What To Do When Fitness Stops Being Fun
I’ve talked about it on here before, but there was a time when I only wanted to run for exercise. I signed up for a half marathon with some work friends, trained, and then only wanted to do that for the next year plus. Prior to that, I enjoyed a combination of running and weight training in my local gym. Today, I enjoy strength training, Crossfit, and strength-inclusive HIIT workouts. It was easy when I enjoyed what I was doing, but what happens when fitness stops being fun?
By the time I had several half marathons under my belt, I felt my love for running waning. I dreaded going all the way out to where I normally liked to start running, I felt like it would take me forever to get there and back, and no mix of my favorite music would get me as excited as I used to get. Slowly, I realized that I had fallen out of love with running and came to the decision that it was time to let it go.
Exercise elicits many different responses from people. Some have completely opposite definitions of what exercise means, some love it, and some hate it. Here are some of my own tips on what to do when fitness stops being fun.
Take a break
Doing the same things over and over again can get boring and repetitive. If you’re always doing the same types of workouts or visiting the same studio classes, you may start to feel burned out with fitness. When this happens to me, I usually take a break. Whether that means a couple days more than normal or a week or two, I wait until I feel the urge to get back into what I was doing. Sometimes this looks like a complete break or just finding a simpler way to move like walking to more places in the city.
This works for me because I enjoy working out and I know that at some point I will feel pulled back into it. For someone who already has to force themselves to exercise, however, taking an extended break puts them at risk for losing motivation and stopping altogether. In cases like those, the next option may be more fitting.
Try something new
If your current workout routine is getting boring and monotonous, try looking for something different. If you want to switch up running, try biking or rowing. If you’re a fan of exercise classes, look for ones that are different from those you may have gotten too comfortable with.
If you have Classpass in your area, try it out for a month as a way to sample different types of classes. Check out studios or gyms near you for introductory or new client specials. You may be surprised at what you enjoy when you step outside your comfort zone.
Find a friend
Sometimes a friend (or friends) make all the difference. While I used to prefer working out alone, now I can’t stand it. I write workouts for clients and the last thing I want to do is write one for myself and then have to do it by myself. Working out with someone else a) helps keep me accountable and b) just makes me enjoy it that much more. I prefer classes for this reason and I have made a bunch of new friends by taking this route!
Find a goal
Sometimes having a goal is what you need to keep you motivated and moving forward. Each race that I ran meant that I was training for something specific. My current workout regimen is very predictable, but it’s because we work over time at building strength on specific movements. If I had no goal for some of the periods in my life, I’m not sure that fitness would have been as fun for me.
During my addiction, I had absolutely no interest in working out. I would sit on my couch, drink and do drugs, watch TV, and eat Cold Stone ice cream from the carton. When Neil and I were having our issues, I wanted to be out of the house as much as I could and I used exercise as a way for me to work through a lot of emotions that I was having. When I suffered my first big episode of depression in Chicago, I barely had the energy to get off the couch.
My point in giving you these anecdotes is to remind you to always check in with you. How are things going emotionally? How’s life? Are you overwhelmed? Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Sometimes we get so focused on the superficial that we forget to look deeper. By working on any underlying issues that we may have going on, it may help alleviate some of the ways they’ve manifested themselves in our lives.
If you’ve ever been here (and I know we all have), let me know in the comments what has helped you when fitness stops being fun!