can exercise be fun?


It’s typically around this time in January, the start of the third week, where the good intentions set for becoming healthier and more active in the New Year start to become challenging. Maybe it’s happened sooner than that for you, or maybe you’re on a roll with your health and wellness goals. Irrespective of where you are today I hope there’s something of benefit for you in this post.

To answer the question I posed in the title, my answer is yes. And I want to explain my own approach to exercise and coaching whilst providing you with references to two great posts that touch on some aspects of this as well.

First of all, to my mind any exercise should be all of the following:

  1. Safe;
  2. Effective; and
  3. Relevant to your goals.

The added bonus is when it is also fun. Challenging yet inspiring. That’s where the magic is. For I see exercise as being like a menu. Think of (i) your favourite and (ii) your least favourite food. Got them? Good. Now imagine, if you will, going into a restaurant where everything on the menu was a variation, a twist, on your favourite thing to eat. You could have the dessert first if you so desired. Are you going to go back again? Chances are you will. Now imagine a restaurant where they serve only variations of your least favourite food. Your food hell, your food kryptonite. Will you be going back? It’s highly unlikely. So, like a menu, exercise is about making choices; to make it fun where possible whilst sticking to the three key ingredients outlined above.

The superb post by Steet Fitness World on Callisthenics vs Gym Fitness may spark some thoughts on exercise for you, it certainly did for me. However, you may find yourself in a position where you aspire to having a challenging yet inspiring set of exercises but you don’t know (a) what exercises are appropriate for you, (b) which exercises are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck, and/or (c) how an exercise you perhaps don’t care for very much (like the menu, you know it’s good for you, but…) can be modified or progressed to meet your needs?

This is where working with a coach, or mentor, could help you. I may be biased, but from experience I’ve seen it time and again – people who work with a coach or mentor stand a much greater chance of achieving their goals. There are numerous factors in deciding whether to invest in working with a coach and Robert Way’s excellent post, ‘What is Mentoring?’  goes into mentoring in greater detail. For now, I want to give you three key things or factors I would recommend you look for in a coach:

  1. Someone whom you feel you have, or can build, rapport with.
  2. Someone whom will act as a guide, someone whose motivation is to empower you. I strongly believe in the saying, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much they care’. It wholly applies here, coaches should be caring.
  3. Someone whom can hold you accountable.

If you’re a gym member then you’ll appreciate that a  gym can be an intimidating place for a lot of people. So how do you go about hiring a coach if you don’t know where to start? The following may help as a guide to get you started.

  1. Try some classes, especially those taken by staff whom also work as coaches. See first-hand how they motivate and inspire without having to make any commitment.
  2. Ask fellow members. Which coaches do they like, and why?
  3. Be curious as to the outliers, the coaches whom seem at odds with the prevailing environment. Chances are they are doing something different. Talk with them, find out if they can help you with your goals.
  4. Remember, you’re the customer. If a coach isn’t helping you towards your goals in a way that you consider is safe and empowering for you then either hire someone else or join another gym. The power lies with you.

If you are struggling with your health and wellness goals then it’s important to be aware of this: relapse is a natural part of change. It’s OK, it can be a part of the process. This is something I will write about in an up-coming post, providing some tools and tips to help you with relapse. Has this happened to you? If you think you’ve relapsed in your wellness goals or resolutions then all I would ask you to do is simply acknowledge the fact, accept it has happened and resolve to resume the healthy habits you had already started. Be kind to yourself.

Please check out the two linked posts, have a great weekend and, irrespective of whether you’re exercising, have fun!

3 thoughts on “can exercise be fun?

  1. Having someone or something to hold you accountable when the going gets tough is absolutely key – for me at least! We all think we have more motivation that we actually have – particularly when (as happens here this morning) it’s raining, I’m tired, I could put in off until tomorrow. I don’t have a coach but I do force motivation upon myself by entering challenging events – so far this year 2 ultramarathons and a marathon. The fear of being undertrained is enough to get me out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha “relapse is a natural part of change”. I relapse every January when my gym fills, temporarily, with the New Year Resolution Setters. Essentially I take a couple of weeks off until they do the fairly predictable crash in their resolutions or have learned some gym etiquette. Seriously, having someone to work out with is important. I’ve improved my form by having my buddy point out that my position wasn’t exactly what I thought and I’ve been able to push myself to try a heavier weight because of having a spotter. Improvements I couldn’t have managed on my own

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand exactly what you mean, it’s about now that the reduction in gym attendance seems to have a direct correlation to the increase of appointments with physiotherapists. Great point about training with someone, definitely the way to go to keep it safe whilst having the encouragement and a bit of extra motivation!


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