because varying the type of exercise you do is not only critical in seeing fitness progress (because it challenges your body in new ways) but it is often the missing element for those who “hate” to exercise.
For me, it was only after I discovered boxing that the idea of loving exercise began to make any sense at all. Before I started boxing, I was exercising out of duty, obligation to my weight loss journey. Most of what I did was “conventional” such as walking and basic resistance exercises.
Boxing changed the way I saw exercise
Not only did it relieve stress, it was the perfect exercise for burning a lot of calories in a little bit of time and allowed me to get a full-body workout. But that’s not why it’s my favourite way to exercise.
Instead, boxing is the one exercise I’ve found where pushing myself to do more and preform harder is easy.
However, it if you want to lose weight and keep it off – not only do you need to like the exercise you are doing, you need to be able to push yourself to your limits when doing it. That is how you stay motivated to keep going and that is how you see progress.
Finding your exercise type
Your perfect exercise type is not likely to be the same as mine, but the only way to find it is through experimentation and an open mind.
Start with the mainstream options
Check out a Pilates or yoga class, go ice skating or bike riding, or consider taking an adult dance class. If that doesn’t work, go for something a bit left of centre. Check out hot yoga, archery and fencing. If those still don’t do it, go even further left, look into options such as aqua core, circus classes, beach channel digging or martial arts.
Releasing feel-good hormones
I like to tell my clients that exercise is a lot like sex and that’s not just because it releases many of the same feel-good hormones (called endorphins) when done correctly.
Like sex, if exercise doesn’t feel good, you are doing it wrong. So you simply need keep experimenting until you get it right. There are as many ways to exercise as there are positions in the Kama Sutra – maybe more! So don’t give up when one or a dozen doesn’t work.
You’ll never know if you never try
Personally, without experimentation and trying different types of exercise, I doubt I would have had the success I did in my weight loss, nor would I continue to exercise (and love it!) now, over 13 years later.
So start small, get F.I.T.T. and find your type. It will take time and effort, but the results will be more than worth it in the end when you too, transform from an exercise loather into an exercise lover!
Connect with Expert Sally Symonds.