Creating an Experience

July 24, 2014

By: Lacey Thacker

When you hear that someone has had an “experience,” it’s understood that something particularly special has happened. What if you could have an “experience” every day? What if it could happen at the gym?

If you’re going to your fitness club and drudging through your workout, you’re not having any fun. Think about the different things you do on each day—leg day, upper body day, yoga day, cardio day—and think about what would make each of those days the most pleasant they could possibly be.

For example, are your running shoes comfortable and supportive, or do they need to be replaced? You stand less chance of getting injured if you are in the proper footwear, and you will also be more comfortable during your run if your feet are cushioned well. Do your gym clothes allow you freedom of movement, the ability to see your muscles move when you check your range of motion, and provide coverage? Or are you constantly rolling up sleeves and tucking a shirt back in? If so, it might be time to reconsider your wardrobe. Perhaps a pair of knee-length leggings will help you feel more covered and provide the range of motion your loose shorts do not. Perhaps a sleeveless shirt will allow you to feel less restricted at the weight rack.

Is there an exercise you absolutely can’t stand? Maybe there’s a move you would enjoy more that has similar, or even identical, benefits. Don’t stay stuck in a routine you don’t enjoy—ask input on changing your regimen. Most gyms have trainers who would be happy to answer your questions.

Just because the gym plays music doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. If you are distracted by workout classics, country, the top 40, or whatever the club is pumping through the speakers, it may be time to invest in an arm strap for your cell phone or MP3 player. You can program playlists for different workouts—something slow and mellow for warm-ups, some fast-paced hip-hop for running, and something raucous for lifting weights. Having a soundtrack that motivates you and takes you out of your head can help your gym time be much more pleasant.

It’s true that not every second of getting fit will be a breeze, but there’s no reason to suffer mentally during your workout. I find it very important to take stock of my headspace on a frequent basis—if I realize I’m anxious, contemplating my workout three exercises ahead, or just generally not focusing on the moment, I stop, breathe and regroup. It helps bring joy back to the moment and reminds me how glorious it is to be able to move my body, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable.

So, take a minute. What small changes, either in routine, equipment, or attitude, can you make to create a workout you look forward to?