Personal best: Make your workouts fun

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 10:03am

Hands up if you've ever had to drag yourself to a workout session. We all know the importance of regular exercise, but sticking to a routine isn't always easy, especially if the activity in question starts to feel like a chore.

Even if we have no problem committing ourselves to working out when we have to, it can be tough to keep at it if we don't enjoy what we're doing.

Personal fitness trainer Li Si Yang from Journey to Fitness agrees that boredom and a lack of motivation have a lot to do with people abandoning their workouts. "From what I've seen, much of this boredom is due to a lack of knowledge people have about exercise and their own bodies," she says. "It's only when we fully understand both that we start to get really creative. Creativity gets us excited and motivates us to be consistent."

Boredom may also set in if we've been working out for a while but aren't getting the results we want. It isn't just our mind that gets bored, but our muscles, too. To see results, our muscles also need to be challenged in interesting ways.

So switching our routine from time to time and making it fun not only ensures that we stick to the programme, it also works different muscle groups so that we get optimal results. When we see that what we're doing is working, we are more likely to enjoy it and stay committed to the plan.

Sam Naqvi, a trainer from Funky Fitness, says that he sees many people lose interest in working out after just two to three weeks of beginning an exercise programme.

"They expect an immediate physical transformation, and when that doesn't happen, they give up," he says.

"It takes six to eight weeks for a new habit to form, so it's important to choose a physical activity you enjoy, one that you know you'll still be doing several weeks and months down the track. If it's fun, you know you'll do it. Otherwise, you are just setting yourself up for failure." Here, fitness enthusiasts explain how to make exercise fun.

Sunita Shahdadpuri: I always plan something to look forward to after my power walks, like an iced flavoured coffee or a small sweet treat. Knowing that I have a reward waiting for me at the end of my walking route makes the workout so much more enjoyable.

Marie Monozca: As a marathoner, I love going for long runs with my fellow marathon runners. We chat while running, which is not only fun, it also makes the time go by quickly. Sometimes, a golf cart with a driver tails us and we'll stop every few kilometres to rehydrate or have a quick bite of our packed cut fruits or an energy bar. And before we know it, we've past our target of 15 kilometres.

Jason Lim: It's the people who make a place or an environment. So to spice up your gym sessions, it's important to choose a trainer who is open-minded and fun - for example, someone who is able to crack jokes during your workout to keep you motivated - and who is creative enough to vary your routine from time to time so you don't get bored.

Evelyn Goh: Exercise should feel like a hobby and not something to dread. I took up dancing as a way to keep fit, simply because I love moving my body to music. Now my dance classes are the highlight of my week - I can't get enough.

Luke Ng: Don't stick to just one physical activity. Once every few months, introduce a new workout to the mix so you'll not only exercise a new set of muscles, but you'll also have a chance to try something different.

Michael Fung: I work out for two hours at a time, which can feel tedious if I've had a long day. To motivate myself, I break down my workout into mini sessions. I love a challenge so it's always fun for me to try and meet these small goals.

Mandy Chia: I look forward to my weekly gym sessions if I know I have something nice to wear. I'm always looking for opportunities to show off my new gear."

Kenny Ho: I don't exercise, I play. When I think of all the fun sports I indulge in, like tennis, basketball and squash, there is no way they could ever be boring because I see them as games. At the end of the day, when it's time to sweat it out, I feel so excited because I know I'm going to have fun.