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I was recently in a session with a client who's been working with me for several months and she asked if she'd ever start to like working out. It's common for folks to have the expectation that you'll eventually start to like your workouts. For many folks, this is accurate, but it doesn't work this way for everyone.

If you find that you aren't enjoying moving your body, there might be a few things to try that might help you find movement you enjoy.

  1. Experiment with trying some different activities to see if you can find something that you enjoy. If you don't like the gym, try alternative exercises like dancing, hiking, swimming, or team sports. When you enjoy the activity, you're more likely to look forward to it.

  2. Workout with friends or join classes. Socializing while exercising can make the experience more enjoyable. Consider joining fitness classes or group activities to meet like-minded individuals and add a social aspect to your workouts.

  3. Create a motivating environment: Make your workout space comfortable and enjoyable. Play your favorite music or listen to inspiring podcasts to keep you engaged during exercise. I love a good podcast while I'm walking outside, and while I'm lifting, some intense music can be awesome, but I'm also just as likely to be blasting the Grateful Dead while doing my squat workout.

For some people, this stuff might not do much more than make movement feel tolerable. If this is you, that's okay. If you see the benefit in a movement routine, and just want to get to a point where you feel neutral about it and can just get it done, that is a totally appropriate and achievable goal.

Sometimes it's worth exploring a bit about why you dislike workouts. For a lot of the people I work with, there are past negative experiences with movement that have colored their feelings about exercise. That may include gym class trauma (it's a real thing), bad experiences with trainers, embarrassing fitness class experience...the list goes on, sadly. Maybe exercise just feels uncomfortable, and you don't enjoy that part. If you can unpack why, sometimes you can find a work-around there, but just like not everyone likes cooking but we all gotta eat, not everyone enjoys exercise. Finding a way to move that might not be "joyful" but is not fully miserable might be the goal for you, and that's okay!

a Black woman with locs and a sweaty sheen drinks from a water bottle after her workout

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