Personalize Your Exercise Plan to Make it Stick

Fun Exercise Lasts Longer

thinking croppedI’ve been doing lots of thinking about this topic… FUN….Make your exercise plan fun for you and odds are that you’ll stick with it much longer.

Here is the first question: What, of all the exercise you could do, sounds like the most fun? It doesn’t have to be something traditional or something anyone else would choose.

When I thought about it, I realized:

  • I like to be outside.
  • Given a choice, I’d choose things like raking, walking, moving piles of wood, even chopping wood.
  • If I something catches my fancy, I stick with it for much longer, and not even notice the time passing.
  • Because of this, the next day, I’d actually feel the results, just as if I signed up for a good workout class.

If you don’t like traditional fitness regimens or work out classes, pick something else – anything that makes you move your body. Whatever you want. I happen to be fascinated with the way muscles grow strong, which leads me to try all sorts of off-the-wall things. Once I even shoveled two pickup truckloads of landscaping rocks just to see if I could do it. I was pretty damn pleased with myself too and had a great workout.

Okay, that might not be your idea of fun, but, once you expand your horizons, the opportunities are endless. I once ran the usual road races or signed up for 10-week fitness classes, etc. They all worked well, for a long time. I ran more 5Ks and 10Ks than I can count. I signed up for all kinds of fitness classes – jazzercise, kickboxing, pilates, kettle bells, you name it. But eventually, I’d get bored and stop going.

So this year, after several years of no road races, I signed up for a few because they were hilarious.

Here’s one:  The Austin Gorilla Run

austin gorillas

There I was, with 1300 gorillas, chasing a banana….

Just happened upon this one while we were staying in Austin, TX in February. This is a fundraiser for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, to keep Dian Fossey’s dream alive. Sign up and you get a complete gorilla suit, free beer and constant laughs. I hadn’t even been running much but thought, why not?

Yellow gorilla

That’s me in the skin-tight yellow t-shirt…

I went into this race with nothing but fun in mind, and turns out, I ran my best 5K EVER – full fur suit and all. Makes you really stop and think about how you approach exercise, doesn’t it?

Hands down, the Gorilla Run was the most fun road race I’ve ever run. It inspired me to add some new fitness events back into my routine – but only if they made me smile….

Next fun thing: Warrior Dash

warrior flames

1 of 16 obstacles in the Warrior Dash

I discovered this race this summer. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a “mud crawling, fire leaping extreme 5K from hell” as described on their website. What a riot! I wasn’t sure how to train, IF I should train or how I’d do on the course.

But after I checked out the photos and the video on their website, I was intrigued enough to send out an invite to my friends to join me.

These races are all the rage right now – this race had thousands of runners, released in waves of 500 every half hour. The only taker was my brother-in-law, warrior dash mud pitbut we had a lot of fans there to cheer us on.

The course had 16 obstacles including climbing rope walls, crawling in trenches under barbed wire, mud trenches, a wrecked car obstacle course – all between short runs to add up to a 5K. I have to admit I haven’t tried some of these things since I was a kid, but was surprised at how much I could really accomplish once I quit worrying about getting dirty and just played. Fun.

Most of us weren’t taking it too seriously. The people watching and the costumes were AA++. In the end, we got a pretty good workout and laughed ourselves sick. Cold beer cooled us down. One more way to get the body moving…

On the lookout for other fun things to do….send your suggestions over!

Categories: Fitness

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