So many people exercise because they feel that they have to in order to look a certain way and they end up sucked into boring routines, endless cardio, forcing themselves to exercise even though they are tired or not in the mood. This post is about rejecting all of that and exercising purely for enjoyment..
One of the key things, at least for me, was to stop equating exercise to calories. If you work out in the gym and the machines you use measure calories burned there is sometimes a way to turn that feature off which is the easiest way to do it. Otherwise trying to ignore it is the other option. I recently changed gyms and the only cardio machine where you can completely turn the calories display off is the rowing machine so it is taking a bit of getting used to.
Finding activities that you genuinely like is the other crucial thing. I know a lot of people who love to run and are never happier than when out frolicking through parks or whatever it is they get up to out there. For others they couldn’t imagine anything worse than the tedium of running for miles. It’s all just personal preference. The best thing is exercise is literally any activity where you are moving your body and getting your heart pumping or stretching your muscles. It doesn’t have to be a structured, daunting task.
We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to our work outs for example thinking “I’m going to the gym and will run for x number of miles and deadlift x amount of weight”. I still struggle with setting these kind of tasks for myself when really I should go and enjoy what I’m doing and listen to my body. If you set these targets too high then it can lead to low self esteem and mood after your workout as well as detracting from your enjoyment while you’re there as you are constantly stressing about reaching this target. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t set goals for yourself but like with everything in life they should be realistic and gradual. This post is focussed on purely enjoying what you’re doing, not training for a specific event.
Fuelling our bodies properly before exercise is crucial for enjoyment of the work out as well. When I used to go to the gym after work this was something I often struggled with, if I left it too late to eat before going I’d be bloated and lethargic but if I didn’t eat before going I’d be too hungry to do anything having not eaten anything substantial since lunchtime. It’s a difficult balancing act but feeling satisfied and hydrated will definitely help you have the most fun during exercise.
If you do feel that you’re pushing yourself really hard in a gym session that was meant to be for relaxation or fun it’s worth asking yourself why. Certainly with me when I go into a gym environment it’s very easy for my mindset to shift back to where it was a couple of years ago and I start to think about pushing myself and “results” and burning off x number of calories etc. Stopping and taking a minute to snap out of that mindset can be very worthwhile to stop things spiralling.
Everyone is different and everyone’s experience of exercise will be different but for me these are some of the key things to consider when I exercise purely for fun and I hope that this may help others. If you have any other tips leave them in the comments.