Hate to exercise? Like it or not, it’s all the same to your health

There are an alarming number of people out there who hate to exercise.

They know they ought to exercise to lose weight, reduce cardiovascular risk factors, prevent osteoporosis, regulate blood sugars, maintain healthy range of motion in their joints, sleep better and generally, live a healthier life. Yet they choose not to because they hate to exercise.

If you follow me on social media (click on the links in the right side bar >>>), you’ll know that even though I teach group fitness classes and work as a personal trainer, I don’t always want to exercise either.

Cardio days are the worst (try as I might to make cardio more fun, it just isn’t 🙁 )

Some days I’d be just as content to skip the gym and head to the mall.

Sit on my couch and knit while getting caught up on missed episodes of True Blood.

Head out for lunch and coffee with ‘the girls’.

Spend the morning hanging out on Facebook.

Go back to bed with a second cup of coffee.

But I don’t. I force myself to do something. Just a little bit and 9 times out of 10 it works.

On the days it doesn’t, I remind myself that whether I enjoyed my workout or not, it’s all the same to my health.

  • My biceps and glutes don’t care that my heart wasn’t into curls and squats.
  • My blood sugar levels aren’t the least bit concerned by the scowl on my face.
  • My ‘happy hormones’ are triggered irrespective of my initial inertia.
  • My sleep is more restful even if I was too tired to give it my all.

The thing is, regardless of whether you love or hate to exercise, it’s all the same to your health.

Does exercise come easy to you?

How do you motivate yourself to exercise on days that you just don’t want to?


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Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


  1. I am starting to think I have a problem…..all or nothing over here….I can be sooo good and make great eating/living choices and other times sooo bad!! WHY oh WHY?!

    • All or nothing is a tough mentality to break out of. Try telling yourself that doing a little bit or eating a bit healthier than yesterday is better than sitting on the couch and eating potato chips!

  2. For me, I’ lucky. I wake up and among my first thoughts each morning are. “what’s it going to be today…?” The bike? A run? The weights? A trail?

    BUT, on those days when I’m just not feeling it, one ting has ALWAYS worked for me; to just start, and to start slowly, and easily. Eventually, the intensity builds, and the productivity increases.

    When I have applied this to myself, or my clients, I have seen it work most of the time.
    Contemplative Fitness recently posted…It’s all you can do…My Profile

    • I use the exact same strategy Roy. I tell myself to lace up my shoes and head to the gym and just move for 10 or 15 minutes. If I’m still not into it, I can call it a rest day. 9 times out of 10 I stay for the entire workout!

  3. I’m one of those people who truly love exercise!!!
    Every once in a while I have a day where I don’t feel like going hard so I just tell myself to go through the motions (sort-of like you described) – and just like you said, more often than not, within just a few minutes I’m loving it!!!
    I love what you said – exercise is still beneficial even if you aren’t loving it!!!
    Kim recently posted…How do you Define Yourself?My Profile

    • That’s a great way to be Kim! Sounds like we all ‘fake it til we make it’. Whatever works, right?

  4. HUH!!!!
    totally works now….on same laptop.
    please to ignore me 🙂
    Miz recently posted…Breath walking: misfit style.My Profile

    • No! Thanks for the alert, even if it was a false alarm! Always appreciate a heads up…

  5. I’m an all or nothing girl too. I am also one who wants instant gratification, which of course, is totally unrealistic. I’ve started eating well, feel good, just need to GET MOVING! I’m a zumba girl but still find myself with no motivation and find every excuse not to go, LOL. Just last nite and this morning I was telling myself I should go this morning, but I’m so tired from a crazy weekend at work and deserve to relax, LOL!

    • Did you go Jodie? Even when I’m tired, I usually find exercise to perk me up for at least a little while afterwards…

      • sigh…nope, I didn’t go because my son at the last minute needed a ride to school (out at Stave Dam) so I didn’t have breakfast nor nothing portable to take along. I didn’t make it back in time for 9:30 class.

