Secret Ingredients for Workouts You’ll Enjoy
by Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD, NASM-CPT
Yes, you read that right – working out can be fun! Many of us look at exercising as a chore. Often we perceive the workout ahead as difficult, exhausting and or even punishing. Placing those negative connotations around working out only sets us up for failure. If we truly don’t enjoy the physical activity we’re participating in, then how will we continue to practice this long-term?
Finding something that gets you excited is the first key to continuing your workouts. Maybe that’s kayaking early in the morning to watch the fish jump, or dancing with your husband before dinner. Perhaps you’d find fun in joining an adult intermural team sport you played as a kid. Find your passion and do it for yourself.
Here are some more keys or “secret ingredients” that make workouts enjoyable and fun:
1. Do it for the endorphins
- According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, regular moderate-to-intense physical activity reduces feelings of anxiety and depression while also improving sleep and quality of life. And keep in mind that even a single episode of physical activity can provide temporary improvements to cognitive function. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that interact with receptors in your brain to reduce perception of pain and stimulate a positive, happy feeling. In other words, working out makes you feel good! Endorphins are the real MVPs.
2. Get a workout buddy
- Accountability for your workouts is crucial. We all have a like-minded friend who wants to work out, too. Start your week by scheduling two workouts with a partner, whether it’s in person or virtually. Put it on the calendar and crush the workout together! Interacting with friends and family makes the experience more enjoyable while adding additional motivation to keep focused.
3. Pick a playlist
- Many of us are musically motivated so having the right tunes to help us move is a key ingredient. Take some time to craft your own playlist for specific workouts you plan to do. Music is very personal and working out falls in the category of me time. Listen to what gets you up, active and happy. You’ll find moving is easier to the beat of your own drum.
4. Choose feel-good workout clothes
- When you look good, you feel good! Whether you’re rocking your favorite band T-shirt, new workout clothes from Kroger’s dip apparel line or your favorite color, feel good in what you wear! As soon as you get home from work (or finish working in your home office), change into your workout clothes so you are less likely to back out.
5. Consume caffeine
- Caffeine before a workout = ready to conquer the world! Caffeine is an ergogenic aid, meaning it acts as a stimulant to improve your performance during physical activity. Your perception of the amount of effort you need to exert in a workout is less with caffeine intake. Be sure to consume it 20 minutes to an hour prior to exercise for maximum benefits. Additionally, do not drink it too late in the day, and choose caffeinated beverages that have minimal calories and/or added sugars.
Now that you have all the ingredients you need, working out could become the best part of your day! Have fun, snap a photo for social media and enjoy the sweat and the rewards.
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