4.5 Ways to Learn to Enjoy Exercise

Amelia Phillips

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What’s your attitude towards exercise? Love it? Gym junkie? Addicted? If that’s you then congratulations, you are amongst the rare rare 5% of the population. For the rest of us, whose attitude towards exercise is more like our attitude towards brussel sprouts (we do it because we were told it’s good for us, but really, yuk!), here are 4.5 ways to shift that attitude and embrace what our bodies were designed to do: move!

1. Train to embrace who you are, not to punish yourself.
Although I fully endorse a smash ’em up session, do it from a place of encouragement, not of punishment. Listen to your self talk. You should be saying positive things such as “I can do this! Feel the burn, love the burn, I want to challenge myself, I will feel so amazing when I am finished.” A lot of people have very negative self talk, for example, “I am too tired, old, unfit, unwell, fat, stressed to go hard today. I can’t do this, there’s no way. What if I can’t finish? What if I get the slowest time? What if I fall off my bike. Come on you fat slob, after all that pizza and beer last night you deserve to be smashed!” Would you talk to others that way? Are you maybe just a wee bit tough on yourself? Give yourself a break and cut the internal bickering!

2. Lighten up, it’s only exercise!
Believe it or not, exercise should be fun! Even when you’re pushing yourself to the limits, don’t take it too seriously. Did you have a crappy session? Big deal! Does the pressure of trying to bench an extra 20lbs far exceed other pressures in your life? Give me a break! You may need to mix pleasant, fun activities in with your grueling sessions for balance.

If you follow points 1 and 2, you should find that the pressures we put around exercise will stop. For example, if you miss a session, that does mean you are a fat, lazy slob? No, it means you missed a session, that’s it. Read point 4.5 and then remember, you have chosen who you want to be, so embrace that person, and lighten up.

3. Feel the burn, love the burn
When the heat rises in a session, so too does your doubt. Suddenly you question if your body can cope, and the negative self talk highlighted in point 2 comes out to haunt you. When you get outside your comfort zone in a workout, one thing to repeat over and over again is”feel the burn, love the burn.” Sounds silly right? But it works! Embrace the burning feeling you get in your muscles and lungs, and learn to love this feeling. This is the point in the workout where you are really making a difference. When you are finished, you body will change as a result and you will improve. So the next time you feel like you can’t do one more push up, or you can’t make that last sprint home, just repeat to yourself, “Feel the burn, love the burn” and before long you will have burnt away twice as many calories, and achieved some kick-ass results!

4. Get inspired
Find light houses in your life. People who make you feel good, energetic, and strong. It might be friends or family, or it might be sporting heroes, celebrities. It may even be a movie or music. If it takes listening to the Rocky sound track to get excited, then do it! Enroll others on your mission. It could be your personal trainer, the staff at the gym, training buddies, work mates. The more support you have, the more chance you will have at succeeding.

4.5 Don’t see-saw between who you are and who you want to be. Choose one and choose it fully
Look at your past results in fitness, and in other areas of your life. Are you happy with the results? If you are, then great, keep sticking at it. But if not, you need to make a conscious decision to change something. One thing is certain, if you don’t change your behavior then your results won’t change either.

Who you are being in this very moment is the only thing that will affect your future. So who are you being right now? Make a choice. Be the person you have always been or choose to make a shift and alter who you become.

Embrace that choice and choose it fully. Then and only then will you shift the past patterns which have led to who you are today.

“If you want to look into your past look at your present conditions and if you want to look into your future, look at your present actions.”
Chinese proverb

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16 responses to “4.5 Ways to Learn to Enjoy Exercise”

  1. Spin Diva says:

    This is a great article. My favorite would have to be #2–I say this a lot to my clients at the gym and they usually look at me like I’m out of my mind, but in reality, it really should be fun, enjoyable or we will give it up real fast. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amelia Burton says:

    Hi Spin Diva,

    Yes have fun, do what you love. I bet you love spin classes!?! I love them too as well as running. If I had to spend 30mins on the rower, I think I’d die – borrring!

  3. Michael says:


    Really great post. I’d like to see more like this – posts about how to keep going even when you don’t feel like it. I know that’s the tough part for me.


  4. Nice post. I like this article

  5. Amelia says:

    Thanks Suddenly Slimmer,

    Attitude IS everything. I hope you like my other articles as well 🙂

  6. Amelia says:

    Hi Michael,

    Yes it is one of the hardest things to train the mind. You may like to read all the motivational quotes in my motivational quotes competition. Drawing strength from others is powerful.


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