In the “Healthy Living” section of Yahoo! Shine, every article about working out is accompanied by dozens of comments from people who complain that they can’t work out at all because it’s too hard and not fun. I think that’s a bs excuse because there are so many types of workouts that if you can’t find one or two you like, you’re just being super lazy.
Every so often I like to scour Youtube to find new workout routines. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zumba, but I like to mix it up. I tried running for a couple months, but the shin splints were so bad (even when I was wearing good running shoes) that it wasn’t worth it. During the past few weeks I tried two new workouts. One was called Tonique. It’s a routine designed, unsurprisingly, to be the ultimate lower-body toning workout. I completed the first 23 minutes and had to stop. It was the most kick-butt routine I’ve ever done. I was dripping in sweat and my legs hurt for the next few days– the good kind of exercise burn you learn to appreciate once you get over the pain. But would I do it again? Probably not. Because it wasn’t fun. It was boring. After 5 minutes of jumping jacks and other cardio drills (which I like), came nearly 20 minutes of squat-centric exercises. You’d do a something like squatting and alternate raising your legs 30 times, then would do 15 reps staying with one leg, then 15 reps with the other leg, then you’d modify the squat slightly and do the same kind of reps again. It was almost 20 minutes of working the same muscles over and over again, which is both painful and seems like overkill. When I stopped we had moved on to the 20 minutes lunge-centric exercises (which basically also works the same muscles). Would it produce results if I stuck to it? No doubt. But would I dread working out and spend the whole time with my eyes glued to the clock praying for it to be over? No doubt.
The second workout I tried was called “Pump It Up.” It looks like a routine from the 80s or 90s (the workout outfit of the lead instructor makes me think of Xena, Warrior Princess, and it even has the token creepy, sweaty guy in too short shorts), but it was apparently just released in 2004. It’s a dance-type workout, like Zumba, and even though parts of it can make you feel like you’re in a porno (there’s a lot of hip thrusting in some sections….), it’s fun. And effective. My heart rate’s up and I can feel several different muscle groups being worked. I’m not in excruciating pain for several days afterwards, but that’s actually for the better, because then I can throw myself whole-heartedly into another workout the next day without having to hold back because it just hurts too much.
Basically, my point is that all workouts aren’t like Tonique. If you enjoy doing mindless squats and lunges for an hour, more power to you. But there are plenty of other options for those of us who don’t mind feeling the burn when we’re also having fun. Exercise being “not fun” is not an excuse, you just have to work a little harder to find what works for you 🙂