What you should know if you don’t love fitness and what you can do about it

It’s okay if you don’t love fitness and working out. Really — it’s okay. And today, I’m going to tell you why. I’m also going to let you in on a little secret: You’re not alone. There are a number of popular reasons why people struggle to love exercise, and with some coaching and mental tricks, you just may be able to see the light.

And by the way, I can relate. Even though I’m one of those people who love to exercise, sweat and get moving these days, I haven’t always been this way. There was a time in my life when I didn’t go to the gym at all. And there was a time in my life when every time I tried to exercise, I hated it. But of course, over the years, things changed and now I’m actually someone who tries to motivate others to get active. It took work. 

That’s why, if you find yourself loathing the thought of exercise, struggling to fit it into your day or totally avoiding the thought of all things fitness, perhaps you just need to see past the roadblocks you’re putting up for yourself, and one day you may find yourself in an entirely different situation. Let’s see if any of this resonates … (and please, read this one all the way rather than skim and send it to a friend if you have one who needs it.)

What you should know if you don’t love fitness

What you should know if you don't love fitness and what you can do about it by A Lady Goes West

Ask yourself: Can you see past these roadblocks?

Here are a few mental roadblocks that may be standing in your way …

You think you are too out of shape to work out.

You may feel like you are too out of shape to enjoy working out and perhaps you even assume that you would like working out better if you were already in shape. Here’s why I disagree with this one: The moment you start making even slight fitness gains, whether that is going from jogging to running or being able to hold a plank off of your knees for 10 seconds longer, you will crave that improvement.

In fact, when you start a workout program, you are at the very best place possible to see the most amount of gains and improvement. Soak that up! Once you get super fit, it’s harder to make gains and better yourself. Rather than thinking, I’d like to work out only if I lost a little bit more weight first, know that taking that first step will get you to progress faster than waiting will. Everyone can move and work out no matter your fitness level or abilities. Nobody is too out of shape to try to exercise in some way. So just get going! It’s okay to exercise and not look amazingly fit. It’s still super beneficial for your body, even if you don’t get any visible results for a while. (But I bet you will!)

You haven’t found the right type of exercise for you.

Perhaps you don’t like working out because you just haven’t found the right kind of exercise for you yet. Or you’ve been forcing yourself to do what you think you should be doing. Perhaps you’ve even read on this blog that you should be lifting weights, but because you don’t really know how, every time you try, you hate it and give up. In order to find an exercise that you love, you have to try many different things and then see what sticks. And sometimes you have to try things more than once. Maybe you are perfect for yoga. Maybe Zumba is the workout for you. Or maybe you’re a candidate for triathlons and you don’t even know it yet. Try a lot of different things, including working out in a group, working out alone at home, working out outdoors or at little studios and see where you feel the most comfortable. Then keep at it.

While it’s best to vary your workouts and do a mixture of cardio and resistance training with some flexibility each week, if you would be totally inactive if you didn’t do the same dance class every day, then choose the same dance class every day. Hands down. And if all you want to do is power-walk, then get out there and swing your arms and walk with power. I used to love running alone on a treadmill as my exercise of choice. Today, I choose group fitness with a barbell all the way. People change. Our tastes change. And you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your exercise prince or princess. 

You’ve never had a regular routine, so you always feel like an awkward fish out of water.

If you only lace up your sneakers or go to the gym once every other week, then you are setting yourself up for feeling like an awkward beginner every single gym session. And there’s a strong chance that that factor alone is keeping your from wanting to go back. But if you come up with a regular routine, whether that’s walking four mornings before work or hitting the gym three times a week after work, the consistency will not only help your body to get results, but you’ll find the entire process less painful. You don’t have to jump into a tough Orangetheory class every single day to get started, you just have to move regularly.

Trust me. If you wait a long time between workouts, it will feel tougher on your body, you will lose your fitness gains, and you’ll downright feel like you shouldn’t be doing it. Our bodies do what we teach them to do, so teach your body to become a regular exerciser, and you may be surprised at how easy you adapt and start to enjoy it.

And now that we’ve established some of the reasons why you may not like exercising, which you can get past, let’s talk about what you can do about it.

Tricks to try: What you can do to get excited about working out

Here are some mental strategies you can employ to convince yourself that you’re looking forward to your workout …

Focus on the benefit of routine and the dedicated “you” time.

Adding a 30-minute activity to your day that is solely devoted to you and to your health and wellness is a beautiful thing. Maybe you don’t get pumped up for a workout, but I bet you can get pumped up for solo time and self-care. Think about that workout session as something that is JUST FOR YOU. It’s not for your boss. It’s not for your kids. It’s not for your friends. It’s all for you. It’s a benefit for you. It’s yours. Soak up the opportunity to focus on nothing but the good things that you are doing for your body and mind when you choose to work out. Protect that time, schedule it in your calendar and be consistent and know each and every time that it is a little gift you are giving to yourself and to your body. It may mean you have to wake up extra early for you time, but there are a lot of good things coming your way if you do.

Live for the reward of endorphins.

Do you know that feeling you will get at the end of a workout when your face is slightly flushed, your heart-rate is up and you’ve broken a sweat? You’ve exerted yourself, worked your body and you’re just about to welcome those super happy and positive endorphin feelings that come in when you finish. Endorphins are free happiness. They are better than coffee. Better than a treat. They are naturally delicious feel-good vibes that make everything seem better. Live for those. You’ll get them every time you put the effort in to work out.