  6. Well put! We get the workout benies whether we were eager or not. My tricks to get in exercise even when I don’t feel like it are 1) have a dog. My dog wants to go out every day no matter what. Guilt and pup love are good motivators! 2) I tell myself I’ll go for just 15 minutes. Sometimes I really do only 15, but then I make them high intensity. 3) I teach. Then I have to get to the club. Once I am done teaching a group fitness class, my energy, mood, and desire to move are all higher. And I love cardio!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…How to Walk a Half Marathon After Knee SurgeryMy Profile

    • Yes! Teaching has saved my fitness life. Having to be energetic and engaging for an hour is a great way to make sure I get my workout in. If you do my cardio for me, I’ll do your weights for you?

  7. I was just sort of talking abou this today on my blog! I remind mysef that I am a big girl and have the discipline to get started. AND – once I get there – it’s never as bad as I think it will be. You never, ever regret a workout. 🙂
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…What’s Driving My Marvelous (Monday)My Profile

    • Ooh, I need to jump on over and check your post out Laura! And you’re right, I’ve never regretted a workout… except for the ones where I experienced injuries!

  8. Wow, I can just repeat everything that Kymberly said above!

    First of all, love the pic with your coffee in bed. Thanks for the smile this morning.

    My dog is a real motivator for me to get out the door on those days I don’t feel like it. She always feels like it, even though she’s 12 (yesterday was her birthday!), and it is getting a little harder for her. I actually wrote a post a while back about dogs and exercise and how if we took a little of their attitude about it we would be much better off.

    The 15 (or 10!) minute trick really works! I use it for running and I tell my clients the same thing. If you are really tired, just give yourself a few minutes. Darned if I’ve ever stopped after that first 10 minutes!

    And I teach. I don’t teach cardio anymore, but that is fine because of my running (see my dog-motivator above). But I do teach strength classes, and while it may not be the best possible workout, it is a workout and it keeps me stronger. (btw, I had to jump up in the middle of writing this to teach my Fast & Furious class).

    I get a little tired of the I hate exercise excuse. I hear it a lot from older women. The small amount of exercise that they would need to make a big difference in their health would be so much easier that restricting calories so they can fit into their favorite outfit.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted…(Edible) Things I’m Loving LatelyMy Profile

    • Agree, agree and a big agree on your last point! I also find it humour how much time and effort some women are willing to spend on hair, makeup and nails relative to their body and health…

  9. I always find that exercise SUCKS—until you start doing it. Within three minutes, I’m over my hesitation and ready to go!

    Sarah recently posted…The Weekend Wrap Up!My Profile

  10. This is sort of what I tell my university students when they worry if they’re “doing it right.” I say, “Your heart and kcals cannot tell whether you’re doing the move exactly as I am. They can only tell whether or not you are moving. So keep moving.” As to me, I actually like cardio, except HIIT. That one I like when it’s over.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted…How to Walk a Half Marathon After Knee SurgeryMy Profile

    • So true. Movement is movement and it’s all good. You and Kym could be twins with your love of cardio; oh wait, you are!

  11. Yesterday I was reading People magazine (yes, I know, but it’s my escape from the heavy stuff…), and there was an article on an actress who’s just been named the world’s most beautiful woman. In it, she talks about how she exercises two hours a day, but that she “hates it” and “it’s so hard.” She repeats this negativity a couple times, and I thought it was too bad she gave exercise such a bad rap. Maybe she’s overdoing it if she hates it that much.

    Do I like getting up early to workout? No, but do I enjoy the exercise when I start? Most of the time. And do I feel great when I’m done? All the time.

    I wished she would have given exercise the more positive attitude it deserves, especially as someone who knows the benefits of it herself.
    Carrie Rubin recently posted…Do You Believe That They Believe?My Profile

    • I know of whom you speak and I really don’t find her to be much of a health and fitness role model. The lifts teeny tiny weights for a zillion reps and has been known to follow the baby food diet.

