There are some days I really dread going to the gym. The thought of exercising makes me about as excited as I'd be for a dentist appointment. And I know that certain days, the same is true for most of my friends. It makes sense—if you're doing it right, exercise is hard work. My legs burn while doing squats in Body Pump, my tight hamstrings make me grimace while holding pigeon pose in yoga class, and I huff and puff to catch my breath while running intervals on the treadmill. Exercise isn't easy, but it isn't supposed to be torture!
Since I started my Lose the Dough challenge, regular exercise is a priority. When it's sleeting out, my legs feel tight, or I'm just being plain lazy, going to the gym may not feel instinctual, but I've learned the trick to getting myself there. For me, it was all about changing my perspective. If I look at exercise as something I have to do, it seems like a chore. But if I view it as me time, it's so much more enjoyable. So I make sure to pair my workout with some indulgent entertainment—the things I won't let myself make time for at home because there's work, laundry, dog walking, and other chores to be done. Here are my three favorite ways to tempt myself to lace up my sneakers.
1. A rocking playlist. Music is my go-to resource for instant motivation. I love making mixes on my iPod of classic rock, which gets me moving even on the laziest days. I can't listen to AC/DC or the Who without picking up my pace or squeezing out a few more reps while strength training. I'm also a big fan of MotionTraxx's free downloads, specifically designed to boost your energy and set the pace of your workout. Many of them incorporate intervals, which really pushes me to increase my calorie burn.
2. Trashy magazines. I have about 10 magazine subscriptions and, not surprisingly, it's hard to keep up with them! I love fitness, cooking, and home decor mags, but I have a real soft spot for tabloids. Luckily my mild obsession with Brangelina has paid off—I can stick it out for longer on the elliptical as long as I have fresh reading material in front of me. In fact, I often tack 10 extra minutes onto a workout just so I can finish the last few pages of a magazine.
3. TV time. I'm lucky to belong to a gym that has small TVs on each of the treadmills, so I try to visit during my favorite shows since 30 or 60 minutes is the perfect time for a cardio session. And as an extra challenge, I make myself pick up the pace during commercials. I find them to be less boring if I'm huffing and puffing through a serious interval.
What's your favorite way to make workouts feel more like me time than must-do?