Know that it will get easier if you stay committed.

Just like the mental roadblock in the beginning where if you don’t go to the gym regularly, you’re always feeling like a beginner, the key to success is just to commit. Put it in your calendar. Cancel social plans if you need to. Set your alarm an hour early before work. Just do it. Put one foot in front of the other to maintain a workout schedule at a minimum of three times a week and you will reap the benefits. You will! Trust me! 

Find a partner who feels the same way as you.

Remember that you’re not the only one out there struggling to love working out or struggling to find the time for it. Maybe you have a coworker or friend who is in the same boat? What if the two of you sign on to be accountability partners and plan to work out three times a week together at set times. Reward yourselves with a massage if you make it through the first month without missing a session. Cheer each other on. Stay positive. And know that everything worth doing will take some effort. You can do it!

In conclusion, a lot of people hate the gym and fitness, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. A lot of people want to be healthy, they want to feel vibrant, look good and have energy, but they don’t know how to learn to love exercise. Because you’ve read this post, it’s clear that you care. So just know that it will take time, and sometimes we are the ones standing in our own way of success. Give these mantras a try and get moving!

It's okay if you don't love #fitness. Trainer @apstyle tells you how to learn to get excited about your #workouts ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What’s something that holds you back from working out?

What’s a positive mantra that you can use to help yourself get excited about exercise?

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35 Comments

  1. Love this post, Ashley! So often, people come to me defeated, thinking that there is just no way that they will “love fitness like [me].” Well, I didn’t start there! But I know how much better my life is with it. Support is a huge thing–sometimes having a trainer to help push you through is invaluable!

    1. Hi Susie! It’s so helpful to have a nice trainer who can help people feel welcome in the gym! I love that you do that for people! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Jen! It’s hard NOT to force yourself when there are so many messages out there in the media about GO HARD and DO THIS and DO THAT. But that’s scary for some people, for sure. Thank you for reading!

  2. Thanks for this, so motivating! I am guilty of being stop start with the gym, and if I take a couple of weeks off the thought of going back and being back to square 1 sometimes puts me off even more and I end up having a month off the gym! Yet the minute I am in the class I am happy I am there – I am my own worst enemy!
    Luckily I have the dog to keep me active in some small way at least even when I am in an ‘off’ spell… Great tips, thanks again.

    1. Hi lady! Of course having a dog is an excellent way to stay active in between gym trips. And you’re not alone with the stopping and the starting, but here’s to a bit more regularity for your benefit heheh! Thank you for saying hi, friend! πŸ™‚

  3. Such a great post! I think a lot of people just feel so inadaquate heading to the gym out of shape that it deters them. I suggest home workouts as well, but a lot of people need the accountability of a gym and not being in their house, which is fine! It’s all about finding what works for you.

  4. So many great tips Ashley. I always want to high five people at the gym that feel out of place and give them some encouraging words because I remember how scary it can feel before it becomes part of your routine.

    1. Me too!!! I also want to tap people on the shoulder and help them with their form, but I never do that — no need to scare people away heheh. πŸ™‚

  5. Great post! I also think that even people who love to work out go through spurts of not wanting to. It’s always a great thing to come back to and remind yourself why do i do this.
    I do it for my overall health, my digestive health, and because it helps me sleep and feel better overall!

    1. Thanks, Megan! I think it’s so important for people to know that it’s okay to put one foot in front of the other and keep trying even if you aren’t loving exercise yet. It may all change one day! πŸ™‚

  6. As someone who is trying to come back from years off of regular exercise, I can 100% attest to how important it is to finding the right workout! Finding something that excites me, is challenging enough, but doesn’t make me feel like I’ll never be able to do that has been key. I have been dedicating my 2 year old’s naptime to my exercise time and it’s making a big difference! It’s my time for me and gives me enough energy to get through the rest of the day and keep my sanity once the 3 oldest kids come home from school πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Jen! That is SO smart to use the nap-time as your workout consistently. Your body and mind thanks you for that. What kind of workout do you do?

  7. Thanks for the this. I needed a little boost to start getting myself out of bed early so I can get a fast workout in and I think this will do the trick. I just need to make it a better habit to get working out!

  8. I’ve found that you need to find the exercise that really suits you; some people LOVE the gym. Some people don’t, but they love getting outside for a walk or making up a home gym. I love the variety out there in the fitness world; it reminds me of God’s love for variety.

    1. Hi Emily! It’s great that there is so much variety so everyone can find something for them. You got it! What’s your favorite way to work out?

  9. This is SO TRUE!! The fact that I stay committed for the reward of the endorphins, and that I see my training time as my time for myself is what really makes me so committed to running. In fact, I don’t think I can live without it anymore.

    Great post!

  10. These are awesome tips, girl! I always try to tell people that it will get easier, if they can stay consistent! Plus, I’m all about finding a workout routine you like and that makes you excited to workout.

  11. Hello Ashley, These are some great tips Ashley. I find too often people are forcing themselves into a health routine that they extreme dislike and your tips help me in exercises at home. And home workouts are the best always. Thanks!

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