DOES the thought of going to the gym terrify you? Do you break out in hives when you think about sweating through your new hairstyle, or get anxiety at the thought of a trainer yelling at you or forcing you to do repetitions of exercises that are just super difficult?
Does not even the thought of cool exercise gear or fancy gym sneakers inspire you? But do you have a gut, lots of flab, cellulite, and lunch-lady arms that make you look 10 years older than your actual age? Do you know deep down that you'll have to make a change?
There are people who love the gym, working out, and the get-fit lifestyle, and there are people who don't, but they go through the routine anyway. And then there are people who just hate exercising in any format, and nothing can change their perspective. What do you do when you fall into this latter category, but for whatever reason — health, physical appearance, or otherwise — you must start a fitness regimen?
Personal trainer Lennox Richards said you can actually enjoy working out even if you hate exercise.
"Not everyone will see exercise or the gym life as their thing, but exercise is an important part of that life-health balance," he said. "You just have to: one, adapt your mind to needing to get it done, and two, find something to do that's tolerable.
"Exercise isn't just the traditional treadmill or bicycle or cardio gym activities. A simple activity like just doing laundry or cleaning your space can count towards your steps for the day, once you do them with awareness."
He suggests these five tips for people who hate exercise:
Find an activity you love
Do you hate the heat, sweating, and running around? Why not try something like swimming instead? Whether you're learning to swim or are at the intermediate or even advanced level, water activities, like swimming, rowing, or other water sports, will get your heart rate pumping and your muscles active.
"Anything that gets you moving will work, even if it's not considered traditional exercise," Richards said.
Think of the end result
If the statistics for heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension aren't enough to scare you into signing up for the gym, perhaps thinking about the gains will get you going.
"Think about how your hips, butt, waist, tummy, and glutes will look after just a few sessions and use that as motivation," he said. "Also, you can blow up a picture of yourself when you were younger and fitter or do the same with a body you find ideal, and use that as inspiration to be better."
Put it on your calendar
If you add your workouts to your calendar, you'll be more likely to get them done. Treat them as you would any other chore or activity that must get done, and power through it, then move on to the next task.
Make it fun
Getting a partner to do the journey with you would be great, but if you have to go it alone, make it fun with attractive gear and a bomb playlist.
"Make your Spotify playlist and run along with that pounding in your ear, or listen to inspirational podcasts, scriptures, or anything that gives you peace," Richards said. "When you focus on that instead of the burn, you'll be walking or running for miles and not even notice how much you've done."
Play a sport
If you take up a sport, it won't feel like exercise, and you'll feel like you're contributing to something great. Team sports not only improve health but reduce stress and boost your self-esteem, especially if you're good at it. So visit your community centre on the days when teams are playing and see if you can join the football or netball programme or start a league with the kids in your area. This activity will make you fit in no time and also give you something great to add to your resume.