Seeing improvements in our fitness is what everyone wants. However sacrificing enjoyment at the cost of doing so makes exercising a whole lot harder. We will all have ups and downs on our fitness journey and some days will be harder than others. Even so, enjoying the process of getting fitter should remain. If it doesn’t it may be time to re-evaluate and mix things up to re-discover the fun in fitness.
Read time: 10 minutes
Finding our why…
When we choose to start training, there may be an end goal of losing some weight or getting ready for an event. However, we generally we choose to start training in a certain way because we get enjoyment from it. Admittedly, not everything we do to improve our fitness is enjoyable – running is a love hate thing for me – but on the whole we choose methods that we don’t mind doing.
I mean, think about it, no one actually forces us to start doing burpee’s or lifting weights. Overtime those of us that stick at it (hopefully the ones reading this) will begin to see results that were once a goal. It’s very rare that we start training in a certain way and keep at it if we don’t enjoy it. If that’s the case we normally move on and try something else.
For me, there is a level of excitement every time I go into the gym and then even more when I’m training and I see progress. This should be the same for all of us, this is enjoyment. At a very basic level we should be getting a kick out of what we are doing.
Process and progress…
Over time, fitness levels will increase. Faster times, increasing weight, a better body, whatever it may be it all forms part of the process. Results come from putting more time and effort into what we do. What may have initially been a long-term goal is now a day-to-day achievement. This is great, however, it is also the point at which some of us become conflicted in why we train. Before we know it we are training solely for results and performance and not just for enjoyment or to see improvements in our fitness.
When we hit this stage on our fitness journey, we have lost the reason we started. It’s not uncommon to apply pressure and worry upon ourselves. We lose the excitement of working on our fitness because we feel as though we have to.
As I mentioned earlier, we have to do some exercises we don’t enjoy – To get better we have to work weaknesses. Fundamentally, this is how we improve, although this can also become quite demanding. Constantly performing workouts or movements we struggle with can be draining physically and mentally. It can feel like we are getting nowhere and may seem like we are putting in effort with no improvement. This article from Boxlife magazine has a great piece looking at how to enjoy training again after burn out.
Knowing what to do…
When we do hit this slump, it is important to remember why we started on out fitness journey and to shift our focus to enjoying the process again. I like to keep bits of motivation to hand that can help with this. For example, the video below is a good example on how to refocus on the why behind training.
I personally find that if things are beating me up to the point where I stop enjoying training I need to take a step back. If we are mentally or physically drained, the enjoyment of the process has gone and motivation is low, we won’t be able to push as hard. If this is the case, our fitness will suffer. It is not shameful or weak to take a step back, it may be exactly what is need.
No matter how much we want to improve our fitness, we should never sacrifice enjoyment at the cost of doing so. When faced with this problem, have a few days performing workouts purely for the fun of things. Do the lifts we enjoy, rest more, eat the food we want. What ever it is, doing so can work wonders.
Try to never lose sight of the fact that the process of training should bring us enjoyment and this should always remain. The goal should be to rediscover the enjoyment behind our fitness journey. Taking time to do this will enable us to start pushing again, the results will follow.