Heather Marr is an N.Y.C.-based personal trainer and The Model Trainer Method creator, whose A-list client roster includes some of the world’s most famous supermodels. Ahead, she shares her 2-week workout plan for those who don’t like exercising.
Regular exercise can boost endorphins, improve mood, increase energy and confidence and can even help you get a better night’s sleep. So, with all of these benefits that make us feel good, why do some people hate exercising? Factors such as environment, preconceived notions and even exercise intensity may be to blame.
Not everyone likes to exercise in a gym environment and that's okay! If you find yourself purchasing a membership every New Year’s Day and then never use it, this may be one of the reasons why. Some people find fitness centers intimidating and anxiety-inducing. Don't force it. If you're not enjoying your time slugging away on the treadmill for example, see if a change of scenery will help. Try running outdoors or join a running group. Perhaps it’s not the activity you dislike but simply the environment.
Maybe you loved playing a sport growing up but have since traded your fun pastime in for an activity that you think you "should" be doing but don't enjoy. If you have beliefs that you should be doing HIIT (high-intensity interval training), for example, but you'd rather watch paint dry, then maybe it’s time to rediscover your inner athlete. Participating in a soccer, baseball or basketball league is just as much fun when you’re an adult than when you were a kid. We are more likely to exercise regularly if it’s something we truly enjoy doing. By making exercise a fun experience again you'll not only feel happier, but you'll also probably be more fit.
I love very demanding intense exercise and I find activity like yoga to be nothing short of excruciating. If I was only exposed to yoga classes, then I would think that exercise is just not "for me." The opposite situation can also be true for many as well. Perhaps you've tried more intense fitness classes like CrossFit and were not a fan. That doesn't mean that fitness isn't for you. There are many types of activities like yoga, dance, swimming or even walking that might be more your speed. It's important to be open to trying different types of activity and intensity. Through trial and error, you'll discover workouts that are suited to you.
When you’re starting out after living a sedentary life for some time, it’s important to ease into it. If you overexert yourself in the beginning, you may find yourself burning out sooner rather than later.
A great place to start for the first two weeks is committing to three to four active sessions a week. If you’re social, you may want to recruit a workout buddy and set fitness dates and times that you can both look forward to together. This also helps to keep you accountable in the beginning until it becomes part of your regular routine.
If you like weight training or are open to giving it a try, I recommend doing fun full-body workouts two to three times a week to start. Compound exercises are extremely advantageous in this situation and may include squats and deadlifts. You can perform several exercises in a row if you’re able and ready. The important thing is to be realistic with your starting point. If you require a break after each set, take it! Your fitness level will improve over time. You don’t have to go from 0 to 100 overnight.
If weight training isn’t for you or you don’t have the equipment available, suspension trainers are a terrific full-body workout option to try two to three times a week. These can be performed almost anywhere, making it possible to get a workout in in the comfort of your home or even outdoors in a park. Again, compound moves here are a smart choice and can certainly be performed using a TRX. If you’re able, perform a circuit of exercises before taking a break to add a challenging cardiovascular component to the workout.
Adding one to two extra activity sessions to this – whether it be a walk or jog with a friend, a sports game you’re playing, or a spin class – make for a well-rounded solid start.
If this sounds daunting to you, don’t feel discouraged. The important thing in the beginning is just to get moving. Even planning a walk three to four mornings a week to work will have both physical and mental benefits. No exercise is “wrong” and increasing your activity in anyway is going to be an improvement and should be celebrated. In order to make permanent lifestyle changes you must like what you're doing. Once you get into a routine, enjoyable exercise becomes automatic and engrained.