How To Make Yourself Exercise If You Hate It

My trainers languished, forgotten in a cupboard, until very recently...

I never thought I'd blog about exercise. I've been avoiding it for a long time. At school I dreaded PE lessons and felt massively relieved whenever they were done for the week.

However, I've come to realise that exercise is a necessary evil and that I really need to strengthen my stomach muscles to help my back. You could say that I've been scared into doing it, but to be honest, fear wasn't enough. I've always known that it was something I was supposed to do, but I'd never successfully gotten into the habit, until now.

At the end of the day, guilt isn't enough. I need to make the exercise itself more tolerable, otherwise I'll just come up with excuses not to do it.

The following steps explain how I've managed to get myself to exercise three times a week. I hope they help anyone who is as reluctant to exercise as I was...er, am!

Step One: Find a tolerable form of exercise

Yes, most exercise is boring. But there are probably some activities that you find less boring than others.

For example, after reading too many blogs about it, I decided that I would try running. Everybody sounded so positive! There was a Couch to 5K podcast! Whoo!

I completely ignored the fact that every time I tried running at school, I hated it passionately. Guess what? I may be in my mid-twenties now, but I still hate running! Running means going outside, wearing clothes I'd never ordinarily wear outside the house, embarrassing myself in front of other people, and getting cold. It also makes me feel terrible. My gums itch in the cold and I get a stitch very quickly.

I also tried Blogilates a couple of times before I decided that I cannot do it because of the shape of my back. I have a particularly curved lower spine and any mat-based exercise will end in tears as my tailbone gets sore from being bashed into the floor. Maybe I'll try it again when I'm more fit, but for now it's off the menu.

I decided that I like DVDs. They can be followed inside, whilst standing up! I can wear old clothes, put music on, and pretend I'm dancing in a nightclub. Nobody needs to see me do it. It's still not really fun - if I were actually in a nightclub I could have a cocktail and would be wearing a nice dress rather than a pair of shorts and a top that I've had since I was 14 - but I'm not terrible at it and I've gotten results quite quickly.

If there is literally no form of exercise that you enjoy, then just pick one that you can do. There are ways to make it easier to tolerate:

Step Two: Make the Exercise Itself Less Tedious

Some people may find that they can make themselves exercise with the promise of a reward. E.g.: if they exercise three times a week for a month, they can get that dress they've been after or they can eat a slice of cake after every session of swimming or something.

This may work for you, but isn't enough for me. I am Scrooge to myself and hate spending money. When it came time to get the reward I wouldn't buy it and I know this, which puts me off following the stick. I know myself. I won't buy the carrot.

So instead I have to make exercising itself less horrible and boring. If you can find a form of exercise you actually like, well done! Personally, I prefer to exercise inside my house so that I can be warm and I won't feel self-conscious or have to spend time travelling to and from a gym.

I rely on DVDs. I tried a Zumba DVD but I couldn't follow the moves, so I'm currently using the Davina Body Buff DVD, which is great. None of the presenters, including Davina, are annoying, there is a low-ability version of the main workouts, I can skip the mat sections, and it has SUBTITLES. Subtitles are vital for me because that means that I can turn the sound off and play my own music over the top instead of listening to the bland dance music on the actual DVD. I find being able to hear my own breathing really distracting, so it helps with that too. I have a playlist that I keep adding to whenever I hear a track I like that has the right tempo. Other ideas that might help you:
  • Exercise with a friend so that you can chat and provide each other with moral support
  • Buy yourself nice clothes to wear to exercise so that you feel good
  • Listen to audiobooks or podcasts at the gym or while walking or running
  • Dress up (probably shouldn't wear makeup, unless you want your skin to hate you) and make some non-alcoholic cocktails and pretend you're clubbing when you're actually doing cardio
  • Do stretches or jog on the spot or run (or do a whole cardio routine if you've memorised it and can multitask to that extent) whilst watching TV, films, or YouTube videos

Step Three: Make It Easy To Keep Doing

My Davina Body Buff DVD allows you to transfer a 'Digital Copy' onto your computer so I don't even have to bother taking it out of the box. I keep my trainers in the same room and my workout clothes in a pile beside them. All I have to do is get changed, put up my hair, and prepare some large glasses of water!

I've recently started exercising first thing, before breakfast, so that I don't have to sit around digesting, and also because when I used to exercise later in the day I'd often find some way to weasel out of it. Getting it over and done with first thing stops the excuses and allows me to spend my day filled with pride!

But you might hate the idea of getting out of bed and doing a workout, and find that you need to exercise straight after work, or before lunch if you work from home. Make it as easy for yourself as possible.

Step Four: Don't Get Carried Away and Start Thinking That You Like It

If you are a committed exercise-hater, find out the minimum you have to do to make a difference/stay healthy. Don't get carried away and try to make yourself do more, unless you actually start to enjoy it, because if you're anything like me you'll just rebel and end up not doing anything.

Keep adding tracks to your playlist. If your workout buddies stop turning up, find new ones. If you feel the slightest bit bored, try something different. Be relentless in your pursuit of tolerable exercise.

Do you love or hate to exercise? If you're a fellow exercise-hater, how do you manage to keep fit? Do you have any advice? If you have any DVD recommendations, I'd love to see them!


