When you see those before and after body transformation pictures that show up on social media from time to time, you can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Here is a formerly unhealthy and overweight person, suddenly transformed into something so statuesque that even the Ancient Greeks would be jealous. You wonder how they did it.
Interestingly, it usually isn’t an indication of their sheer force of will. Instead, the person concerned has often found a way to rig their fitness training to make it more pleasurable.
Hold on a second – that sounds a bit weird. Rigging exercise to make it feel better? Is that even possible? It turns out that it is, and you can do it too.
What we’re going to discuss here falls back on ideas in Advaita Vedanta – a school of thought that sees sources of unhappiness emanating from a “me-centric” view of the world. You don’t like exercise because you fundamentally don’t want to experience the pain involved in the training.
It turns out that you don’t actually have to see it in those stark terms. The benefits you get out aren’t related to the pain you endure. Instead, you can get the fruits of exercise without the suffering you associate with it. That’s precisely how most of those body transformations take place. The person figured out how to make exercise something that they wanted to do.
Here are some tactics if you’re struggling:
Switch On The Music
Playing music while exercising is one of the best ways to make the experience less painful. The reason for this is that it has an uncanny ability to bypass the brain’s pain centers. It sort of distracts you from the physical sensations and makes you feel good as you exercise. This is why Zumba has become so popular – people forget they are exercising.
If the music is good enough, it can eliminate the pain altogether and lead your brain to unconsciously associate exercise with something purely positive. Hence, by forgetting about your pain and just enjoying the experience, you rig things in your favor and turn training into something desirable.
Bask In The Post-Exercise High
Before you start exercising, you can find yourself feeling down in the dumps. You feel lethargic, depressed, or anxious, or just have a low mood. But when you start moving, you soon find that all this stops. What’s more, when you finish your exercise, you experience a high that encourages you to do it again and again.
Work Out First Thing
First thing in the morning, you are in a different brain state compared to the rest of the day. When you wake up, you are often much more willing to do the things that you don’t want to do than later in the day.
You’ve probably experienced this effect yourself. You’re okay with eating something healthy, like muesli, in the morning. But in the evening, you find yourself reaching for that tub of ice cream in the freezer.
Setting off the moment you wake up denies your brain a chance to build up resistance. You just go out and do what you have to do.