5 Ways to Motivate to Exercise. ~ Dianne Christino

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Do you hate working out no matter what you try and what advice you get? I certainly do.

But, you may ask, how can you hate exercise when it’s so good for you? I’m sure you’ve heard of the rewards before:

  • Exercise has tremendous health benefits.
  • It makes you look and feel great.
  • It increases your energy and betters your mood.
  • It controls your weight.
  • It’s fun.

Stop the presses! Maybe for some, exercise is fun, but for many it’s tolerated at best.

Forget the typical, boring advice that does little to inspire and check out these five “let’s-get-real” suggestions:

1. Don’t try to find an exercise you love. Find an exercise you hate the least.

I have an inner athlete within me. I’m truly capable of any and all types of physical activity (hey, get your mind out of the gutter!), but I just don’t enjoy exercise. I’d much rather be sitting at home watching a Law and Order marathon, my ass on the couch.

One day I tried Bikram yoga. Normally, I hate the heat, and Bikram is done in a room heated to 105° F. But I’d bought a Groupon for a Bikram place at the end of my street. I figured, “I’ll try it once. If I never go back, all I have to lose is the $25.00 cost of the Groupon.”

When I entered the studio to try my first class, I chatted with the studio’s owner and expressed my concerns. After I finished the class, the owner asked me what I thought.

I was so certain that my immediate answer would be “Hated it!” But the words that came out of my mouth (and inspired this post) were “So far, this is what I hate the least.” It was a bit of an epiphany.

Here are some criteria that may help you to find a workout you hate the least:

  • Join a class/gym/studio or find a workout buddy VERY close to home. I mean like “roll-out-of-your-front-door” close to home.
  • Search for class times that work perfectly for you. These may take a while to find, but it’s worth it if you do.
  • Figure out what is most cost-effective and focus on that.
  • Determine if you prefer to be a solitary athlete or in a group setting. Choose accordingly.

2. Engage your ego.

All humans have an ego. Some egos are more competitive than others. When it comes to working out, engage your ego and compete with yourself!

I’ll try anything once in order to earn the privilege of saying “I did that.” But I rarely do it again. I haven’t fallen in love yet. So I keep searching, hoping something will stick. So far, no luck—but at least my ego keeps me trying.

What kind of exercise have you tried in the past to feed your ego? A half-marathon in Vegas? Rock climbing? Ice climbing? Trapeze lessons? Stand-up paddle board? Climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge? Surfing? Crossfit?

I dare you to try something that sounds super-cool in order to stroke your ego! The worst thing that can happen is that you actually fall in love with it. At the very least, you’ll get a workout while perhaps checking something off your bucket list.

Easy is boring. Challenge yourself!

If all else fails, tap into your inner vanity.  Because being fit is hot!  And who doesn’t want to look hot?

3. Re-frame your perspective in wise-ass kinda way, instead of a typical cliché.

Typical cliché: Your doctor says, “You really need to incorporate exercise into your life.”

Wise-ass way: Your doctor says, “So, what would you prefer? Incorporating exercise into your life 30 minutes per day or being dead 24 hours a day?”

Typical cliché: Exercise for better health.

Wise-ass way: Exercise to look good naked.

4. Ask yourself: “Have I ever regretted a workout?”

I would venture to guess that close to 100% of the time the answer is a resounding “No.”  Use that simple question to get yourself out the door. Because remember, the toughest lift of all is that getting that ass off the couch.

“Wow!  I really regretted that workout.” Said no one. Ever.

5. Remember, exercise is your choice, your decision and under your control.

We are who we are because of the choices we make. So do everything in your power to make your workout happen, even—especially—when it’s difficult.

What “I-hate-to-exercise-but-still-push-myself-to-do-it” ideas do you have that help you incorporate more exercise into your life?  Let me know in the comment section below.


Dianne Christino is a practicing massage therapist and health coach from Boston, MA. Dianne’s mission is to help women who know better, do better in order to be better. She teaches women who are ready to be proactive about detoxing their bodies and homes. She believes we are designed to feel amazing in our bodies through seasonal, whole food detoxes, and to become healers in our homes through more natural solutions, such as using essential oils. While studying at the world-renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, Dianne made a decision about what she truly needed to do in order to become a healthier, happier person and created the HolisticHealthyHot Lifestyle. You can find Dianne at diannechristino.com and on Facebook.

