3 Tips to Start Loving Exercise!

Let’s start out with the reality, exercise sucks!  It’s no fun.  New people hate it and while most won’t admit and some don’t realize it, lifelong gym goers hate it too.  The difference between the two is that the second group has utilized a bunch of tricks (usually unknowingly) to create a scenario where they don’t think about how much it sucks and instead think about how awesome it is to progress and be victorious over the desire to quit!

So what are the tricks…

  1. PUSH PUSH PUSH!  When exercising, always create goals that require more than you think you can do.  First off, you are wrong.  You ARE more capable than you think.  Now that you know that, set your goals accordingly.  If you think you can only run for two minutes, demand of yourself two minutes and 12 seconds.  It’s only 10% more and you CAN do it, you just have to prove it to yourself.  Set all your goals like this and each time you pass the mark that you thought was your limit you will realize that you are stronger faster and more capable than you thought you were and as a result you will stop doubting yourself so much.  If you stop doubting yourself, you won’t look at the gym as opportunities to show yourself that you are weak and a failure and start looking at the gym as opportunities to prove to yourself that you are strong and a conqueror, because you are!  (Do remember though that while driving hard, make sure your form is solid.  Pushing hard with bad form is a recipe for injury, so yes push, but not recklessly!)
  1. MEASURE!  One consistent problem we all have is noticing repeated small changes.  Exercise results in small changes over and over and over again.  Nobody increases strength from lifting 10lbs to lifting 200lbs without going from 10lbs to 11lbs.  Because development takes time, we often don’t notice the changes.  So measure them to see them!  This way you can know that you are progressing.  There are lots of things that are good to measure and it depends heavily on your goals and personality type, but the common items measured are body part circumferences, exercise weight levels with rep ranges, body fat % and body weight.  Other very useful and commonly underutilized measurements include vo2, rmr and heartrate data.
  2. BEFRIEND!  Going to the gym is a roller coaster of emotions.  You are literally trying to give everything you have of yourself in an effort to fail (stay tuned to our blog for our pending post on proper development detailing the  AWCO system of training for clarification if you don’t understand that).  This crazy effort will give you ups and downs and adrenalin and dopamine and anger and CRAZINESS!  Having a friend with you helps tons.  Beyond all the benefits of having somebody who can notice form errors you may be making and help correct them, beyond spotting, beyond motivation, a friend turns the gym from a task you have to do into a social interaction making it far more palpable to be uncomfortable.  Think of it this way, when we are sitting in a house midsummer with no air conditioning sweating your tail off we complain (out loud or in our head is irrelevant) but sweating your butt off at a ball game having fun with your friends the sweat and heat doesn’t bother you as much if at all.  The gym is the same way.  Friends make sucky things more tolerable, so bring a friend or find a friend but have a friend at the gym!

There are other things that will help but if you do these three things, the agony of exercise will go away pretty quickly as you soon will forget that it isn’t fun.  Instead of saying “ugg I have to go see how out of shape and embarrassed I am again”, your brain will now say “Oh man, I’m going to go hang out with my friend, find out how freaking amazing I am and change my body so that it works and looks the way I want it to!”.  The second one sounds way better to me…