Columnist Cary Carr talks about her favorite workout companion, and how to add excitement to fitness.
Sometimes working out can seem like a chore, and when piling it on top of endless hours of homework, a part-time job and a time-consuming internship, it is hard to find the motivation to fit in a sweat session.
But with the right attitude and adjustments, you can start looking forward trips to the gym.
So how exactly can you hype yourself up to hit the treadmill and pick up the weights on a regular basis? There are more opportunities to have fun working out.
The easiest solution is varying your music choice. Most people bring an iPod or MP3 player to the gym; the ideal playlist can help inspire a more intense workout.
What you need is a mix of songs that complement your type of workout.
For cardio, fast-paced and up-beat music encourages a higher speed and stronger endurance. Songs with a strong, slower tempo, which can be found in classic rock, can help you concentrate and focus when lifting weights and toning. Soft melodies will relax you while stretching and winding down.
When I mix together some Black Eyed Peas, Aerosmith and Death Cab For Cutie, I find I work out longer and focus less on the calories burned and more on how much I like the artist or song.
No one wants to listen to their own heavy breathing and the stomping of their sneakers on the treadmill, but turn on some Lady Gaga, and you can put on your “poker face” and attack those three miles.
If music isn’t your thing, bringing the right buddy can help tackle couch- potato syndrome and cause you to look forward to exercising.
My all-star workout pal is always up for the gym, never rushes me during my cardio and inspires me to work to my full potential.
It doesn’t hurt that he makes me laugh so hard I barely need to do crunches. He is constantly checking out guys at the gym, always doing high-kicks and splits at the stretching mats and regularly busting out Britney Spears dance moves.
And while it may seem all we do is make fools of ourselves in public, he actually kicks my butt when it comes to toning. He counts my reps when I’m lifting weights, suggests new abdominal exercises and teaches me how to use machines.
That’s why he is the perfectly balanced gym buddy – a mixture between obnoxiously silly and inspirationally in-shape. Plus, we both keep each other in-check when we’re tempted to grab a box of pizza and hide out in front of the TV.
If you choose the route of the workout sidekick to spice up your routine, make sure the person is dedicated to exercising. If not, they could bring you down and curb your exercise goals.
Flying solo can still be fun. When I have a few extra bucks, which is rare, I like to shop for new workout gear. It may seem arbitrary, but when you have a new sports bra or sweat pants to wear, you may find yourself more excited to get your fitness on.
Ditch water and treat yourself to a new workout drink or flavored water. It can add excitement to a workout by changing up the routine. Just make sure the drink isn’t loaded with sodium or sugar.
Still, the true motivating factor is how good you will feel after exercising. Instead of contemplating whether or not you have the time or energy, get up, get changed and go. If you can add these extra little things to the benefits of working out, then you will never find yourself in a couch-ridden slump again.
Cary Carr can be reached at email@example.com.