Despite being a bit of a health-nut and in pretty good shape, I really hate working out. I can get into hiking, but I hate running (indoors or out), am bored with most indoor cardio activities, and just have a really hard time getting myself into the gym. While outdoor activities are great, I simply don't have time for them on a day-to-day basis. I'll be frank: I just don't like working out. I never get the endorphin rush that my friends tell me about, I don't feel good while I'm doing it, and in the moment, exercising is only about distracting myself from the fact that I'm exercising. Until recently I got by with one weekly outdoor activity, a low calorie & healthy diet, and the (very) occasional calisthenics routine, a la Liz Lemon.
Then, I turned thirty. So this year I've managed to force myself to go to the gym three times a week, every week, without fail. How did I do it? Here are my tips for getting started with working out:
1. Start with weights or calisthenics
Cardio is important, but it's not the type of activity you're going to see physical results from right away. So start with something that will pay you back quickly in the mirror. I recommend sit-ups. Start with 100...You CAN do 100 sit-ups (it may be slow and painful, but you'll hit that number eventually). Add 25-50/week and aim to be doing 250 sit-ups/session by the end of your first month working out. The great thing about doing 250 sit-ups (or 400, which is what I'm up to now), is that it doesn't take very long, only about 10 minutes, and it WILL show up in the mirror faster than most other exercises. My abs have been transformed, and while I still don't enjoy doing the sit-ups themselves, the fact that I'm seeing results makes it worth my while.
My current routine.
This has made a big difference in my abs!
2. Set a minimum for cardio.
It can be a really low minimum. Start with 10 minutes. You are allowed to go as easy/slow as you want during this 10 minutes. Some days you will do the lowest level 10 minutes, getting off as soon as the timer moves from 9:59 to 10:00. But you'll find that other days you decide to go a bit longer. Eventually you'll add on a few minutes. Or not. So long as you're doing *something* that's really what counts.
3. Distract yourself
What works for me is to set aside one TV show that I love, and to only let myself watch that show while I'm working out. You have to stick to your guns though. If Game of Thrones is only for your MWF workout, that's the only time you get to watch it, and if you want to watch a full episode you're gonna be staying on that Elliptical for a long time. For other people music, podcasts, or audiobooks work better. Just don't try to stick it out staring off into space. Having some source of distraction *does* make a difference.
4. Find a buddy, or a group of buddies.
I put a sign up in my apartment building's gym and got two responses in as many weeks. Now I have two workout buddies, and together we're going through the Insanity DVDs! If this strategy won't work for you, try signing up for a class (Groupon has tons of amazing deals on yoga classes in most cities).
5. Establish a routine.
Pick your days and stick to them. I put two of my three days on the weekend, because I know I have a tendency to sacrifice personal time during the work week. I also do it first thing in the morning, again, so it's harder to back out later if the day gets busy.