Learning to love working out is not something that came naturally to me. Even now I’ll have weeks where getting to the gym for some interval training fills me with despair. However, after having a little mindset change and shifting my goals a little, I managed to figure out a way to actually enjoy exercise!
Discovering interval training
The first time I really discovered interval training was when I started to follow the Bodycoach. I’m not so hung up on him now, but I definitely learnt a lot from doing his 20-minute workouts.
With my attention span being so, unbelievably short, I find long workouts mind-numbingly boring. Back when I was losing the bulk of my weight, I would go running for 30-45 minutes every other day and I was so bored I don’t know how I kept it up. Running on a treadmill or slogging away on an elliptical is just not something I ever want to do, it doesn’t motivate me, it doesn’t make me want to come back for another round, all it does is make me bored with exercise.
That’s why finding interval training and HIIT workouts was a blessing. They don’t have to be purely cardio based (I hate cardio) they can also incorporate weights and other equipment!
As long as you have those periods of high intensity an low intensity, then you’re doing it right. A lot of the time I will do a mixture of strength exercises and high intensity moves like jump squats, burpees and split jumps. Mix those in with a good weighted arm workout and you’re golden.
Learning how to keep myself motivated
Keeping motivated over a long period of time is something I’ve never been good at, but now I have a whole library of moves, techniques and machines at my disposal, I’m finding it a lot easier to keep my workouts interesting.
Not only that but changing my goals and my reasoning for actually doing exercise has made a dramatic difference to my motivation. Shifting my goals from losing weight to keeping my mood and mental health balanced, has meant I have so much more freedom to enjoy my workouts.
I found that when I was working out to lose weight, I would be constantly frustrated with my gym sessions. If I didn’t lose weight that week, I would do nothing but cardio (did I mention I really hate cardio?) then because I would do nothing but cardio I’d be bored out of my tree.
Now that I workout for my mental health and to improve my strength and stamina, I have so many more goals and achievements open to me! Now I can set goals like, do X amount of squats, do 1 more round of the circuit, learn how to do pull-ups and so on. When you only workout to lose weight, you’re living your life by the numbers rather than unlocking the true potential of what your body is capable of.
There’s something about working with your body to go that extra mile, push that little bit harder and keep your mind in a good place, that just makes you feel like one whole person. Like your mind and body are working as one machine and that’s a pretty awesome feeling to have.
How to create your own interval training
Getting yourself set up with interval training and creating your own workouts isn’t that difficult, it just takes a bit of research and practice.
I’ve done so many YouTube videos, downloaded a bazillion workout apps and read all the books and now I have a number of different moves in my head, on my phone and saved on my Pinterest, to be able to create effective and fun workouts. Trying out different moves in your routines can help you figure out what makes you feel good, what doesn’t agree with your body and what types of workouts you just don’t enjoy.
For example, I realised that I really hate running, so I don’t do any running intervals, instead, I get my cardio from the Stairmaster (I have to do this for my China trek training anyway), swimming, the elliptical and high-intensity strength training.
When you’re about to head to the gym or if you’re preparing to do a workout at home, then the best thing to do is get out a notepad or make notes on your phone of what moves you want to do, how many sets and how many reps. Then, you can just tick them off as you go! iPhones have the ability to create lists that you can click and tick off each thing, so it’s super easy to stay on track.
You can even download timers and stop clocks on your phone or smartwatch to help you keep on top of your intervals. So there’s absolutely no excuse not to go full savage during your workouts.
Learning to love exercise isn’t an easy thing to do and it really relies on you choosing the right goals and resoning behind why you’re working out. Interval training is an amazing way to get you motivated and starting to set awesome goals, give it a try and see if you manage to finally start enjoying exercise!