Friday, November 4, 2011

Group Outdoor Training: How to take Working Out from Painful to Awesome! by Anders N W Lindgreen

There are many non-fitness converts out there asking themselves when exercise begins to become fun. Everyone is always talking about enjoying exercise and having fun doing it, but some people just seriously loathe it. And that is okay. There are generally three things that will increase the fun factor for participants; improvements and results, social value and the experience in itself.

Improvements and Results

Exercise can definitely be tedious work until you start to see improvements and even when progression starts there will be the occasional step back and there will be workouts where you'd rather be someplace else. It's the same with everything. Even if you love your job, you have days where you'd rather stay in bed. Not all games watching your favourite team were enjoyable experiences and not every relationship you had was good every single day. But to minimise the bad days, make sure that you make the most out of the time you put in and that you enjoy doing the activity itself - otherwise every hard day will be a reason to quit. If you haven't found your thing yet, explore, and if you don't know how to be truly efficient and effective in your workouts, research or hire an expert.

Social Value

The reason many of your friends (and mine!) spend two hours in the gym is not because they work harder and are more dedicated than other people, no, it's because they do everything but to exercise - so they're there for a lot longer. They may be reading magazines, watching TV or speaking to their mates (who are there for two hours as well by the way). The way around this is to find a social environment where you are forced to do some effective work. And if the large cardio classes at the gym are too anonymous for you, find group outdoor training options, smaller clubs or studios where you will have chance to really engage with people while keeping fit. If done well, you'll feel like you spent all the time socialising, while the trainer or instructor made sure that you did some effective exercise meanwhile. It's great!

The Experience

I you don't have many great experiences involving exercise, it won't be hard for your mind to find excuses to not do it - so let's find some. Get some mates together for an outdoor barbecue. Warm up with some team games like tag, soccer or touch footy. It's simple, fun, engaging and you don't even think about the exercise part. Next, set up some challenges for yourself and your friends (and be creative) - here are some examples:

Push Up Competition (if you are strong, do them with your partner on your back)

"Circus Exercises" like handstands, cartwheels and balancing on unstable surfaces etc.

Lift Heavy Things or carry them across a distance

Plank/Hover max test (for fun, see if you can get everyone to hover in a group without anyone's feet touching the ground!)

Hill Sprints

The possibilities are endless and when you are done you finish off with a lovely barbecue. Get the kids involved too why don't you. And for more inspiration go on to YouTube and find that you have endless resources at the touch of a button. Best of luck making exercise enjoyable for yourself!