Bored with your workout routine? Looking to change things up? Tired of feeling guilty for your lack of motivation? This post will help you unlock the KEY to carefree fitness! Get back to doing what you love and actually ENJOYING exercise again.
Running is my favorite form of exercise….hands down. But since I haven’t been able to run since early January, I’ve had to get pretty creative with my workouts this year.
I’ve alternated between cross-training, weeks of just walking, time off completely, and sometimes just wanting to pull my hair out because all I want to do is run but simply CAN’T. It’s hard to ‘force’ yourself to go exercise just for the sake of it when you’re not able to do the type of movement you actually want to do.
A lot of the time throughout my time off running, the exercise I’ve taken part in has felt forced, has provoked anxiety instead of helping it, and has not felt ‘right’ for my body and mind.
Luckily, I’ve come a long way from the beginning the of the year in being able to deal with my physical setbacks, and I now feel I know what it takes to keep exercise habits maintainable given my current physical abilities. The best way I could describe my exercise nowadays is CAREFREE.
And that’s the way workouts should be. No pressure, no strictness, and no constraints (on time or intensity!). Movement should be natural…it should be about fun! So, today I want to share some of the tips I’ve instituted to make sure my workouts are just that!
Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to break it
Let’s face it, people are busy and working out is just one more ‘to-do’ that people put on their lists. It’s good to have a loose plan on how you’ll fit in fitness during the week with some idea of the activity you’d like to do. But the important thing is to not stress if that plan doesn’t come to fruition. Things come up, life happens, and workouts should not be the be all end of all what decides your mood or daily happiness. I used to plan my days around workouts…that was a sad existence. It feel so much more free to just fit in fitness where it fits.
Work towards active living, don’t live for workouts
By just trying to simply live more actively, you’ll take the stress and worry out of trying to fit in workouts. Think more about moving more daily rather than a specific, formal, planned workout. Walking to take a break from work, riding your bike for commuting purposes, or doing more work at a stand desk as opposed to in a chair! Little things like this add up. And frankly, it’s a lot better to be moderately active all day than to just do a ‘workout’ and then be sedentary for the rest of the time! Plus, active living is just simply more enjoyable. I LOVE moving…and when it feels naturally incorporated into my day, I feel my best.
Don’t make time goals
I used to think that a workout only counted if it was a certain length of time. Even if it’s intensity was higher than another type of workout, the length of time mattered to me in terms of feeling accomplished or that I truly ‘did something’. The truth is, any movement is good and healthy. Whether you’re running for ten minutes, strength training for a half an hour, or biking to and from work. It’s all good for you. And let’s talk about intensity….if you are doing a high intensity workout then you definitely don’t need to be focusing on working out for a long time. The point of those types of workouts are to be quick and efficient. So for your next workout, don’t determine when it ends by time, determine when it’s over by how you feel and if you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do….just to move your body a bit!
Try new things
Over the course of my time off running, I’ve BROKEN out of a ton of ruts! Part of this came through trying a bunch of new ways of exercising and learning to embrace different types of workouts. Some lower intensity, some higher intensity, some slower, some more strength based….but all involving some sort of movement and all good for me in different ways. I fell in love with stand up paddle boarding and kayaking, realized I’m not a big fan of barre or spinning, and learned that sometimes it’s more important to challenge my mind than it is to challenge my body. Trying new types of activity keeps things fresh! It keeps you guessing and makes it so you don’t get stuck in rigid routines. I am so excited knowing that my exercise regime (or really lack thereof!) involves all different types of activities now. Long gone are the days of having to hit certain mileage, doing a certain amount of strength work, or exercising for a certain amount of time!
So I challenge you, freshen up your routine! Implement some of these tips and start approaching fitness with a more carefree mindset. Believe me, it’s a lot better when things aren’t so serious. Fitness and working out isn’t everything…they are just things. Things that I definitely enjoy and like in my life….but no longer my EVERYTHING. And man, does it feel good to feel that!
Out of all the tips I shared, I just want to stress how helpful ‘freshening’ things up by shaking up my regular routine was! The best way I can think of to get out of a rut is to do a 180 on what you usually do. Bring some spontaneity into your life, change your plans, and challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone (more mentally than physically!).
After doing all these things, I truly do feel FRESH. Fresh take on life, fresh mindset, and a fresh perspective on my relationship with exercise.
How do you keep things new and fresh with your workout routine?
Do you feel your approach to working out is ‘carefree’?
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