Today’s columnist, Ryan Dutton: How to love working out

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For some people working out seems to come really easy. It requires very little, if any, effort and they seem to have a constant stream of motivation. Working out is part of their daily routine.

You, however, struggle to find the time or can’t seem to bring yourself to make that trip to the gym.

You understand why working out is good, the health benefits, having a body to show off on holiday, but you still struggle on a daily basis to get into any sort ofroutine. Sound like you? Well, keep reading.

Now I’m certainly no sports psychologist, but I’ve done a fair bit of reading on this subject and heard just about every excuse under the sun from people, to formulate my own ideas about why working out seems to come so hard to some.

In fact I too have days when I simply can’t be bothered, my mind’s on other things and my body’s screaming “don’t make me go!”

The brain loves the comfort of things being easy. This means it doesn’t over-think things and worries less about having to do something we really don’t want to do.

Our brain is drawn to labour-saving devices because it knows it’s going to create less stress. The same applies with working out. Why would your brain want to put itself and your body through such trauma when there’s no real upfront reward. But that’s what the brain loves, instant rewards.

But we all know there’s no instant reward for working out. It takes time, dedication and hard work. The brain’s aware of this too and although you know deep down about the long-term rewards of working out, like having a physique you’re proud of and living longer, it won’t accept these and will still leave you unmotivated knowing the amount of stress and time it will take to achieve these goals.

So creating short-term rewards is the only way the brain will respond positively to maintaining a healthy addiction with working out. These short-term rewards have to be based around your lifestyle, interests and goals.

Working out for me is often a great way to think over any personal or work-related issues. It’s a chance for me to clear my head, de-stress, and think rationally about a resolution.

My brain loves this as a reward as it’s solving a problem that is causing me discomfort. This means I can’t wait to get to the gym and think this problem through.

Now I’m certainly not suggesting you go out and find some issues to think over, but I would highly recommend associating this short-term reward with working out next time it occurs.

There are countless other short-term rewards you can trick the brain into receiving from working out.

Others include:

n Sleeping better: If you’re struggling to sleep, working out is a great way to burn yourself out before bedtime.

n Runner’s high: If you’ve been feeling down or depressed recently, extended periods of steady state cardio can give you an elated high.

n Expanding your knowledge: I love listening to podcasts during my cardio workouts.

n Generate creativity : If you’re struggling for ideas, work-related or not, working out is a great way to clear your mind as it allows you to generate some creative thoughts. A good workout can boost creativity for up to two hours after.