Maybe it's because it's summer (as I'm writing this) and my brain doesn't want to think...so this week's post comes from the founder of the Primal movement, Mark Sisson. His approach to working out and fitness helped bring joy back into my life. His approach along with one of Brené Brown's Guideposts to Wholehearted Living - Cultivating Play has gone a long way helping this sometimes much too serious woman to let go and have some fun. So here are his words:
10 Ideas to Make Workouts More Fun
Workouts are work. There’s no way around that. Whenever you move matter through space and time, whether you’re displacing your own body weight or a barbell or a kettle bell, you’re doing work. It’s just physics. But there’s another meaning of “work”: an unpleasant but necessary activity that helps you achieve a desired outcome. Far too many of our workouts end up embodying this second definition. They’re chores, strains. That’s why so many people—all of whom know they should be exercising on a regular basis—remain sedentary, unfit, weak individuals. Physical activity is no longer required to survive. We don’t “have” to do it anymore. If it feels like a miserable experience, why would we?
There are ways to escape this mindset, though. There are ways to make your workouts feel more likely play and less like work.
Find an Activity That’s Intrinsically Rewarding
When training, extrinsic rewards are always going to be present. You’re always trying to look better naked, lose weight, hit a PR, get better health markers. But if your training is also intrinsically rewarding—if you derive satisfaction, pleasure, and meaning from the act of training itself— you’ll have no problems sticking with it. Only the hardest of hard core will maintain a training regimen they hate. Everyone will keep a training regimen they love. Find something you enjoy doing, that you’d do even if it provided no health or aesthetic benefits, and make that at least part of your training regimen.
If You Hate Something, Try Something Else
This is the most fundamental mindset shift. Don’t do things that you hate.
A workout doesn’t have to be a walk in the park. Not everything is going to leave you bursting with joy. But if your training regimen is leaving you miserable, if you dread it and find every excuse to skip it, that’s worth heeding.
Maybe you hate back squats, but front squats are downright enjoyable. Maybe you hate spin class, but hill sprints are fun. Maybe you hate dedicated cardio or HIIT sessions, but pickup basketball twice a week does the trick. Find an alternative that accomplishes the same thing.
Try Competing Against Other Entities
I enjoy competing against myself. I like beating my own records, surpassing my own achievements, improving on my former self. I also like competition against other humans. That’s why I ran marathons and competed in triathlon for so long—I liked beating the other guys. It’s also why I love Ultimate Frisbee. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of competition to make you forget about how hard you’re working and how great of a workout you’re getting.
Get Better Goals
Me? My goal is to play better:
- I want to be able to play Ultimate every weekend with guys 3o years younger (and keep up).
- I want to go out for a paddling session whenever I want and not have it feel like work.
- I want to hit the slopes all weekend and be able to drive home without my quads cramping up every time I hit the brake.
- And I want to do all that while staying injury-free.
My training focus, then, is to maintain: my fitness, my muscle mass, the viability of my connective tissue, my bone mineral density. I’m not going for PRs anymore because it’s too risky at this stage while bringing me no closer to my goals. But that’s fine. I’ve found what works for me and my goals. And it makes the more “boring” training that much more enjoyable, because I’m working toward something that I love and frankly need to be healthy and happy.
Half my training is play. The other half is training that supports the other half, the play, and gets me closer to it. I know what I’m doing and why. Do you?
To continue reading his suggestions go here. They are worth it!
You are worth it. You are worthy to let go and relax and add some fun to your life. I'd love too hear what you try!