Not everyone has a natural affinity for working out.  In fact, it’s the rare occasion that someone immediately falls in love with going to the gym.  That’s certainly not the way it happened for me, and it certainly doesn’t happen that way for many of my clients.  Many people hate working out due to a combination of factors, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Why You Hate Working Out

Biology

This is going to seem obvious to the majority of you reading this, but our bodies, especially nowadays, don’t love to struggle.  They don’t love to be challenged.

They are hardwired to avoid high amounts of energy expenditure (exercise) and prepare for low amount of energy input (food).  Obviously this mechanism is why the majority of you are reading this and what has gotten our world to the point that obesity and the ensuing medical issues are among the leading causes of healthcare expenses and deaths.

Our bodies prefer easy and comfortable.  They have for a long time and it’s been that mechanism that kept us alive for much of our past…until the industrial revolution.  Now it’s killing us.

Individual Differences

Although it’s a hormonal response, here’s a surprise for you guys: everybody is different!  So not everyone gets a runner’s high or gets it when someone else does, or can get it from certain exercise.  This is why there is no and never will be a one-size-fits-all exercise program in my opinion.

Researchers found that the beta-endorphin response varied based on type of exercise, special populations tested, and health problems of subjects (1).  This emphasizes the point that exercise is different for all of us and what one person may like, the next person may not.

Also, people who don’t have a lot of experience with exercise or working out will typically get started on some promotional offer or quick fix type thing.  These types of programs often employ drastic strategies and aggressive tactics that don’t lead to long-term health or adherence.  Working with a coach who will help you towards long-term goals in a sustainable and enjoyable way is well worth the investment (check out my coaching programs here).

You’re Doing It Wrong

Odds are if your body is experiencing a lot of pain, or you hate working out, you are probably doing it wrong.  Fitness is different for everyone, so just because your friend likes burpees and cardio doesn’t mean you have to.

If you’ve ever signed up for a bootcamp type workout program and just been brutalized for 6 weeks and quit, you’re not alone.  There are countless programs out there that try and fit everyone to a mold and involve little to no coaching.

The key to finding success in your fitness is finding the best fit for you, or having someone help you find that answer.

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But there are a few saving graces written into our DNA that can help us against the curse of a lazy body!

Why You LIKE Working Out

Okay, enough talk about why you hate working out, here’s a few reasons that our bodies actually don’t hate working out.

Hormones

Thanks to some hormonal responses to exercise, there can be great joy that accompanies exercise.  The beta-endorphin response is the process by which endorphins are released and affect the brain and suppress pain.  We know that things that suppress pain also make us feel happy and euphoric.  This is “runner’s high” and it’s a real thing.

Pride/Ego

From adversity and overcoming obstacles comes a strong sense of pride.  This is the mechanism that drives people to challenge their bodies on a daily/weekly basis.

Pride and ego are typically negative words in today’s culture.  But they have their place in the development of self.  Without them, we would have no self-confidence, no self-worth, and no moral/ethical code.

Pride and ego are extremely important in progress in many areas of life including fitness.  For many, the sense of pride that comes from overcoming an obstacle (a weight, a difficult repetition, or a time) is what keeps them coming back for more.

We can be inherently lazy, but we can also be incredibly hard-working and proud when it comes to achievement and being a reflection of our best efforts.

How to Reverse Your Hatred of Working Out

Find Your Passions

It’s great to start with some goals.  Most of what I see is weight loss or fat loss, some people just want to get stronger, and a few are looking to add some serious size to their body.  Whatever it is, most people come with an aesthetic goal.

If you haven’t found a passion and you still hate working out, the trick is to table that for the moment, trust your coach (like me!), and pay attention to what you like about working out.  I have a consistent dialogue with my coaching clients where we talk about their enjoyment of training and how we can adjust things to still achieve their goals and have them enjoy the process.

Every goal involves changing your body.  This takes time.  And it must be said that in order to change your body, you are going to have to make it uncomfortable (harder) on your body so it does change.

So if you are constantly focusing on how your body is changing (on a daily or weekly basis) you will miss the moments that are happening around you that can change your perspective on training.  For example, if you are worried about losing weight (or not losing weight), you won’t pick up on how good it can feel to lift a really heavy weight, or master a technique, or improve upon a record time, etc.

Maybe your niche is running, maybe it’s bodybuilding, maybe it’s powerlifting, maybe it’s crossfit, maybe it’s mostly sports with some supplemental weight training.  Only you can find out how and why you’re going to enjoy movement.  Which brings us to discipline.

Discipline

Discipline is heavily involved in finding your passion and sticking to it.  If you gave up on everything you tried because it wasn’t immediately fun or you weren’t good at it right away where would you be?

Resilience is in our DNA.  Some have trained it more than others, but nonetheless it is trained.  The more you practice resilience and discipline, the more of it you’ll have.  No one ever regretted having resilience or discipline.

If you can employ some discipline and be resilient in your search for the type of exercise you’ll most enjoy, then you will be successful in your health and fitness.  You will soon not hate working out and it will become a healthy addiction (see hormonal response and pride sections above).

Positive Attitude

To the point of finding your passion and discipline, you must remain positive in your quest.  It won’t always be fun, but if you stay positive and learn from your experiences, you will find that the consistency necessary comes naturally.

The mentality of focusing on the end results at the start of action is unsustainable.  A shift in perspective must occur if you want to succeed.

Engage in the process, learn about it, be present and mindful and you will learn how to do what’s best for your body in the best way for you.

How to not Hate Working Out

Key takeaway:

The biggest change you can make to your approach to fitness is a mindset shift.  Change from focusing on results to focusing on enjoying the process.  Learn constantly about yourself and about your training and nutrition.  We are designed to learn, adapt, and change.  The same is true of your fitness.

The journey to your goal, whatever it is, is most likely a long and difficult one.  Don’t make it longer by dreading the process.  Find a way to enjoy yourself along the way.

If you’re a person who hates working out and this article spoke to you please share it with someone who you think could benefit from reading it as well.

And if you’re interested in changing your perspective about working out and are ready to change your mindset but need a coach to help you in doing so, please get on my email list, or send me a message through the contact form on the website.

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