Cornell University recently released a study that examined the post-exercise behaviors of people based on their beliefs about their workout. Study participants were instructed to take a walk- some “for fun” with music and some “to work out”. After the walk both groups were put in a room with snacks provided by the study. The study concluded that people who believed that they had just “had a hard workout” consumed more snack foods provided by the study than those who “had had a fun walk”. Researchers believed this points out a key element of failure of weight loss from exercise- those who believe that they had just worked out would compensate by consuming more junk, sweet foods. The study concluded that the exercise group felt that because they had just “worked out hard” they deserved a reward for their effort, even though they had most likely created the same calorie burn as those doing it “for fun”.
What can we take away from this study?
Well, now that it’s New Year’s Resolution time- we don’t want to overcompensate our efforts in the gym, especially when we are doing new things that make us sore! Find the FUN in your workout. Here are some mental hacks to increase the likelihood of your success in 2015:
1) Make it a Date
Spend time with your honey or friends in the gym. You’ll get quality time with the people you love and you will likely look forward to having time with them instead of dreading the gym.
2) Do Something FUN
Find something you love that moves you! Take walks, hike, ski, swim, dance, sign up for an after-work sport with your coworkers.
3) Trick Yourself
Don’t want to go for a “hard run”? Go for “an easy jog”. Avoiding Hot Yoga? Tell yourself you’re going only for savasana! Too exhausted to “max out” on the weights? Tell yourself you’re going to pick stuff up and put it down. Most likely, once you get started, you’ll start enjoying yourself and be glad you did it, and you’ll be thoroughly convinced you don’t deserve a treat after.
Consider classes like Zumba or StrongBoard Burn!. They both have the same cardiovascular benefits of running, cycling, and interval training, but they seem easier. You can easily tell yourself, I’m going to dance around or jump on a trampoline for an hour versus; I have to run on the treadmill for an hour. Which do you think is going to get you in the gym when you’re exhausted from a long day? So when you’re feeling sluggish, stressed out, or just plumb lazy, try changing the way you think about your workout. It will 1) make you more likely to do it, 2) be more enjoyable, 3) leave you less likely to reach for a donut for “working so hard” and 4) bring you back!
For more details on this study, please visit: