How To Make Exercise Feel Easier

How To Make Exercise Feel Easier

Hi everyone! Before I jump into this post I would like to issue an apology for my absence – these last weeks were full of studying and I literally had no time for anything else, but now that my workload has eased I will be back to posting on a regular basis. Thank you all for sticking around and I cannot wait to be involved in the blogging world once again, and I have managed to accumulate a nice list of ideas while I was away so be expecting a lot of content in the run up to Christmas!

Okay, now let’s leap into the main topic of this post: when you’re just starting out a new exercise programme, it can understandably feel like climbing Mount Everest, in particular if you’ve never been athletic before. To some people, sport can feel natural and easy, while to others it connotes hours of difficulty and pain, and this category of people may not understand how others workout for fun rather than just for the physical benefits. Whether you’ve started a fitness journey to build muscle, lose weight or prevent one of the diseases associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, those first few weeks of jumping between exercise machines may be anything other than enjoyable and as a consequence, many people quit because ‘they don’t like exercise’.

How to enjoy working out

Tips for healthy living

I have been going to the gym for around four years at this point, and prior to joining I have been sporty for my entire life. Despite the fact that at certain points my relationship with exercise has been less than optimal, as a whole I love movement. Going to the gym is one of my favourite parts of the day. However, even as a ‘seasoned’ gym goer, I experience dips in motivation. The time I dedicate to my workout goes by much slower than usual and every exercise just fundamentally feels harder and heavier. Sometimes, I do workouts I don’t wholeheartedly adore (e.g. spinning) because I know of the health benefits they deliver and that accomplishment I experience afterwards. In both cases, I have to implement a few tricks to make the workouts feel ‘easier’ without compromising the actual difficulty of the workout. Sounds contradictory, but hopefully you all know what I mean.

That being said, at times it is perfectly okay to skip a workout or take it easy. If I’m absolutely dreading a cardio session, I will go for a light walk outside with my mum instead. Do not ever let the pressure to workout and be on top of your game 24/7 compromise your mental health because as I mentioned in my post about procrastination, we are not machines and at times need to take it easy. Being sensible and vigilant in regards to your own wellbeing is not the same as being lazy, and I guess there is a challenge in finding the boundary between them.

Workout tips

Find an exercise programme you enjoy

Seems obvious, but many people neglect this in favour of picking programmes they’re compelled to do due to external pressure. You shouldn’t have to force yourself into the vast majority of your workouts. If you do, this implies that you should look elsewhere because such an approach is unsustainable: if you hate it, chances are you will quit before any results start to appear. Heavy lifting is not for everyone. Running isn’t for everyone. You don’t even have to join a gym to get fit, and some of the healthiest people I know have found such a state though ‘lighter’ forms of exercise such as Pilates and yoga (which is much harder than it seems – I can barely hold a downward dog pose without dying physically and emotionally).

Switch it up and try new things

If you’re ever stuck in any aspect of your life, changing something up can often reignite your passion for a particular activity or just engender much needed motivation. I like to incorporate at least one new exercise into each gym session as something to look forward to, and Instagram and YouTube are the best resources for when I am running low on ideas. Or, you could even even try out a whole new sport altogether! Who knows, you may discover a hidden talent in the process.

Listen to music or podcasts

I am convinced that those who do cardio without music are superhuman. I cannot get through five minutes of running without my tunes playing in the background (unless I accidentally unplug my headphones and end up playing 2012 Lady Gaga out loud which happens much more frequently than it should). I lift weights without music because I have to concentrate on keeping good form and mind-muscle connection, but cannot survive more monotonous forms of exercise without it.

Split your workout and exercises into smaller chunks

To elaborate, I’ll give an example: instead of saying ‘I have to do 15 push-ups’, opt for ‘five pushups three times in a row’.Β  Then, start counting down from five, and when you finish go back up and repeat x3. This is a mental trick which makes trickier exercises seem easier because you’re faced with smaller chunks rather than the whole thing all at once. This is particularly useful for cardio, during which pushing through ten minutes three times is more bearable than the whole thirty minutes in one go – obviously, you are still doing the same amount but it feels a lot less daunting. A couple of years ago, I was borderline obsessed with watching Man vs Wild and in one episode, Bear Grylls states that soldiers often employ a similar technique to get through physical challenges, which is quite cool because I’ve been unknowingly using the same technique as the military while at the gym!

Make sure you’re properly nourished and hydrated

It is unlikely that you will be able to enjoy your workout and breeze through it if you haven’t had enough to eat or drink. Do not exercise on a full stomach, but have a good meal 2-3 hours beforehand and then a smaller snack right before you start. A lot of people use pre-workout supplements but I’ve never actually tried them because I find that eating nutritious and abundant food gives me all the energy in the world (unless coffee counts because you will see me drinking plenty of that every day, lol). This is one of the reasons for why I go to the gym in the evening – it’s much easier for me to have a good time when I’m fuelled up by a whole day’s worth of food!

How to enjoy working out

Let me know if you have any other tips that you use to deal with dips in motivation. I think the key, however, is definitely finding a workout programme or a sport you enjoy – after that, it becomes a hobby rather than an obligation!

Design

Lots of love, MariaΒ β™‘

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50 Comments

  1. Amielle November 4, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    I’m too lazy to workout but posts like this inspires me! Haha. And hey, you do you. Priorities are imporant. We get that. We’ll just be here waiting for your next posts πŸ™‚

    • whatismaria November 4, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      I am so glad this could be inspiring!! And thank you – I always feel bad for neglecting my blog but it’s nice to know that people have stuck around:)

  2. SimpleSerenity November 4, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    This actually helped me a lot because I’m trying to get back into my routine. Not gonna lie it is really hard as I didn’t work out at all for over 4 months :O. I need to get back to it for sure. xx

    • whatismaria November 4, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      I am so glad you found it helpful! Getting back into a routine can be tricky but I would recommend taking it slow and setting small goals in the beginning to make sure you stick with it:) <3

  3. victorialise November 4, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    Great post! Even though movement has always come natural to me I have found it to be tremendously helpful to enjoy whatever workout I am doing, If not it feels like another chore on the ‘to-do list’ and that sucks the fun right out of it.

    • whatismaria November 4, 2017 / 10:23 pm

      Yes exactly- whenever exercise starts to become monotonous and to feel like a chore I know it’s time to change something! Glad you liked this post πŸ™‚

  4. Dippy-Dotty Girl November 4, 2017 / 10:52 pm

    I like changing up my routines too. As you rightly point out, we are not machines. Inspiring post Maria and lovely photos too. You were missed but hey studies are more important. xx

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 6:58 am

      So glad you agree that switching things up is the key – makes exercise so much more fun:) And thank you very much for your kindness! I have missed blogging but it is so nice to be back xox

  5. Lorelie Joy November 4, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    I’ve been slowly getting back into working out cos it’s always summer so #bikinibod haha, so these tips are really helpful! πŸ˜‡ πŸƒβ€

    Ljoy x

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 6:59 am

      I am so glad you found them helpful! Good luck on your fitness journey πŸ™‚ <3

  6. AJ November 4, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Great list! The only thing I’d add is to find a friend to do it with:)

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 7:01 am

      Thank you! And yes that’s very true and can help a lot of people, especially if you’re just starting out:)

      • AJ November 5, 2017 / 2:17 pm

        My mom and I started together so I know that one from experience:)

  7. Beyoutiful November 5, 2017 / 12:40 am

    Great tips and glad you to see you back girl! πŸ™‚

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 7:01 am

      Thanks very much! it’s great to be back to blogging:)

  8. sayeedahsparkles November 5, 2017 / 1:20 am

    This was really helpful! Having a great playlist helps me while on the treadmill so I’m not actually focusing that much on it!

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 7:02 am

      Yesss exactly! Honestly cannot imagine ever using the treadmill without my music :’)

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 7:02 am

      Yaaay I am glad you’ve found that trick too because it helps so much with trickier exercises!

  9. Ji Ah November 5, 2017 / 5:53 am

    Great tips – I’m really thinking of implementing some (or most) of them into my workout regimen! And I have to agree about staying hydrated, its super super important! xx

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 7:04 am

      Thank you! Hope they help you if you end up using them:) And yes hydration really is key, hence I always carry a huuuge water bottle with me around the gym hahah

  10. lifeofangela November 5, 2017 / 9:09 am

    The few times I’ve managed to stick to an exercise regime for longer than a week, I’ve always changed up routines. My body gets bored if I do the same thing over and over and i lose motivation πŸ˜₯ Great tips Maria!