      Hard to convince people that exercise is beneficial when you make it sound so terrible, huh?

      • Exactly. And I agree, if the reports are true (and who knows if they are), her diet has been all over the place and one of too much deprivation (though in the article, it appears she’s finally found a balance). Then again, I’m not in a position where I have to worry about being a size zero, so I can only imagine the difficulties these Hollywood ladies face.
        Carrie Rubin recently posted…Do You Believe That They Believe?My Profile

  12. This is a great post as I often forget how lucky I am that I do really enjoy exercise! The way it makes me feel is phenomenal! There are few days where I’m not “feeling it” & on those days I tell myself, “just do a little, it all counts”. 99% of the time I end up getting in a great workout! Here’s to all of us who do enjoy it 🙂
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted…Measurable Monday…My Profile

    • Hooray! Here’s to us Katie. Fake it til we make it on those days when we’re not feeling it at first!

  13. I exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY! I haven’t taken a day off in over 2 years! It’s nuts but it’s because I do love the way it makes me feel. I will be the first to admit that I friggin’ hate the START and even the MIDDLE of exercise, but the second my work out is DONE I feel like I could climb mount everest! I have so much energy, I can focus on what I need to accomplish during the day, exercise is phenomenal for that. When I don’t exercise I know that I feel more exhausted and I even feel a little guilty that I deprived my body of what it truly wants – which is WHY I do it every day!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Giving Away a Bathing Suit BodyMy Profile

    • I love that you know what works for your body and your MOOD Gigi! So many people don’t connect the two. For me, a huge benefit of regular exercise in increased energy, vitality and better sleep!

  14. I try to keep focussed on my goals – when I was training for a half marathon, I knew that I HAD to get my training runs in. Right now I am very focussed on muscle building and seeing results which is EXTREMELY motivating.

    Sometimes I don’t feel like it. But on strength days I know that after I drink a cup of coffee and then a glass of water I work out. No brekkie till it’s done. Simple rule. That is the key for me. Make a rule, Obey the rule. I have lots of them.

    On cardio days, the sky is the limit. LOVE cardio – walking, running, dancing, even good ole 80’s aerobics…. I don’t do machines! It’s never a chore and I don’t do it on an empty stomach.

    I think for me, it is just making up my mind what I am going to commit to doing – the actual DOING is the easy part.
    Elle recently posted…Think Pink… and a Giveaway WinnerMy Profile

    • Elle, I love your rules! Kind of like brushing your teeth; you just do it because that’s what you do.
      I think that if we took our thinking brains out of the equation, we’d all be better off. It’s that deliberation, back and forth, ‘should I go, should I stay’, that causes many people to skip their workout.

  15. LOVE!!!! I here this so often Tamara – I hate to exercise! Well, do you think I love every bit of it??? 😉 I am like you.. I am not a cardio fan BUT I do a lot of it.. I find what works for me & just do it. I love weights so normally no prob with those but I have my days when I would just rather sleep in BUT I don’t.. only if I know my body really really needs it. I think people have to get past this. So many ways to get exercise in & in fun ways too… as long as you are moving, it is always better than nothing. There has got to be at least one active thing a person likes! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & Healthy Bite Me! 😉My Profile

    • Ha! I know that you enjoy it more than most, but it’s tough to keep up that level of commitment day in, day out, year after year.
      Yes, make it fun. Whatever you need to do to make it part of your routine!

  16. Love this! I do look forward to my workouts most of the time — but I also workout before I’m awake enough to question whether I’m really into what I’m doing. If I take time to think about it, I might have second thoughts, so I just do it!
    Coco recently posted…Five Ways Racing Is Like Having A BabyMy Profile

  17. So true! I love your final point- it’s all the same to our body and our health. I’m the opposite of you, not a fan of strength/weights, but I could do cardio for hours… trying to get a better balance there. 🙂 Great post, Tamara!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Sugar Detox Challenge- Round TwoMy Profile

    • Thanks Laura! Isn’t it funny how we’re all so divided about cardio and strength; firmly in one camp or the other?

