6 tricks to pushing through that difficult workout

Source: MS Clip art
Image source: Microsoft clipart
We've all been there. You know you need to workout but the very thought of pounding the treadmill or peddling away on the stationary bike feels like the equivalent of your high school gym teacher ordering you to walk up Mount Everest.  Whilst I am a huge fan of fitness games and group workout classes, sometimes I still find myself doing less than exciting cardio workouts. This is especially so if you're training for an event like a marathon or charity run. 

So how do you spice up these sorts of workouts?  
Below are a few tricks I've picked up over time:

1. Reading whilst working out
Stationary bike boring you? Once you've picked up the rhythm and pace you could try reading a book or Kindle. That way you distract yourself for ages and won't even notice the time passing. A difficult 15 minute workout could turn into a 30 minute workout on the same level!

This is perfect for busy people who only get time to themselves at the gym. You could take your favourite novel, a health magazine for inspiration, or in the case of students you could use this time to revise for an upcoming exam - think of it as learning whilst burning! That way you won't have to feel guilty for leaving your revision books in favour of burning the calories. 

2. Catch up with friends
Now I'm not suggesting you hold loud phone calls in the middle of the gym, though if you're using equipment at home then go for it! What I'm suggesting is that you keep your phone on silent and use this time to respond to emails/ Facebook messages/Tweets/Texts/ BBMs, you name it. Like tip 1, this is another distraction tactic as you'll be so wrapped up in your social networks that you'll lose track of time and burn calories in the process of being sociable! 


3. Audio books and games
If you're a runner (pavement or treadmill!) it'll be difficult to use tips 1 or 2, so you could instead distract yourself with your favourite audio book on your iPod, or use a compelling fitness app such as Zombies, Run! when motivate you to run away from fictitious enemies using it's compelling story line and your location. You can read more about the Zombies, Run! app here

4. Workout playlists
Perhaps the more traditional method of workout motivation. Simply download a supply of fast-pace music that makes you want to work out harder. Around January time many record labels release entire album dedicated to this purpose with the latest tracks. You can find many of them on iTunes and they tend to be cheaper the later in the year you purchase them. If you go to gym classes, you could ask the instructor for the track titles they use and download these for your iPod, that way, you'll already associate the music with getting your sweat on! 

5. Set a time goal
Before you get on a CV machine, set yourself a time goal e.g. 20 minutes and keep counting down mentally when it gets tough e.g. "Just 5 more minutes until the end, I can and will do this, don't quit now! Oh look, 4 minutes left! I've got this!"

6. Set a calorie goal
If setting a time goal isn't working for you, then how about a calorie goal? This works particularly well if you have a Heart Rate Monitor that counts calories for you and can be used for almost any exercise whether you're at home, in the park or in the gym. If you tell yourself you have to burn at least 200 calories for example, you will find it easier to push yourself when it gets tough. You could even aim to earn a treat food! For example, if I want a small ice cream for after my dinner, I could tell myself to burn a further 77 calories and then I can have one guilt free! 



  Your turn: Do you have any tricks that you use to motivate yourself to workout, or to survive that difficult workout?

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