1. Make a List of All the Possible Activities You Think You Might Ever Enjoy
Get a piece of paper and write down every physical activity you enjoy now or think you might enjoy–gardening, hiking, kayaking, learning to salsa dance, training for a 5K, doing the elliptical, weight lifting, taking a Spin class or trying a pole-dancing class.
If you belong to a gym or like the idea of working out in a gym, write down exercises, classes and machines that you know about.
2. Try at Least One New Workout for 20 Minute Every Week
Make it your goal to try at least one new workout every week for one month. Don’t feel pressured to like whatever you try right away–you probably won’t. Your purpose right now is simply to explore and find what you think you might want to try again.
There’s just one rule: You can’t count something as “trying it” if you do a workout for only five minutes–that’s not long enough to give your body time to warm up, let alone adapt to the movements you’re doing. Try to sustain any cardio-based workout for 20 minutes, easing into the exercise at first by going slower than you think you should. If you’re trying new strengthening exercises or lifting weights, warm up your muscles beforehand by walking or riding a bike for at least 5 minutes, then rotate through different sets, or exercises, for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. If You Give Something 5 Stars Out of 10, Try It Again Next Week
If you dislike something, cross it off the list. If something seems even remotely interesting, circle a date on your calendar the following week to try it again. On the other hand, if something made your body hurt or you just weren’t enjoying yourself after 20 minutes, you don’t have to try it again. The goal here is to find one or two exercises that you enjoy–and it’s icing on the cake if you discover more.
4. Four Is the Magic Number
Try any workouts that you think you might like at least four times before deciding if they’re a good fit for you. Four sessions should be enough to determine whether a workout has the potential to positively affect your body and mood.
If nothing excites you, though, that’s okay. Sit down again to make a new list–and this time, get more creative. Think outside the gym to outdoor sports, athletic clubs, adult pickup games and dance classes that you might enjoy. Or if you like the idea of exercising at the gym but still haven’t found something you like to do there, consider looking for a new gym with different class offerings, machines or even atmosphere. I know some people who don’t like to work out at gyms without personal TVs or those that don’t have any windows near the cardio equipment.
5. Keep the Adventure Alive
Keep the spirit of adventure alive because exercise, no matter how much you like it, can get monotonous and boring at times. It’s a lot like food, in fact: If you had to eat the same meal every day, even if it was your favorite meal, wouldn’t you eventually get sick of it and want to try something different? Continually experimenting will keep your workouts fresh, help you stay motivated and challenge your body in new ways so that you continue to get strong and lean without ever getting stuck in a rut.