  18. So true! It is all the same to your health. In general, I tend to find it easier to motivate myself to work out I think because I use it as a way to procrastinate from doing my real work. haha. But I do go through cycles where I’m super excited about it and others when it’s a struggle.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Stop Trying to Achieve BalanceMy Profile

  19. You all are great motivators, love these posts. My son is great too! Tamara, my son, int’l student and I started doing your exercises last January and just the other day my son suggested we start doing them again. Going to get a notebook and print them all off so we can get started!

    • Tamara says:

      Hooray! I’ve just started posting my weekly Facebook workouts to my blog. Last day of the month I’ll recap them all so you can find them in one place!

  20. Yes. I need to remember this.

  21. Most days I really like to exercise. It just makes me feel better. I’m an outside girl (I use the term “girl” losely, seeing as I’m 50+ and all,) and exercising gives me a good reason to be out for an hour plus everyday. But like you said, some days you just have to make yourself do it regardless of how you feel. I’m always glad I did afterwards. “I regret that workout” said no one ever. 😉
    Gaye recently posted…Otterbox Defender Series Hybrid CaseMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      Bingo! And I still refer to myself as a ‘girl’ sometimes. Age is only a number Gaye!

  22. A lot of factors help me on motivation. Motivating elements for me include exercise that’s social, scheduled, involves goals I’m working toward, and something that I find intrinsically fun. Skating meets all of those for me. If for some reason like injury I can’t skate and am limited to a disfavored exercise like swimming, or, God help me, an exercise bike on low revs (snore) the best I can do is to just blindly get out of bed and do it first thing before my brain has time to resist.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted…Trader Joe’s Kale Waldorf SaladMy Profile

  23. Oh my goodness so true and such a great reminder! There are days where I am supposed to go on runs and I so don’t want to so I tell myself I can walk the full thing if I have to, but I know the second my shoes are on I am just going to want to run it. Sometimes my unwillingness for heading out on a run gets me my fasted pace times because all I want to do is wrap it up!
    Brittany recently posted…And We’re Off!!! – day 1My Profile

  24. Does exercise come easy to me? At least not always. Especially back when I was overweight, I dreaded the thought of any physical activity, but still today I don’t always feel like doing it. Of course I still go through with it, but it certainly isn’t with the smiling enthusiasm found in many fitness infomercials.

  25. I used to hate working out until i figured out my own little way around it. The first one was to get a workout partner. My friend would accompany me to the gym or even walking and I found it was a lot easier, especially when you have someone with the same get up and go drive as you. I also did stuff that was “fun” So for me, there was swimming and also a couple dance aerobics class. It didn’t seem as bad when doing something you actually like. I haven’t worked out in awhile, as my partner left town, but I definitely need to get back on the wagon again.
    Janene recently posted…Best Clothing for Zumba Dance FitnessMy Profile

    • Tamara says:

      Janene, having a workout buddy definitely helps many people get to the gym. Sorry to heard that you’ve lost yours. What about trying a group fitness class? A whole room full of workout buddies 😉

  26. I have never been an athlete. I hated exercising because it made me quickly exhausted. I knew I was not fit and one day I desided to change this. I started going to the gym, and my friends also advised me to enhance my nutrition with dietary supplements. I’ve done some research and what I considered most natural and safe was Military Grade Nutritionals. Their preworkouts really hit the spot. I was expecting fatigue, soreness and other ‘nice’ consequences of my first trainings, but none of these happened! Of course I felt little tired, but it was rather pleasure than a problem. I’ve started feeling my muscles and I’ve lost considerable fat already in 2 weeks!


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