Look Forward to Your Workouts

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Do you know you should get active as part of your diabetes prevention efforts, but dread your workouts? Then something is wrong, and the good news is that you can fix it. By choosing the right workouts for your workout personality, you can turn workouts into something you actually look forward to doing!

Here are some questions that can help you figure out your exercise personality so you can hit your exercise goals and get closer to preventing type 2 diabetes.

 

How Social Are You?


Are you an exercise introvert or extrovert?

Some people use their gym time as a quiet escape from everyone else and they want to be alone. Walking indoors or outdoors, stationary cycling, and working out at home can keep you isolated. Wear headphones (as long as conditions are safe) if you want to let others know that you want to be in your own world.

If you want to use your workout time to catch up with others, or you find that workouts pass faster when you are chatting, get an exercise buddy or a few to hit the gym or walk with you. You can also consider team sports - both the competition and the training can be social.

If you are in between a social exerciser and a solo exerciser, you might consider compromises such as group fitness classes or boot camps. You will be surrounded by people, but will not have the chance to chat.

Your exercise personality may be the same as or different from your personality in the rest of your life. Some social butterflies like to keep talking during their workouts, while other social butterflies crave some quiet time for their workouts. The same possibilities are there for quiet people.

 

Self-Direction or Following Instructions?


Some people like to take charge of their workouts and control every aspect so they can hit specific goals. Others like to have an expert tell them what to do so they can shut off their brains and know that they are still getting a great workout.

If you want to take charge, do a solo workout in the gym, at home, or in your neighborhood or at a park. If you want someone else to direct you, consider group fitness or a sport in which you have a coach providing you with workouts, or working out with a buddy who likes to come up with workout ideas. You can also consider hiring a personal trainer. This can be pricey, but you may be able to get a deal by sharing your trainer with one or two buddies at each session.

Again, this may be different from your real-life personality. You may be a high-powered exec or head of household directing a few children and need a break from taking charge, or you may like to be in the shadow normally and want to direct your workouts.

 

Change or Consistency? 


Some people need change to prevent boredom, while others need the comfort of consistent workouts. If you like consistency, consider traditional cardio equipment and routines, such as 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and then a few minutes of lifting weights.

If you get bored doing the same thing too frequently or more than a few times, you might want to consider trying all the group fitness classes at a gym. They are often included with membership and can include variety from pilates and cardio toning to aerobics and dance fitness. Plus, many instructors change their classes each week. Other ways to have an ever-changing fitness routine are to use online services and internet searches to find new workouts.

 

Focused or Multitasking?


We are not talking about working out while working or texting. This question is about whether you can get away for a workout, or whether your only workout options involve being with kids. If you can get away, you can do whatever you please.

If you need to be with your children, you still have plenty of options. 

  • Walk or jog while your kids bike, either on a safe sidewalk or in a park or on a jogging track.

  • Use babies (safely) as weights while you do squats, lunges, and chops.

  • Play tag. 

  • Dance with kids of any age.

  • Play with them on the climbing toy at the park and do calisthenics during “down” times.

 

Goal or Process?


Do you enjoy working out for the sake of working out? Are you satisfied when you finish a workout? Or do you prefer to use workouts as a means to achieve a fitness goal? If you like the process, any workouts that you enjoy will work, such as walking, dance classes, and kickboxing classes. If you need a goal, consider competing in individual or team sports, such as tennis or soccer, or signing up for a rock climbing trip or a 5k run or walk that you can train for.

 

Traditional or Novel?


Do you want to do things that you have done before, or do you want to try new workouts? Some people like “tried and true” activities, such as brisk walking, hiking, swimming, and aerobics. Other people need something different, whether a circus class, rock climbing, kayaking, or hip-hop classes. For ideas, ask around at your local gym and search online for activities you may not have thought about before.

Whatever workouts you choose, and however you turn them into one of the best parts of your day, you can make them even better with a few easy steps. Remember to thank yourself when you are finished and appreciate what you did. Log your workout in Lark so that your Lark coach knows to count it towards your activity total and give you the praise you deserve. Finally, you might want to reward yourself with a small gift, such as a pedicure or a new workout top or shorts, when you hit goals such as working out 5 days a week for 2 weeks.

 

Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Assistant Professor of Public Health