Five Ways to Make Workouts More Fun
About the author: Jessica Thiefels is a full-time blogger who has been writing for more than 10 years. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness in San Diego. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.
“Ugh, I have to go to the gym after work.”
“I really don’t want to go on a run today.”
“I should take a day off, but I’ll go anyway.”
If you work out regularly, you’ve likely said at least one of these in the last month. There are many reasons we feel this way, and one of the most popular is that working out just isn’t fun for many people. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
We tend to do the same thing every time we go to the gym, while listening to the same music, and maybe even continually pushing through pain that’s cause for attention. By simply listening to your body and yourself, you can make working out more fun. Use these tips to ensure every workout is one that you love.
1. Track Your Workout
If you’re driven by competition, even with yourself, tracking your workout is a great way to make it more fun. The best way to do that is with a fitness tracker, which can provide stats on heart rate, calories burned, fat burned and more.
Once you have a benchmark for your stats, like your average BPM (beats per minute) during intense exercise or average calories burned, for example, you can set training goals for each workout. As a competitive person, you’ll love pushing yourself harder to see if you can beat last week’s numbers or your overall average.
If you don’t have a fitness tracker yet, you’re in luck. There are a number of brands to choose from that vary in price and features; a recent pricing analysis found trackers available for as low as $45 so you can have fun without going over budget.
2. Find a Workout Buddy
If you’re a social person, having someone to workout with may be just what you need to make training fun again. Hit the treadmills or ellipticals together, or even try a few two-person exercises like a medicine ball pass, alternating plank high-fives, a crunching medicine ball pass and a wheelbarrow. Not only are these exercises likely new to you, but you’ll also love learning them together and laughing as you make mistakes and figure them out.
3. Get Rid of Aches and Pains
Knee pain, join stiffness and shin splints make working out much less fun—especially if you’re struggling with it while training. In this case, the best way to make your workouts more fun is to get rid of those aches and pains.
While the issues won’t go away over night, working toward a solution is your first step. Here are a few methods to determine what the pain is and how to get rid of it:
Gait analysis: Your shoes may be the source of your pain. “The running shoe serves as a structural and functional extension of the foot. Chosen correctly, it can improve your running. Chosen improperly, it can amplify biomechanical and functional flaws thereby increasing your risk of injury,” according to running experts at Fit2Run, a company that provides in-person and online gait analyses. A gait analysis analyzes your movement, footfall and more, allowing you to find the best shoes for your body.
Primary care referral: If you’re feeling joint pain before, during or after your workout, especially if it increases while working out, get a referral from your primary care doc to see a specialist. The type of pain will dictate the person you need to see, which your doctor can help you with.
Cramping or stomach pain: If you have subtle stomach pain or bad cramping while working out or running, get in touch with a fitness nutrition specialist or personal trainer. The problem could spring from eating too close to working out. A fitness professional can help you choose the right foods and figure out the best timing for your body.
4. Choose New Music (Or Other Audio)
Music is a necessary accessory for making your workout fun. Not only is it a good distraction, but a 2010 cycling study also found that we work harder when listening to music. We get excited to listen to music we like, and if it has a good beat, it actually induces movement in the listener.
However, if you listen to the same music time and time again, you’ll quickly grow bored, and suddenly you’re trudging through your workout, counting down the minutes until it’s done.
Make your workout more fun by refreshing the tunes you’re listening to. Use Spotify to put on a playlist you’ve never heard before or start a new station on Pandora. Better yet, swap your music for a book on tape. For long-distance runners, this is the ultimate distraction.
5. Take Classes
Group fitness is one of the best ways to make your workout more fun. The natural camaraderie that comes from sweating in a single room with others is why many gym-goers agree it’s the only type of workout they enjoy.
The best part is that there are so many types of classes you can take, you’ll never get bored. Most gyms offer weight lifting, HIIT, cardio, and boxing to name a few.
If you have a busy schedule, don’t fret; most gyms and boutiques offer classes morning, afternoon and evening, catering to the 9 to 5 workers who need early morning and late evening options.
Making your workout fun is as easy as listening to yourself and doing what your body is craving that day. Don’t forget to allow yourself flexibility, try out some new music, or even find a gym buddy to take back your workouts and make them yours again.