By Leigh Ann Thomas, Certified Personal Trainer

Summer has come and gone and the fall season is here. This means shorter days, cooler weather and pumpkin spice everything! Fall is such an exciting season that inspires us to get outside, enjoy time with friends and family, and kick-start our fitness routine before the holidays set in.  If you are like most people and put off exercise all summer due to traveling and relaxing, or simply because you didn’t want to, then fall is the perfect time to get back into the swing of things.  

Create a Positive Relationship

Everyone should have a strong, positive relationship with exercise. And though some may admit it’s a love-hate relationship, no one ever walked away saying, “I totally regret that workout.”  After all, the hardest part of working out is actually showing up, right? And regardless of your reason to exercise, the real goal is to commit to making exercise a sustainable component of your life, rather than a quick fix. Moreover, establishing a healthy relationship with exercise also helps create a more satisfying relationship with your body. Wondering how you can ignite that spark between you and exercise? Read on for some motivation and tips on how you can fall in love with fitness!

5 Tips on How You Can Fall In Love with Fitness

1. Find an Activity You Love – There is nothing better than spending time and energy on something that makes you happy! Especially doing an activity that fuels your energy, such as exercise! Do you really think you can commit to a workout that you hate doing? Probably not. So if you enjoy dancing and music, Zumba or a step aerobics class would be right up your alley! If you enjoy riding a bike, challenge yourself to join a spin class led by an instructor who will turn up the heat and really get you moving. Or if you lead a busy, hectic lifestyle, yoga or Pilates may help slow things down and restore balance. Put your passions and talents to good use and remember to have fun!

2. Set A Goal – Statistics show that those who develop and write down a (measurable) goal are 10 times as likely to achieve that goal, than if you never set a goal at all. This will ensure you stay focused, motivated and accountable.  When designing your goal, start small. Smaller goals are more realistic and measureable, which will help you be more successful.  For example, your new goal for the fall may be, “I will exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week for one month.  Then every week, set up your calendar and schedule your workouts. When you schedule your workouts like you would a business meeting or doctor’s visit, you’re more likely to view them as a priority, rather than a wish list item.  Goals that are vague with no deadline in place, such as, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” aren’t as motivating and people tend to get overwhelmed and give up.  Again, start small, have a deadline and create a plan of action.

3. Recruit A Workout Buddy – If you feel like you need the accountability of another person to help you stick to your goal, or you just enjoy their company, then reach out and phone a friend! When looking for a workout buddy, find someone who’s reliable and will be a strong, positive influence on you. When you workout with a partner, chances are you’re more likely to work harder than if you were working out alone, which is a huge bonus! And when looking back on how far you’ve come, there’s no one that can appreciate all your hard work more than your workout buddy!

4. Dress Up – You know what they say, “when you look good, you feel good!” There’s just something about wearing new shoes or a new outfit during a workout – it just gives you more confidence and a fresh pep in your step. With the seasons changing and the weather getting cooler, this is the perfect time to freshen up your fall/winter gym wardrobe.

5. Change It Up - You don’t always have to perform your workouts in a gym. Something as simple as a change of scenery can give you a fresh new take on your workout. Go for a bike ride or jog outside and soak up the fresh, crisp air. Or try a new studio to get a feel for a different atmosphere or to absorb the energy of a new crowd. There are a million different ways to exercise, but what really matters most is that you’re improving your health and enjoying yourself in the process.

During this season of change, let’s reset our thinking when it comes to exercise, by cultivating a life-long relationship with movement. No more focusing on the calories burned or the amount of time needed to workout.  No more overthinking and making excuses. As mentioned earlier, think about activities that you enjoy and start there. Before long, walks in the park turn into runs on a trail and bike rides along the beach turn into spin sessions at a studio. When you try to force something you hate, you’re doomed from the start. God gave us these powerful, capable bodies that are meant to live long healthy lives. Recognize what makes you happy and you’ll never look at exercise as work ever again!