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 10:03 am

      I can totally relate to this – that’s why I often break my routine completely and try brand new activities!! So glad you liked this post 😊

  11. crystalsandcurls November 5, 2017 / 10:28 am

    I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE HOME AGAIN! Proud of you for taking the time out to work on your studying though – sometimes you just have to prioritise! I love these tips; I really want to do more exercise but I think gym would be too boring for me. I want to try dance classes and MMA – one of my New Year goals πŸ™‚ xxxx

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 11:59 am

      Yaaaay I am so happy to be back to blogging – I didn’t like having such a long break but it was a necessary evil!! I think you should definitely try dance classes and I am thinking of doing some myself as I was massively into dance when I was younger and think the passion is still there :’) Happy Sunday! <3

  12. RevolutionaryRoads November 5, 2017 / 11:30 am

    Welcome back πŸ™‚ Looking forward to reading your upcoming posts! Great post, I am not really too sporty but work out sporadically because it’s healthy and to keep in shape a bit. Love the pictures. You look beautiful xxx

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Ahh thanks so much for your lovely comment!! It’s great to be back in the blogging community πŸ™‚ and yes working out from time to time is definitely a good option for staying healthy xox

  13. harrietday98 November 5, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    I love your jeans in these pictures you look fab!!!! Also such good little tips for exercising and being a little healthier. I love the gym but equally sometimes I dip in motivation!

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 5:00 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Harriet!! So glad you liked these tips, and I think that having dips in motivation is completely normal from time to time, especially as I don’t think I’ll ever fall out of love with the gym completely :’)

  14. hudapervez November 5, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    As much as I’d like to be a sporty person, sometimes I’m just too lazy to exercise. Theses tips are super helpful, i always love listening to music/podcasts while I’m I’m on the treadmill!

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 6:20 pm

      Haha that’s totally understandable, I definitely have a lot of lazy days/weeks myself! And I am so glad you found them helpful:) Music is always a must for a good workout xox

  15. Yiota November 5, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Great tips! I always find motivation when I buy new workout clothes (crazy I know haha) but I really do! I need to start exercising again!

    Yiota
    pinkdaisyloves.blogspot.com

    • whatismaria November 5, 2017 / 6:20 pm

      Omg I can relate to this 100%, especially if it’s a new pair of shoes! Glad you like these tips:)

  16. hopelessblog November 6, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    Liking exercise is all about getting past that first stint of not wanting to go, and then it feels like a relaxing thing to do! πŸ™‚

    • whatismaria November 6, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      Yess exactly!! I always find that getting myself to the gym is harder than the actual workout πŸ˜‚

  17. kirstyjadeblog November 8, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    I always struggle because I am so much more motivated when I workout first thing in the morning when I wake up, but recently I have been really hungry in the mornings and if I workout I don’t perform well. Do you have any ideas of good, small pre-workout snacks? Loved this post!

    • whatismaria November 9, 2017 / 6:37 am

      So glad you liked this post! And in terms of pre-workout snacks, I really like having anything from granola/protein bars to toasts with different toppings and yoghurt with fruit and nuts – anything that contains a good mix of carbs and protein:)

  18. realclassicmen November 11, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    As a suggestion for future exercise blogs: emphasize the necessity for discipline in your exercise routine and discipline in a diet

  19. girlwiththepawprinttattoo November 19, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’m a huge procrastinator when it comes to going to the gym. Also love your outfit πŸ™‚

    • whatismaria November 19, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      You are always welcome – glad it could be helpful:) and thank you very much! Xx

  20. outnaboutweb January 21, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    These are really amazing tips, thanks a lot for sharing! I just found your blog through Angelas post, and I’m really glad i did! You seem like an awesome blogger and person with great content! I look forward to reading more!
    love, elena

    https://outnaboutweb.wordpress.com

    • whatismaria January 21, 2018 / 7:43 pm

      Ahh thank you so much for your lovely comment and for checking out my blog in the first place! So happy you found this post useful:)

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