The Best Workout Program Is The One You Actually Enjoy

The Best Workout Program Is The One You Actually Enjoy

We’ve written about a lot of workout options here on Lifehacker: from quickie options to gamification theory. But the best workout of all, according to experts, is simply whichever one you enjoy — because that’s the one you’ll stick with.

Happy gym members picture from Shutterstock

Over at Vox, Julia Belluz reports on how we overthink exercise, making ambitious plans when any exercise at all is better than a great plan that you aren’t thrilled about following through. She writes:

According to sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald, author of the books Diet Cults and 80/20 Running, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will stick to a new routine is simply whether they like it or not. “Those who say they enjoyed their workout the most are more likely to keep exercising after a year,” he said.   Many studies have shown that, even if you don’t lose a pound or change your body after working out, exercise will improve a range of health outcomes, including lowering your cardiovascular disease risk and staving off Alzheimer’s. So just find a way to sweat — and don’t sweat the details.

This sentiment is echoed by Australian fitness instructor Cato Rutherford, the founder and manager of leading Sydney gym Lift Performance. According to Rutherford, the most successful clients are the ones who are happy to be there:

If you want to get into the habit of going to the gym a lot, you need to find something you actually like doing. Some people really enjoy the weightlifting or power lifting stuff and some people are better suited to the gymnastics side of things. So try to focus on whatever brings you some level of enjoyment, especially to begin with.   A lot of my clients are competitive athletes who do their strength conditioning here. If you can find a sport or physical hobby you like, going to the gym can become part of your training, which is another way to boost your enjoyment levels as it’s all going towards something fun.

This is an important point that sometimes gets lost in the details of exactly how to do a certain workout, or how to do it better: Do you even like this workout? If not, you can explore other options, perhaps going back to the drawing board to find something that works for you and fits into your life.

If you’re not a morning person, you don’t have to exercise in the morning. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, even a walk or a daily stint of gardening is an improvement. Any consistent workout is better than none.

Chris Jager also contributed to this article.

We Make Exercise Way Too Complicated. Here’s How to Get It Right [Vox]


  • Hear, hear! Everyone knows free weights are ‘better’ than machines, legs day is important, you should work your core and change up your muscle groups and vary your routine every 6-8 weeks, but seriously? If you’re having trouble getting into the gym, just doing a ‘junk food’ workout of only the fun stuff is better than not going at all.

    This is the one thing that frustrates me about folks who are reluctant to even start going in the first place because they’re not sure it’s worth the pain… they get these enthusiastic, well-meaning personal trainers who blow them up with half an hour’s paid training chatting to the client while they do cardio (because otherwise it’ll never get done and cardio = weight loss, right?), then try to teach them the fundamentals which don’t actually mean anything until you learn what ‘activation’ actually is, instead of ‘tell body to make the weights move’. That sort of shit kills motivation for the inexperienced faster than a warm bed on a cold morning.

  • I am not a workout person but rather I choose a diet but along with the diet when I have chosen a proper workout, I always manage to lose weight and get fit as well.

    If you’re trying to lose weight then the speed at which you would be losing weight would be increased further when you couple it with the workout. When I was following the diet of lisa plog and a nominal workout I ended up losing 22 pounds. The only way in which you can lose weight fast is to couple a workout with the diet and it is true that if you like the workout obviously you would be practising it more fun and therefore losing more weight. I used to normal aerobic course along with the diet of lisa plog. Google for “lisa plog diet plans” and you would be able to find her diet.

    It is important that you know your calorie requirement and instead of just going on lowering the calories, you need to know your calorie requirement and then make a decision how you want to use your diet.

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