Myth - exercise should be miserable, painful and feel like punishment

Stop doing what you hate to do

I have learnt over the past year that just because I haven’t been/can’t go to the gym doesn’t mean I have to stop exercising or that I have no options. I really do enjoy exercising so this is lesson has been very important to me. If you are someone who doesn’t really like structured exercise this is good news. I want to tell you, you can be fit and healthy without following a gruelling training plan. How many times have we said or heard ‘go hard or go home’, not a very compassionate phrase to use with ourselves if we want to make exercise a part of our lives.


Simply put it is about finding ways to move our bodies with intention and in a way also feels good to us individually. I really believe that exercise, in whatever form, not only should it enhance our life but it must feel good physically and emotionally. If your training program makes your life more complicated, makes you feel miserable, is leading to injuries or makes you miss out on other things in your life then it’s NOT GOOD for YOU.


When I first began my fitness journey in my early twenties I asked the gym instructor how long I should spend on the treadmill. His response was that I should run until I vomit. I believed him then and it ingrained a belief in me that exercise had to be painful, be punishment, it shouldn’t feel good and anything other than that meant I wasn’t training hard enough.


Thankfully, these days are gone for me, I know better.


What to do when you hate the gym.

Personally I love the gym, it’s dry, there is no wind and being around others motivates me. But so many clients have told me they don’t like the gym, that they don’t feel confident enough to go alone or they just find it boring. If that’s also you, the great news is that effective workouts don’t have to be in the gym.


Over the past year I’ve had to get a little bit creative with my workouts at home. From lifting water bottles, heavy bags, using sweeping brush handles, stepping on chairs to walking up and down the stairs. I thinking stepping outside my comfort zone of using machines, barbells and dumbbells really helped me create a more rounded fitness. We all have things around the house we can carry, press, squats or climb on. Implementing these ideas will help you increase your fitness, keep your mind busy, avoid boredom and have your own private gym. The little things you do for your help are not for nothing. Small steps over time are very impactful.


It might not necessarily be the gym. I often hear clients say they dislike running, crossfit, jumping or burpees to the floor. Whatever kind of exercise you dislike but continue to do because you’ve heard it’s good for you, STOP!


If you are dreading even beginning your workout because it involves something you don’t like that is not going to work long term.


Of course keeping active and doing exercise is very important but there is no magical specific exercise that is better than the rest. If you are coming away from your workout feeling worse than when you started then it is not enhancing your life. I will always find ways around or modifications to my clients plans so that they feel rejuvenated and positive leaving a workout. There is always a more enjoyable substitution out there.


Feel rejuvenated, strong & energised

As I mentioned, when I started exercising I really thought that unless I was sweating, my watch said a X kcals burned, I was dizzy or I felt sick that my workout didn’t ‘count’.

These days, regardless of whether I will do 20mins or 60mins the only standard I set myself is to finish feeling strong, energised and rejuvenated. There is plenty of stress going around and we simply don’t need another pressure point in our lives. If you feel like you’re struggling to hit targets, last a certain amount of time or you’re leave your workout feeling deflated and miserable then it’s time to make some changes.


But, I don’t know what I like to do.

There is so much information out there about the best and most effective workouts it tough to choose. To find the answers it will take some reflection. By asking yourself questions you can discover what is going to work THE BEST for YOU.


  1. Have you ever done an exercise class you felt unstoppable after?

  2. What kinds of equipment do you like using? Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, treadmills etc.

  3. Do you like taking rests between each exercise or do you enjoy a circuit style workout?

  4. How can I increase my activity without the gym? Hiking, walking, fitness classes, swimming or dance classes.

  5. Do I like to exercise alone, in a group, with a friend or have a trainer?

  6. What ways can I incorporate the above into my weekly routine?


If you need help figuring out what kind of exercise you might like or are in search of alternatives that’s where your personal trainer can help out. They should be able to set up a plan for you that is really enjoyable, takes your tastes into consideration and makes you feel fitter and stronger, energised and positive. When you train happier you will enjoy being more consistent and therefore more successful in the long run.


Remember exercise and healthful nutrition should enhance your life not make it more difficult.




19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All