How to Find Workouts You Like (and Will Stick To)

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How to Find Workouts You Like (and Will Stick To)

We’re two weeks into the new year, and I’m betting that right about now the initial rush of enthusiasm to get to the gym every morning might be wearing off and you’re probably wondering, “how can I make myself do this!?”

What if I told you that  you couldn’t “make yourself do it” (at least for long enough to get results), but that you could actually enjoy it?

A few years ago, I got really into Olympic-style Weightlifting. I joined a team and got a coach, the great Diane Fu of FuBarbell. I loved the movement, the people I trained with, and the promise of competition. So I asked Diane, “how many days a week should I do this?”

She responded, “as many as is fun.”

You see, Diane Fu has seen a lot of people like me. The Olympic lifts are really easy to fall in love with and she’s been coaching them for a long time. She knows what psychologists have known for decades: willpower is limited and intrinsic motivation (aka “fun”) is an easy thing to crush under the expectation of future reward.

So my challenge to you is to have the courage to seek out and have a little fun at the gym. Here’s how:

  • Find out what your friends are doing and join them. There is nothing more fun that suffering with friends, right? Training with people you know isn’t just fun, it has the added benefit of creating a support system outside of the gym walls. You can not only keep each other accountable, but you can bring all the fun of your relationship into the class dynamic as well.
  • Hire a personal trainer… for your friends. Get 3-4 of your friends together and hire a personal trainer to coach you at your house! A lot of people think about personal trainers as a one-on-one thing, but just about every trainer in the world prefers to work with small groups. They make more (even though you will each pay less), there’s more retention because of group support, and they are more fun because there’s more lively conversation and you get to know people more. You will have more fun and also end up paying a LOT less for personal training!
  • Start a workout club. Every morning, people arrive at my house at 9AM ready to pick up heavy things. It’s completely free and every day we do different things because someone says, “hey! let’s try this thing I read about on the internet!” It sure is a fun way to start the day!
  • Try a bunch of classes. A lot of gyms have drop in rates, so shop around and try out as many as you can. Fitmob has a whole online business dedicated to making this possible as well. For a flat fee, you can shop around and take classes at dozens of local, participating gyms.
  • Ditch the gym all together. Join a volleyball team. Join a club swimming team. Join a rugby team (I did and I had never even seen rugby before). Don’t be afraid to be bad (that’s what “club” means!) and don’t be afraid about commitment. With a club team, the point is to play, not to complete.

Most importantly, if you’re dreading what you’ve told yourself you’re going to do tomorrow, start looking for a different way to workout. All you need to do is move, sweat a little, and put a smile on your face.

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  • kimi

    I wish I. Could use these ideas. I have no one within 50 miles of me that wants to work on getting healthier. Plus there are no gyms within 50 miles. I only have the outdoors and my phone.

    • dee

      Sometimes having a workout buddy hinders you especially if your buddy flakes on you often and you’re depending on them for motivation. The thing that works for me is getting my cardio out of the way first thing in the morning by getting on my recumbent bike. It energizes me and motivates me to stay on track. Also, if don’t get to go to the gym later, it’s not a complete loss.