Hate exercising? Here are 8 expert tips to help you truly enjoy your workouts

How to enjoy your workouts even if you hate exercising

Person working out in their living room
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The new year brings with a raft of new resolutions as well as spending sprees on new gear. But what if you’re lacking motivation? What if you hate exercising and the thought of picking up a pair of dumbbells or stepping onto a treadmill leaves you feeling cold?

To be fair, many people feel like this all year round. Even professional athletes sometimes struggle with motivation, so you’re not alone if you’re finding it difficult to pull on your gym kit, start your workout and get fit for 2022

There are tricks and hacks to help get you started, though. Thanks to Flo Seabright, a personal trainer, nutritionist and founder of FBF Collective, and Stuart Jack, nutritionist and co-founder of Musclemary, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to inspire you to find joy in working out in 2022.

“Remember that exercise is for everyone, and everyone has their own starting point and subsequent journey,” says Seabright. “Be kind and allow yourself to steadily build confidence from exercising at home.”

So whether you need the inspiration to get on your treadmill, climb aboard your indoor bike or pick up your dumbbells, we have advice for you below. And come February, every training session will be full of joy. 

Ignore Instagram

First thing: stop scrolling through Instagram – if you can, delete it from your phone. Not only will you reap the mental health benefits, but it’s also packed with imagery that can make you want to give up before you’ve even climbed out of bed. Six-packs, shredded abs, booty workouts – erase those seemingly perfect images from your mind and instead train in a way that suits you.

“Maybe you want to build cardiovascular fitness, run a marathon or just get rid of your aches and pains,” says Seabright. Whatever your aim, keep that in mind and try to remember that the carefully posed images you see aren’t always what they seem.

person walking on a sea front listening to music

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Start small

Don’t worry about jumping into multiple workouts a week – pick something you hate the least and start building some consistency with that. “It could be as small as going on occasional longer dog walks, taking a group fitness class or trying a 15-minute at-home workout,” says Seabright. “Everyone has to start somewhere, so set yourself realistic targets and goals and build from there.”

Add your workouts to your calendar

Our 2022 calendars are already packed with work commitments, social engagements, family events and other admin, and they will only get fuller. As a result, it’s easy to let your fitness and nutrition be pushed to the side by what seems like more important day-to-day tasks. 

To avoid this, Seabright recommends scheduling your training like you schedule your work. “Set time aside on Sunday night to block out a few slots in the upcoming week where you’re going to train, go for a walk, do an at-home workout or even just give yourself enough time to cook a nutritious meal. If it’s in your schedule, you’re far more likely to actually do it.”

person smiling carrying a gym bag on a race track

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pack your bag the night before

Two easy tips in one here: avoid looking out of the window until you’re in your kit (if you’re going out for a run) and pack your gym bag the night before your morning workout so you can get up and get straight to it. “Preparing in advance will reduce the risk of the spur of the moment decision to say ‘not today’,” says Seabright.

Try new sports

Jack recommends trying as many different forms of exercise as you can so you find something you enjoy. “For many people, the gym doesn’t motivate them so it’s hard to be consistent and it can feel like a chore. If that’s you, have a go at some different sports: yoga, Pilates or a brisk walk. The most important things are consistency and commitment.”

Here are some workouts for you to consider: the best full-body workout (with weights), best kettlebell workout (you'll only need one kettlebell), best HIIT workout and finally, the best callisthenics home workout.

Three people exercising in a park

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Get some accountability

This could be from a friend, family member, work colleague or coach but accountability and support can make a huge difference, especially at the beginning of your fitness journey. Ensure you regularly check in with each other – be that a simple WhatsApp prompt to motivate pre-workout or arrange time to run or cycle together, whether in real life or on a virtual training app like Zwift.  

Build strong habits

Don’t wait for motivation to hit, as often you’ll find that you could be waiting a long time. “Even the most consistent athletes aren’t motivated all the time, they just have strong habits that tide them over when motivation is low,” says Seabright. 

“Think about building habits and a routine and be consistent – that is what will get you the best results.”

Rewards can be useful

If you need something to motivate you, why not bribe yourself to do the hard work? “One technique I use with clients is a money jar,” says Jack. “Start by identifying something you want to buy, for example, a pair of shoes. Every day you have a good day be it exercising, eating well, whatever goal you have, put a little money in the jar. If you have a bad day, take away the same amount, and after 30 good days in a row you’ve earned those new shoes.” 

Get Fit for 2021!

This feature is part of T3's Get Fit 2022 campaign. We’ll be bringing you a wealth of guides, features, deals and news to help you get healthy, fit and ready for anything the new year can throw at you. Whether you’re a newcomer to fitness or someone with a passion for it, we’ll bring you all the best workouts, diet advice and gear to set you on the right track.

Howard Calvert
Freelance fitness writer

When not seeking out new running and cycling trails, Howard writes about all things health and fitness. As well as T3, he's written for a plethora of websites, newspapers and magazines including Runner’s World, Cycling Weekly, Trail Running, Women’s Running, ShortList, Fit&Well, Red Bulletin and Wareable. When not running ultramarathons he's taking on MTB singletrack trails and hiking all around the world. As a side hustle, Howard is also on an ongoing quest to find the country’s best cinnamon bun.