Working out can feel a lot more like work than play. Even when you find a virtual fitness class or home workout you enjoy, the pressure to complete a certain number of reps or achieve a certain mile time can suck all the fun out of it.
Creating an exercise routine that’s actually enjoyable requires reframing the way you think about fitness. It’s all about listening to your body and finding ways to make your workouts work for you — not forcing yourself to stick to what you think you should do. When you focus on the "shoulds," it can zap your motivation and make it hard to figure out what's actually right for you. To help you curate your ideal workout routine, we asked four editors to share their best fitness tips. Read on to find out how they avoid common pressures and turned exercise into something they actually enjoy.
Even if you’re exercising by yourself in your home gym, planning out your workout ahead of time is key to staying committed. Associate Native Fashion Editor Kathleen Harper picks out fitness videos days in advance to psych herself up for a great workout. "Carefully selecting a video makes the process more fun and gives me something to look forward to,” she explained. “It's as if I'm making even more of a conscious choice about working out while maintaining control over what type of workout I'll be doing."
Associate Digital Editor Lauren Pardee follows a similar approach. “I’ve given my fair share of home workout methods a go — but committing to one YouTube fitness influencer is the only reason I’ve actually stuck to a routine,” she said. “Instead of wandering the web stressing over what workout fits my mood, I go straight to her page and know exactly which videos to press based on how much time I have, how I'm feeling, and what I want to accomplish.”
Everyone has off days — even hardcore fitness buffs! Expecting to always lift heavier or run faster than you did last time is setting yourself up for failure. Instead of focusing on what you think you should be able to achieve, think of any workout as a good workout, like Kathleen does. "I tell myself that some movement is better than nothing. That motto gets me off the couch, which is the toughest part,” she said. “Taking the pressure off myself helps get me excited to just get outside and move."
When you’re in the middle of a tough workout, the clock is not your friend. Checking how many minutes have elapsed and how long you have left isn’t going to make those burpees any easier — it’s just going to make it feel like time is passing even more slowly. Instead, Associate Native Beauty Editor Samantha Sasso recommends timing yourself with music. “Make a playlist of 10 songs,” she said. “Dedicate that time to moving — the second the playlist is done, so are you!”
Kathleen had a similar tip for runners: save a fascinating podcast for your runs. "Even if I'm not feeling enthusiastic about running (and let's be real, I'm often not!), I do get superexcited to hear the next episode in my queue,” she explained. “It also keeps me from getting bored while I'm running and helps take my mind off my workout."
It can’t be lean protein and green vegetables all the time, even if that's what you think you really should have on your healthy meal plan. Committing to a fitness routine doesn’t mean giving up sweet treats forever — you just want to choose smarter options, like Halo Top Keto Caramel Butter Pecan. With just five net carbs per pint, this is one dessert you can feel good about savoring, no matter how much you exercised that day.