What to Do If You Really Hate Working Out

And, no, the answer isn't "Don't work out."



Man, Refinery 29 is killing it lately with its brutally honest, diary-like confessional-style posts. The latest is a piece by Kelsey Miller, who sagely writes, “I hate running with the passion of a teething toddler. Here’s how I stopped hating it: I stopped doing it.”

That’s right, Be Wellers, it’s as easy as that: If you don’t like an activity you’re forcing yourself to do in the name of working out, you might as well stop doing it. After all, there’s no way you’ll actually stick with it if you don’t like it, so why put yourself through the misery?

Kelsey continues with a very honest, very insightful diary of how she’s changed her attitude—and approach—to daily workouts. How many of you can identify with this?

The big revelation has been that exercise does not necessarily have to be the worst part of my existence. Despite all the rhetoric about endorphins and post-workout benefits, I think most of us still hold the belief that your workout should be a nightmare. I have friends who drag themselves to spinning and then have to go home and lie in the fetal position for an hour before they can engage in human conversation again. (I also have friends who hop off the bike and go straight to brunch afterwards, but I’m 80% sure they’re cyborgs.) That’s not what I’m looking for. If fitness is really going to become a part of my daily life, then it has to be something I enjoy most of the time. So, I got off the treadmill.

Interestingly, the activity she discovers that she does like (I’m not going to spoil the surprise) is one I absolutely, positively can’t stand to do. Like, at all. The few times I’ve tried this particular machine at the gym, I last five, 10 minutes tops before retreating to the treadmill. Goes to show, there’s not a one-size-fits-all workout. You’ve got to try a LOT of different types of workouts—from classes to cardio machines to workout DVDs—in order to find the one or two that’ll stick.

A trainer once gave me really good advice: If you’re unsure about what kind of activity you might like (and all you know is that you haaaaate the treadmill), challenge yourself to work out three times a week for a month, doing something completely different each time you work out.

And it’s not like you need to take a financial risk to do it. Off the top of my head, here are a few places around town where your first class is free:

Body Cycle Studio
Nava Yoga Center
The Wall Cycling
• Flywheel Sports
• Lithe Method
• Unite Fitness (free trial)
RISE Gym (free orientation class and $5 boot camp on Saturdays)

And, of course, there are a boatload of cheap or free yoga options in the area. So what are you waiting for? Ready Kelsey’s piece, get inspired, then find a workout you don’t hate doing.