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By Olivia Janisch

Working your butt off at the gym and not getting results? A new study published in the Journal of Marketing Letters suggests this could be due to your attitude towards your workout, and the choices you make afterwards.

The study monitored two groups of participants that were instructed to walk for exercise. They told one group that their walk should be viewed as strenuous exercise and would be supervised as such, the other group was told to enjoy the walk , site seeing, listening to music, and talking with other volunteers.

After the walk, the group told to enjoy themselves felt happier and less tired, and went for healthier food options once the exercise was over. Those who were instructed to take the walk seriously felt fatigued and moodier, and took twice as much of the unhealthy snacks after the exercise.

Exercise is essential for good health, but in order for it to be effective it must be personalized and it must be coupled with good nutrition. This study proves that that exercise, when enjoyed, can be incredibly powerful and a lot more effective, so try the following tips to make your workout more fun and dynamic.

1. Take class and keep moving

The right exercise classes are as effective as having a personal trainer and can be insanely fun. Find classes in your neighborhood that are challenging and energetic, with instructors you can connect to and don’t stress you out. It doesn’t matter what you take, whether it’s yoga, spin, dance or pilates, it just matters that you choose something you’ll show up for.

Once you’re in class, it’s critical you keep moving. Choose a pace and weight level that makes you feel strong and confident so that you can stay active and get the most out of your hour. This means choosing weights that suit you, taking modified options when you need to, and keeping yourself in the mental space to stay strong and finish it out. There is no point in showing up to a class only to push yourself too hard for 30 minutes, and spend the second half feeling weak and annoyed. This will also help prevent you from spending the next four days avoiding the gym because muscles you never knew existed are so sore you can barely move.

2. Find a buddy

If you don’t have one friend that doesn’t need to improve their fitness, then you roll with a very fit crew. Talk to your friends and find out who is motivated to get more active, and make sure to choose someone light hearted and up for anything. There is nothing worse than a workout buddy that brings you down. However, the right partner can totally motivate and uplift you. Having someone else to workout with holds you accountable and makes getting in shape so much more fun.

3. Create a reward system

Earning rewards on your own terms is one of the most motivating ways to help you enjoy your workout. Hold off on buying that dress or pair of shoes until you’ve done four classes a week for a month. Or wait to check out that new restaurant until you’re able to run 3 miles without stopping.

By creating a goal and reward system you’re much more connected to your regimen and committed to earning the things you enjoy.

4. Get back to your roots

Were you a basketball star in high school? Or were your college weekends spent in the sun playing beach volleyball? If sports were a part of your life, the best way to get back into shape is to get on a team. Not only does activity like sports quickly sculpt your figure, it’s a great way to meet new people and have fun while getting in shape.

5. Relax

Getting fit is not about struggling, it’s about coming closer to a healthier and more vibrant version of yourself. So listen to music, find fun buddies, do activities that make you laugh and get you out of your comfort zone. You’ll get in better shape a lot faster when you actually enjoy it, and it’ll also become a natural part of your life as opposed to something you have to fight to connect with on a daily basis.

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