Building an Effective Workout Regime When you Hate Exercise

Young woman with fit body jumping and running against grey background. Female model in sportswear exercising outdoors.

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, then you know that exercise really isn’t my thing. If there was a toss up between exercise and anything else, I would take ‘anything else’ every time. And all this is despite knowing how good exercise is for me and how I’ll be so much stronger and healthier when I’m old.
Unfortunately, I made a discovery when I started training for a run back in 2016: Exercise makes you feel good. Like really good. More confident, more capable, more sexy, and a whole lot happier.
And once I made this discovery and experienced it for myself, I had no choice. I became addicted to the feeling. And since then I’ve worked out pretty consistently.
So how do you get started with making working or a habit if you don’t like working out? I have a few ideas:

1. Try everything once

Beautiful girl performing exercise with kettlebelYou aren’t going to like everything, so hurry up and get the stuff you don’t like out of the way. One of the first things I tried was a stretching class; I thought I’d love it because the pain and effort threshold was low and I’d mainly be on the floor, and although all those things were correct I left knowing I would never go again because it was the most boring and uneventful class. I wasn’t challenged by it at all and just left feeling MEH.
Figure out what you enjoy and what you need, this will help you pick exercises you are comfortable with, classes you want to regularly attend or workouts that you want to incorporate more.

2. Start slow

Young beautiful woman resting after the jogging in the city.She is listening to the music.I’d recommend twice a week. As this is new, you want to keep it light and keep it fun and give yourself room to miss a day without feeling like you failed. Twice a week is a realistic goal that anyone can realistically carve out, as compare to five days a week or even three. This means you could go on Monday when you’re feeling super motivated and if the motivation escapes you the rest of the week, or your body is so sore you can’t workout until Saturday, there’s still time to reach your goal, or if you’re ambitious, there’s time to go more than twice!
If you’re putting together your own workout, and not just a workout schedule, twice a week is great because you can split your muscle training into two parts: upper body and lower body. It’s an oversimplification to a certain degree, because you can be very specific and target individual areas like your shoulders or your glutes, but I think keeping it simpler to start is better.
Once you know which areas you want to target, plan ahead of time (and it’s key to plan so you don’t get to the gym and feel unmotivated or unsure, and so that you don’t end up doing the same dull exercises each time) the exercises you’ll use to work those areas. For a half-hour workout going at your own pace, I’d pick around 5 exercises with 15-20 reps per exercise for two rounds. And don’t forget the warm up and cool down – these are important for muscle recovery. Look on Instagram or YouTube for exercise ideas!

3. Maximise recovery

Woman resting on the stairs after hard cross training outdoor.My new gym offers free massages. You read that right. Free. And there are a lot of gyms with similar offerings. Join one! Because if your Monday BodyPump class has you limping all week (like mine did), then along with typical active recovery like yoga, walking and swimming, you can go for a full body massage to make yourself feel better.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Group of young sporty people practicing yoga lesson with instructor, stretching, doing Glute Bridge exercise, female teacher correcting dvi pada pithasana pose, working out, indoor full length, studioSomething that came with my new gym membership was an hour-long session with a personal trainer. I skipped it because I’m focusing on classes this time round, but if you’re trying to do something more independently one or two personal training sessions are a great idea. Use the time to explore the different machines and sections of the gym and ask the trainer to help you design a workout that helps you achieve your individual goals, whether that’s improving your heart health, losing weight, or getting stronger – they should be able to help you figure out a way of working out that targets all the crucial areas and will keep you entertained!

5. Check out the Lifesum Instagram and the blog!

No seriously, we post workouts and different exercises all the time, make use of them!

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams