I’m looking for a way to get in shape, but nothing I do seems to stick. I eat reasonably healthy (I’m trying to get better), but I’m just awful about exercising. I’ve tried jogging and trips to the gym, but I just can’t get excited about those. After the first few days, they feel like chores. I lose interest, I get tired, and I start skipping workouts.
Experts, what advice do you have for someone who wants to develop a workout plan that they can really stick to? What forms of working out are less, well, work?
The dilemma you’re facing is at the heart of why most diet and exercise programs don’t work. Sure, people can get impressive results from big diets or intense workout regimens, provided they have the willpower to get all the way through them. But even those who lose weight with these methods tend to gain it back, experts say.
That’s because the key to long-term health is sustainable changes. If you diet or work your way to weight loss, but consider the steps you’re taking to be temporary, then you’ll end up slipping up and going back to your old habits once you’ve accomplished your goals (or, as you’re experiencing, even before!).
That’s why experts recommend smaller and more sustainable changes. They recommend a commitment to eating healthier in a permanent way–not short-term starvation with weight loss in mind. And you can use the same principle to find the type of workout regimen that will work for you. Exercising should be a habit, not a chore.
If you hate running or weight-lifting–and if you’ve really given them a chance, and just haven’t been able to enjoy them at all–then those activities are probably not your path to sustainable weight loss!
So how can you make your workouts a part of your lifestyle? Simple: you need a workout that feels more like a hobby or a passion.
The less simple part, of course, is finding that hobby or passion that happens to be so good for you. But the good news is there are nearly endless possibilities to consider. For instance, have you considered Boxing or martial arts? Individual training or the thrill of competition may hook you. And you could set goals that would drive you to improve yourself in the pursuit.
That’s just one example, of course. What about outdoor sports like hiking, cycling, and rock climbing? What about lower-impact activities like yoga, walking, and swimming? Have you considered dance classes? What about skateboarding? Some of these may sound like workouts, but others might sound like fun–and if you find the ones that are the most fun to you, you’ll be finding the easiest ways for you to shed pounds without frustration.
We can’t tell you which hobby will make you smile most while you sweat, but we encourage you to consider a lot–and try more than a few, too! With luck, you’ll find a way to work out without it feeling like work. Good luck!
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.” — Michael Jordan