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How to Trick Your Mind into Loving Exercise


As a working mother and wife, my life is jam-packed with obligations. Careers and kids are amazing, but they're accompanied by an endless stream of tasks. As much as I want to look my best, when it comes to motivation and execution, I just don't use the little free time I have for things I don't enjoy doing.

During my maternity leave, I've had the chance to experiment with my exercise routine and have come to a conclusion, maybe even a revelation! For the last 37 years, I've been convinced that I simply hate working out. Going to gyms stresses me out. I can never think of what to do. Even after working with a trainer 100+ times, I'm completely lost and intimidated when facing gym equipment on my own. And with all the commitments in my life, I can't bring myself to spend my little free time trying to change that.

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My experience with a workout class this morning got me thinking. I took a great class on the beach, and while it was technically a boot camp, the instructor called it "Beach Bod." Had I seen "boot camp" on the schedule, I would have immediately associated it with painful, military style training and skipped it. I don't look good in army green and I have more than enough people in my life who like to shout in my direction. But "beach body?" I'm totally into that!

These might be semantics, but I'm not alone (People have been spinning and using stationary bikes for years, but when new, sexy studios like SoulCycle and Flywheel hit the fitness scene, exercise enthusiasts and converts couldn't get enough!) Desire plays a big part in our choices. We all desire great bodies, but not everyone desires (or even enjoys) intense exercise.

The key is to find an activity you do enjoy doing. I've always loved to dance, and I've always loved the water, so Zumba and swimming were obvious fits. But I've also discovered that I feel great after an intense gym class. The feeling of getting better at something for which you have zero natural ability is really gratifying.

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Your mind, not your body, is often what holds you back (What makes me put on my sneakers and put the fork down?). And the secret to change your mind about exercise just might be in the branding. After all, it's not what you say but how you say it that makes the difference for some people. Personally, if someone asks me if I want to get my butt kicked, I'll surely say no. But ask me if I want to look great and I'll sprint to class five minutes early, sporting new kicks and a great attitude. So yes, you can get me to run suicides, do tuck jumps, and crank out mountain climbers, but try calling them sexy strides, bunny hops, and Beyoncé booties and I'm a lot less likely to put up a fight.


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