“I wish I was the kind of person that loves to exercise… I’m just not that guy.”
One of my friend takes a sip from his perfectly poured pint, while explaining his reluctance to exercise.“I’m the guy who’s really into beer,” he adds. “I have no interest in exercise. Beer is my thing. That’s who I am.”
Like him lots of people, knows exercise is something they “should” do. But it holds no appeal. Going for a run—and actually enjoying it? Unfathomable to him. The gym? Forget it.
Coaches, doctors, and fitness enthusiasts love to espouse the benefits of physical activity: It makes you feel good! It’s rewarding! It’s necessary!
Yet, like whiskey, exercise can be an acquired taste. Some people love it at first sip, some learn to love it, and others like me just don’t enjoy it.
And that’s okay.
Disliking exercise isn’t some kind of moral failure.
It doesn’t mean you’re broken or lazy—it’s just a personal preference. Still, there’s no denying that exercise is good for the human body.But how do you exercise when you don’t like it?
Why people don’t like to exercise.
- Past experiences: If your fitness memories include being body-shamed in the gym, you might prefer to avoid exercise or gym. Even hate people who exercise.
- Pain: For some people, certain forms of movement hurt. They can exacerbate chronic pain, injuries, and existing health conditions.
- Discomfort: Some dislike the feeling of movement, breathing hard, or getting sweaty. People in larger bodies or with disabilities may find exercise equipment or group classes simply aren’t built for them. On top of physical discomfort, this can trigger feelings of shame and being “out of place.”
- Perception: When exercise is treated like a chore, punishment, or a test of physical limits some folks may opt-out altogether.
- Identity: Some people (like my beer loving friend) are turned off by fitness culture. Their identity lies elsewhere.
Stop trying to exercise. “Stop trying” may sound like strange advice. If exercise feels like an impossible, torturous task, the best approach might be to take it off the table completely.
The more you push against your own resistance, the more that resistance is likely to grow. Conversely, if you stop telling yourself you “should” exercise, you might discover you’re more likely to do it.
Aim for “movement” rather than “exercise.” People often assume they have to go straight into training for a marathon or lifting heavy weights, but in order to get the benefit of movement, you don’t have to train. You can just move.
And if you’re wondering how you’ll find big blocks of time to exercise—or even move? You don’t necessarily need to schedule time to exercise. Your movement could just be a pile of mini actions that add up over the day.
Those “mini actions” could be anything: walking to the office coffee machine; parking the car at a distance or gardening; goofing around with your kids.
Embrace the “everything counts” philosophy.
Get this: Just thinking that your daily activities “count” towards your fitness goals can make a difference.
One study found that if we believe our daily activities (like housework) count as exercise, the physiological benefit of those activities is enhanced.
84 female room attendants working in seven different hotels were measured on physiological health variables affected by exercise. Those in the informed condition were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is a good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Examples of how their work was exercise were provided. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Although actual behavior did not change, 4 weeks after the intervention, the informed group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. These results support the hypothesis that exercise affects health in part or in whole via the placebo effect.
Do Less. To reap the benefits of movement, you might need less than you think.
According to the WHO, Physical Activity Guidelines, adults should aim to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week (or 22 to 43 minutes a day). Time-crunched folks can also meet the guidelines by doing 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. But exercise isn’t all-or-nothing: Everything counts.
Try stuff. If you do want to move more—and ideally, find something you like, there’s no getting around it: You’ll have to give some things a try.
That may mean doing some stuff you might not like. Fortunately, there are ways to make the experimentation process more fun. Apply the 10 minute rule. Give yourself permission to try just 10 minutes of something. If you don’t like it, you can stop. This low-pressure approach makes it easier to try new things: Get in the pool with your kids for just 10 minutes and see how it goes. Try 10 minutes of an online Zumba class or a yoga video on YouTube.
Adjust your expectations. Fitness culture has exploded. This can be a good thing when it encourages people to get active and try new things, but it can also be very harmful.
Instagram influencers show that you have to go full BEAST MODE. Plus, your efforts should somehow result in six-pack abs irrespective of your age, gender, and lifestyle. FACEPALM. Let’s take the expectations down a notch. Truth is, movement doesn’t require anything fancy, or have to yield some magical transformation overnight. By adjusting your expectations around exercise, you can make the whole thing less of an ordeal… maybe even more fun.
