For many people, their daily workout is nothing more than a chore. It is not pleasant, or fun, or interesting in any way. It’s just something they have to do to shed the pounds, and they can’t wait until they have lost the weight so that they can go back to their preferred hobbies and forget all about working out.
But, as most of us already know, you can’t just diet and work out to lose weight and then go back to doing what you did before. If you do that, the weight will pile back on. So if a workout is part of your weight loss routine, then it will need to be part of your maintenance routine. Which means you need to learn to enjoy it.
The first step to enjoying your weight loss workout is to find out what really motivates you. “Weight loss” is a great motivator for our conscious brain, but our unconscious brain is much simpler than that. Some people are motivated to work out just by the endorphins that it releases, but if that were you, you probably would not be reading this. However, there are many other things which appeal to our primitive brains where workouts are concerned.
If you love working out in groups, doing dance, martial arts, etc., then the thing that motivates you is being a social person and connecting deeply with others. If all you can think about when working out is your food afterwards, then you are a material person motivated by good food. And if after your workout you are eager to record the times for your exercise, check the calories, and weigh yourself, then you are motivated by tangible results.
Next, you need to make sure that you are choosing a workout you will enjoy in and of itself. It doesn’t matter if you’re socializing, having a great meal afterwards, or keeping score, if the activity you have chosen is boring, frustrating, or awkward for you. Consider all your options and make sure your workout engages you. Some people find they prefer cardio, others prefer working out to music, others need time in nature. Find out what the essential components are to your ideal workout.
Finally, make the workout easy for yourself. We all have ways of making time fly. If you are a very social person you may find time passes faster when you are in a class, a group, or working out with a friend. If you are very solitary, you may feel awkward at a public gym and enjoy your workouts more at home. If you like being caught up in your own head a lot, then listening to music through your earbuds is a great way of making time pass fast. Usually this is the easiest part of learning to enjoy your weight loss workouts, because it will involve something you already love, which you may already be doing during workouts.
Once you know what motivates you, you need to set up incentives to make sure that you always have a reason to go for your workout. You can’t just count on your friend always showing up for workouts, for example. Because if one day they aren’t there you may not feel confident or excited enough to go.
Many of us will find we have a few things we can use to motivate ourselves to do our workouts. This way we know that we will always have something that makes our workout worthwhile, even if one of our sources of motivation goes away briefly. However, if you only have one thing that inspires you to work out, you will need to create a secondary motivation source. Take something you truly love and use it to reward yourself after workouts. Maybe it’s a massage, or a nice drink, or an hour painting. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that will make you push yourself hard in the gym, even if there is nothing else motivating you.