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Ed: Dejah Beauchamp

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anonymous Jul 7, 2013 5:51pm

I do only the kinds of exercise I really like to do. Sometimes it intersects with what can manage my health better. Occasionally it does not. When you have circulatory problems, big-time, like I do … it pays to find a cardio exercise you like to do… in my case, it had to be more frisky than walking the hills near home … because, walking is what I REALLY don't like the least – but it just doesn't cut it … so belly dance came next, then cardio belly dance came after that; then yoga and Masala Bhangra dance exercise were tied for next. After that, would be pilates core fusion type, what I really don't like. But what I don't like the most, is still in the pantheon of what I could be gotten to do in the entire universe of movement … which is vast and huge–and based on what I have the ability and/or convenience to get to … these days …

anonymous Jun 18, 2013 9:57pm

I'm a bit of a tight wad, so paying for gym membership is something that motivates me – I find it frustrating if I don't get there often enough for value for money. Also, like Nancy said, sometimes I just tell myself that even 10 minutes is better than nothing (I try and get on the treadmill after some group exercise classes) and most often I end up doing 30 minutes.

    anonymous Jun 19, 2013 2:33pm

    I hear ya! I think getting there or starting or taking the first step or getting down to the mat is the first step.

anonymous Jun 18, 2013 12:20pm

my motivation is the fact that I'm pregnant and too vain to allow myself to become a whale…plain and simple, vanity is my motivator (regardless of all the other BS I tell people about feeling good/balanced/energized/etc) 🙂

    anonymous Jun 19, 2013 2:32pm

    I agree, to some degree. Whatever works, right? I'm focusing with a little more ease because bathing suit season is right now! YIKES!

anonymous Jun 18, 2013 6:45am

I died of laughter when I saw the album cover that accompanies your article.. My mother had this album and it brought back fond memories of "my mom, my sisters and I "walking like a duck" around our living room! We had such fun doing these silly exercises together.

I've been a dedicated exerciser all my life and just can't live without movement. I need it as much for my head as for my body.
That said, I have my moments of laziness. At those times I make a deal with myself… Just 10 minutes is what I say. Sometimes I only do those 10 and I think, we'll, better than nothing, but more often than not those 10 minutes turn to 20 or 30 .. Regardless of the length of time, I ALWAYS feel better afterward.. !

    anonymous Jun 19, 2013 2:30pm

    Glad the picture made you chuckle! You are blessed to enjoy exercise… I envy that!

anonymous Jun 17, 2013 11:27pm

I need to walk four blocks to get to the gym and most of the time, it's cold where I live. It is hard to fnd motivation especially when I look and feel bad about not being fit. I know it should be the opposite but unfortunately, that's how I feel mst of the time. I really like yoa though.

    anonymous Jun 23, 2013 8:01pm

    Sometimes we just seem to not be able to get out of our own way.

anonymous Jun 17, 2013 5:58pm

Better than nothing has been motivating me lately.

Instead of beating myself up for not being organized

or doing a lot, I do SOMETHING. Push ups before

getting dressed. Some sit ups while waiting for something

A quick walk around the block. At least I did something today

and tomorrow I may actually go to the gym ! Having hand

weights handy and knowing a few good stretches helps too.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2013 9:08pm

    Hey Kate,
    That is a great attitude too! I sometimes get stuck in the all-or-nothing frame of mind!!!!

anonymous Jun 17, 2013 12:08pm

I like watching working videos in bed, it feels like exercise without the pain and suffering…

    anonymous Jun 17, 2013 10:41pm

    Watching workout videos in bed. LOL!

anonymous Jun 16, 2013 8:42pm

So far, I hated Aerial Silks the least. And it was way more of a workout than I expected.

    anonymous Jun 17, 2013 9:07pm

    Hey Laura, Aerial Silks is on my bucket list.