    Monday Amusements 28

    There was finally enough sunshine for an EOTD last Thursday! This is mostly 'Sea of Love' by Aromaleigh. I applied it all over my lids, it looks like there is black in the crease but that's just a shadow. I also used the white from the Sleek Circus palette under my brows and Bourjois' discontinued 'Illuminateur du regard' in the inner corners.  I really want to do more EOTDs but I'm not a brilliant photographer and don't have much equipment so I can only get decent pictures on sunny days.

    Tanya at Girlxoxo wrote about how much she likes the app Any.do, which I have been trialling recently. I have decided that although I like using Any.do for keeping a running total of things to do, and for setting reminders for tasks that need to be done on a specific date/timers, I like to write my actual daily to-do list down on paper, so that it's in front of me on my desk at all times. You can't have a digital to-do list open at all times, if your to-do list is as big as mine always is - unless you have a device just for your to-do list, which would be ridiculous!

    Robyn reviewed the perfume Alien, by Thierry Mugler, which now I really want to try as I love jasmine. For years, although I've pretty much always been obsessed by makeup, I knew absolutely nothing about perfume at all. I'd never even liked a perfume until one day I tried a few in a shop and discovered Nina, by Nina Ricci. Finally finding a perfume I liked opened my mind and I started googling perfume reviews and trying more different scents in a bid to work out what I liked. I quickly worked out that I love jasmine, which is apparently the Marmite of the perfume world. It seems like you either love it and think it's one of the sexiest smells on earth or you hate it and think it smells of cat pee, or maybe, as one of my friends says, bathroom cleaner.

    DIY: Spacifying stuff. Yes, that is a tutorial for making things look like space. You're welcome.

    Another, simpler DIY - a lace trimmed skirt.

    I haven't been adding much to my wishlist lately, but the Revlon Highlighting Palette in 'Rose Glow' looks so lovely in Hannah at Midnight Violets' review, and the MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers, reviewed by Jane at Blush. Feathers. Lipstick. sounded so awesome. I just had to bookmark them.

    Lauren Laverne explains why she cares about fashion.

    This heart bun is really pretty, but my hair is probably still a bit too short for it at the moment, I'll have to try it in the summer.

    Finally, a dog, on the beach, in strong wind!


    Monday Amusements 27

    Almost all of my purple nail polishes. This is why I'm on a no-buy.

    Even though I do live in London, I loved Kate at gh0stparties's 5 Things: Blogging Outside of London post. London is so familiar to me that although I like reading about other Londoner's new discoveries and old favourites, I actually enjoy reading blogs by people in other parts of the UK more. It's like going on a little holiday in my mind and it's really handy to have those blogs to refer to when I do actually get to visit those places!

    Stay Beautiful features a super-cheap dupe of Benefit's Porefessional.

    I've never tried a matte lipstick and I'm not sure that it would suit me, but nonetheless, Katie's Beauty Blog has got me lusting after the new Revlon Colourburst Matte Balms.

    I'm feeling like I'm in a bit of a hairstyle rut. Dreams That Glitter xoxo may have the answer.

    Jane at Blush. Feathers. Lipstick. is giving away an ELF Disney Villains Maleficent Look Book. I love Maleficent and am quite excited about the movie. Hopefully it will be better than Once Upon a Time, which I am only just about still watching!

    Hellcandy has launched a YouTube channel with a step-by-step eyeliner tutorial. I have watched and loved many an eyeliner tutorial in my time (here are some of my favourites) but I have to say that this one is still useful! I really like the way she describes angling her hands.

    The last moisturiser I tried has turned out to be a bit of a dud, so Sparklyvodka's Moisturiser Medley has come at the ideal time.

    Finally, the cutest catfight of all!


    Nails of the Month January 2014

    Models Own 'Southern Lights' from the Wonderland Collection (£5)

    I didn't change my nail varnish very much in January, mostly because I applied this in the first week and loved it so much I left it on until it started to properly chip, which took ages. Although a large piece chipped off my right thumbnail on the third day and I had to repaint that nail, that must have been a fluke and otherwise I just got only minor tipwear, even without a base coat. This is only one coat of polish. It was hard to apply evenly but it doesn't really matter as the holo effect hides almost every mistake. It’s slightly lilac-toned and lovely. I'm pretty sure I didn't take it off until the third week!

    Barry M 322 Instant Nail Effects Purple (£3.99)

    This is the second time I've tried this polish. It definitely looks best over a light base polish. I tried it before over dark glitter and it looked so rubbish I didn't bother Instagramming it! When you first put it on (and this is true of the black version as well) it looks quite matte and dull but after a day or two it gets shinier. It does wear off the tips quite quickly but you can always put more on. Crackle polishes can cover a multitude of sins.

    I did wear the silver polish on its own for a couple of days before I put the crackle on, but as it's from a brand that was discontinued about 8 years ago (Kolor, a former Superdrug own-brand) I didn't take any photos.

    I read the other day that apparently grey is the next big fashion trend in nail polish. Unfortunately I can't remember where, if I do I'll edit this and put in a link. I own a few silvers but not a single grey. I love grey in clothes but I don't think I want it on my nails - I prefer bright or glittery nail polishes.

    Have you read anything about upcoming nail polish trends? Do you care about what's in or do you pick out polishes to match your mood or personal style?
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