If you’re going to exercise regularly, rather than in guilt-induced unsustainable bursts, it’s absolutely essential that you find it enjoyable. If you have to force yourself to exercise each and every time you do it, and never look forward to training in the slightest, there’s very little chance your motivation will hold for more than a few weeks.
So how exactly do you make it fun? That’s one of the questions we posed to Channel 5 TV presenter and fitness professional AJ Odudu. And because Odudu is taking part in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday 20th May as a Duracell Bunny Pacer, we also asked her for some tips on how to pace a race properly.
Why is it important for fitness to be fun?
Just because life’s too short for it to be anything else! In order for you to find motivation and have some fun, it has to have some end result that isn’t just about how you look, but also how you feel in terms of your mental health and confidence.
How do you make it fun?
I personally make fitness fun by roping in friends. I love group exercise, I love the community feel of working out. When I incorporate a workout class or a run with meeting a friend it’s a double whammy. You get to meet your friend, go for a run, catch up on all the gossip, have a smoothie afterwards. It’s a rounded thing to do.
You can also make it fun with what you’re wearing. You can be really bold, wear something you wouldn’t normally wear when going out or going to lunch or something. This is your opportunity to wear all of the Lycra, in all of the colours, if you want to.
Also reward yourself. That’s a good way to make it fun. For example, you set yourself a goal to work out three days a week for six weeks, and if you do that you get to buy yourself a new pair of shoes. You have a goal to achieve and the goal isn’t based on how you look, it’s based on how it makes you feel and the rewards you can get.
Should people try different sports if they not enjoying exercising in a gym?
Definitely. I personally believe that there’s something for everyone. Whether it’s cycling, trampolining, roller-skating, swimming… If running isn’t your thing, there’s a whole plethora of things to try. Some are more expensive than others, some a lot cheaper.
How are you feeling about pacing the Great Manchester Run? Do you have any tips on how to pace a race?
I’m so excited! I’ve always seen the running pacers and thought “I’d love to do that”, so I’m really chuffed to partner with Duracell to make this happen. I have got myself a running watch, and there are all sorts of different settings which I’ll be keeping a close eye on. I’ve calculated how many minutes per kilometre I need to be doing and I just have to be really disciplined when it comes to those times.
It’s really easy on race day to get super-excited by the crowd and the momentum of the other participants, and to run really fast in the first kilometre. I’ve got to be really disciplined and make sure I’m hitting the time allocated to me, so I can concentrate on motivating the other runners around me.
I’m going to really enjoy it. The great thing about a 10K run is that even if you go slow or fast, everyone can finish it in a relatively similar time. You get the chance to take in the sights of the city and run somewhere you’re not used to running in, because they’ve closed the roads. Honestly, I love 10Ks!
Follow @DuracellUK on Twitter to keep up to date with AJ’s progress