How to become an exercise lover, when you really, really hate it.

Image: Pitch Perfect. Rebel Wilson shows us how it’s done.

I hate everything about exercise. I always have, and I suspect that I always will. In high school, my PE excuses were legendary. “I can’t do PE today,” I told Ms. Palmer, “Because it’s school photo day, and I don’t want my hair to get messed up.”

Naturally, she forced me back on the field quicker than you can say “ten push-ups”. These days, there’s no teacher to threaten me with detention, and I find that I’m getting lazier. I need heavy-duty motivation to get myself off the couch. But over time, I’ve developed four tricks that will help even the most workout-resistant of you to get active.

Related: 4 ways to put a rocket up your motivation to exercise

1. Think about your death

Image: iStock.

Something happened to me a few years ago, when I turned 30. I realised that I wouldn’t be young and smug forever. There’s a time in your life when you can be thin and lazy, and it’s cute. You laugh about it, through a mouthful of chocolate cake. But one day, you will realise that if you keep up those bad habits, your body and health will suffer.

Professor Steven N. Blair, from the University of South Carolina, wrote in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that there is evidence “that physical inactivity is one of the most important public health problems of the 21st century”. He states that, “regular physical activity has important and wide-ranging health benefits. These range from reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers to enhanced function and preservation of function with age”. Dying: it’s scary enough to make me exercise!


2. Have crazy revenge fantasies, like Mindy Kaling

Image: The Mindy Project. Danny (Chris Messina) tries to teach Mindy how to exercise.

Mindy Kaling, creator and star of her own TV show, former writer/producer/director/actress of The Office (US) says: “If it weren't for my imagination, I would weigh ten thousand pounds. This is because the only way I am able to exercise anymore is through a long and vivid revenge fantasy.”

Related: 8 ways to get the most out of your fitness tracker.

In her memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me?, Kaling details her various revenge fantasies. Several involve her imaginary husband being murdered (she’s single), after which she becomes “bent on vengeance”. In her fantasies, Mindy will “spend a lot of time doing push-ups and sit-ups”, “stop enjoying creature comforts, like junk food… because nothing brings me pleasure but thoughts of revenge”. Mindy imagines that she looks “like Mia Farrow at her height, but Indian and crazy toned”. Mindy always catches the bad guy.

3. Get the right clothes

Image: Bridesmaids. Notice they're not wearing any denim.

It really helps to wear flexible, breathable clothes when you work out. When I was an exercising newbie, back in my teen days, I would always feel stiff and uncomfortable while jogging. I never understood why, until I bumped into a friend on one of my jogs. “Hi, Carla, what are you doing?” she asked. “I’m jogging,” I replied. She looked at me, startled, and said, “IN JEANS?!” I honestly did not think it was weird or impractical to jog in jeans. At least I looked good, right? Guys, it doesn’t have to be Lululemon, but just make sure it’s not denim. Comfortable, soft clothes are perfect – maybe you have an old pair of shorts in your wardrobe, or you can even get cheap athleisure gear at Kmart.

Related: Would you pay $800 for these second-hand gym pants?

4. Use exercise DVDs or YouTube videos

Cindy Crawford on the cover of her 90's exercise video, "The Next Challenge".

I’m a child of the '80s and early '90s, which was the heyday of exercise videos. It was an exciting time – not only could you watch Cindy Crawford exercise, you could copy her moves! Over the decades, exercise videos fell out of favour, as people preferred to workout with trainers, in boot camps or in CrossFit boxes. But, I’m here to tell you that exercise DVDs are cool again. Well, I don’t know that for sure, but I’ve found them to be so convenient.

Related: Which is better: moderate exercise or frequent exercise?

When I’m home alone with my toddler, I can’t exactly leave her at home and go for a jog. I used to attempt long walks with her in the pram, but she’d get bored after 10 minutes and start screaming. So, I decided that when she was napping, I’d bust out an exercise DVD. I bought the Tracy Anderson DVDs – you know, the personal trainer to Madonna and Gwyneth.

I’ll tell ya what, Tracy whipped my butt (and arms, legs, etc) into shape. The DVDs cost less than a treadmill or gym membership, and I could do it in my own home. There’s even several vloggers who put up fantastic exercise videos on YouTube, for free. Getting fit for free? Even a lazy girl can’t complain about that.

Related: Everyone is talking about this controversial 5-year-old beauty blogger.

Need inspiration for appropriate gym wear? Look no further than this gallery...

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