Fitness Fun

Why We Hate Exercise And How to Fix it

The Deep-Rooted Beliefs That Make You Hate Exercise

Senior Workout - Hot and TiredMoving your body is essential if you want to get in shape. You might be able to ”drop a few pounds” without exercise, but what is that worth?

If you want the whole shebang—the trim and toned physique, the energy, the lean muscle to burn calories, the strong immune system, the confidence and the mood-boost—it requires regular physical activity.

… which often brings up the question: “How will I ever make a lifelong habit out of something I hate so much?”

Having motivation to exercise is one of the 10 behaviors essential to weight loss in “Think: Use Your Mind to Shrink Your Waistline.” And, like the other nine behaviors, it’s complicated: it requires changing deeply-held beliefs.

Motivation is not penciling exercise on your schedule, or putting your gym bag in your car the night before. Motivation is racing back home because you forgot your gym bag, and squeezing a 15-minute workout into a hectic day.

In short, motivation requires actually wanting to exercise—which takes major changes to our ingrained beliefs about exercise and our bodies.

Why We Associate Exercise with Punishment

Most people begin a fitness routine with the belief that exercise is a chore. “No pain, no gain,” they sigh as they lace up their trainers. But humans are hard-wired to choose pleasure over pain. So see how long that fitness regimen lasts you.

The truth, though, is that exercise is not pain. It’s not hard or time-consuming. And we don’t hate it. These beliefs have become cultural clichés, reinforced by the media and by companies selling ridiculous “passive exercise” gadgets.

They also conveniently mask a deeper, darker belief: that we will fail. We are afraid of being judged, feeling awkward or not knowing what to do.

Maybe you were the kid who brought doctors’ notes to gym class so you wouldn’t have to participate. Maybe you were always picked last for sports teams. Maybe you were the nerd, the asthmatic, the uncompetitive pushover, the new kid, the kid with a phobia of ball sports. Or maybe that was me… Anyway, these types of experiences are how stubborn exercise-aversion is formed.

To avoid humiliation, we start looping beliefs in our head to protect ourselves: I’m lazy. I’m not athletic. I’m more of a thinker. I don’t have time. Exercise is evil.

It’s all nonsense, of course. The human body was designed for physical exertion. And we were meant to enjoy it—exercise releases happiness chemicals, for heaven’s sake. As you build strength and endurance, feeling your muscles propel you up a mountain or around a track feels exhilarating. What does not feel exhilarating? Standing on a jiggling machine.

Exercise Motivation Starts with Changing Beliefs

So you see, motivation to exercise isn’t about learning how to punish yourself more often. It’s about learning to enjoy exercise. And changing deep-rooted negative beliefs is what’s hard.

This is why IdealShape approaches exercise motivation with hypnosis, helping people peel back the layers of the conscious mind and have a direct, positive, nurturing conversation with the subconscious mind. In addition to creating a CD for rewriting exercise beliefs, David addresses exercise beliefs in the new book Think, showing readers how to make exercise an effortless habit.

The payoff: exercise becomes fun. So much fun you might even find yourself saying, “Downton Abbey can wait.”

Get the Motivation to Exercise CD

Get “Think: Use Your Mind to Shrink Your Waistline”

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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