Try to be kind and encouraging, and give yourself a gold star for your efforts, no matter how small. Maybe even write a friendly note for yourself. Sounds cheesy, but it works.
by Nishant Mandal
You see, the key to fitness success and reaching your goals is progress. It’s the thing that keeps us moving in the right direction. It builds tremendous amount of momentum and it keeps us motivated and wanting more. As soon as you see that things are working and changing, you’re well on your way to transforming your body and health.
The problem is, progress can easily come to a screeching halt. We can feel like we haven’t started to make progress or it can feel like we’re no longer making progress and are stuck in a plateau.
Here are some key points that can be a deferment to your progress.
- Too much volume: For the principle of supercompensation to apply and adaptations to occur, adequate rest is needed following any given stimulus (in this case exercise ). More does not always equal better, especially when it comes to training.
- Too little volume: Adaptation needs time but also adequate exposure to a certain training stimulus so that the body can respond by super compensation. Even if your main priority is max strength or power, do not neglect the accessory work. That’s how the needed volume is built.
- Inappropriate frequency: Training a certain movement too often might not allow enough time to recover, however it largely depends on the type of movement and the number and type of muscle fibres, the impact on your CNS and several other variables. Similarly not stimulating a muscle too often especially a small one, which requires minimal recovery, might not lead to sufficient adaptations for it to grow stronger.
- External Stressors: The body cannot differentiate between physical and psychological stress. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition or any other stressor can interfere by subtracting energy that the body requires to repair damaged tissue. When you prioritise a specific performance goal, you must put your body in the best possible environment for that goal to be achieved.
- You aren’t enjoying your workouts: If there is one thing I know, it’s that you’ll never get into the best shape of your life while hating your workouts. If they cause you any amount of confusion, frustration, or intimidation, they aren’t going to work. You’ll never be consistent enough with them to see the progress you want. And this is what happens to most of us, who aren’t seeing the progress we want. We are unsure of what to do for workouts. We are intimidated to try something different than the treadmill or elliptical. We get tired of the same old boring routine. These things all add up to consistency and motivation dropping, then we quit and progress ends.
- You’re not focusing on getting stronger: Think of your overall fitness as a house. It all starts with your strength. Your overall strength is the foundation of that house. Without that foundation it doesn’t matter how big your house is, it will fail. In fitness terms, this means you won’t reach your potential or worse, get injured. With a strong foundation of strength, everything else fitness related only gets better. Your running improves. Your yoga improves. Your cardio improves. Your injury prevention improves. Your workout intensity improves and so do your results. Strength simply allows you to get more out of your workouts.
Nishant Mandal is a certified Personal trainer/Online fitness coach based out of Delhi NCR. He is ACE-CPT, Crossfit L-1, PN-L1 certified and Calisthenics enthusiast, Deadlift Junkie, Movement & Mobility expertise. Getting people to move and better themselves since 2010 through individualised and challenging routines but not much than what one can’t handle. You can connect with him on Twitter @NishantPTrainer.
If you are like me and get all your news from social media this podcast can be a great learning and eye opener. ‘The Chaos Machine’ author Max Fisher discuss how social media is eroding our minds, driving polarization, and radically changing the way we think.
The average human lifespan is abysmally brief. Living to be 80 years old gives you around 4,000 weeks. It’s no secret that time is one of our most precious resources. Today, many of us are haunted by the feeling that we should be more productive, more efficient, or devoting our time to something else entirely.
The truth is that our obsession with productivity is taking a toll. Instead of reaching a perfect state of efficiency, “life hacks” and time management techniques leave us feeling stressed and empty. In these blinks, you’ll discover ideas about time, and time management, that encourage you to let go of traditional approaches and embrace the joy of finitude.
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We have also archived all the old issues and you can access them at www.sandeepmall.com. They contain some very good tool kits to take charge of your well being.
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The information provided in this newsletter is not medical advice, nor it should be taken as a replacement for medical advice. I am not a medical Doctor so I don’t prescribe anything. Most of the tools suggested are based out of scientific research and my experiments with them. Your healthcare, your wellbeing is your responsibility. Anything we suggest here, please filter it through that responsibility.