Workouts and training will always be hard work – they're meant to be! But fitness is also meant to be fun. That’s what makes it sustainable over the longer term. When it’s enjoyable and you have little incentives to keep going, it makes a big difference.
As kids we create fun games to make mundane things seem more exciting, so why not as adults? Fun and play turn our focus away from any pain or discomfort we might be feeling, so you don’t even really remember that you’re working out.
Gamifying your workout is one of the simplest ways that you can inject some fun and motivation, and also track your progress over time. Here are some ways you can make your workout more like a game.
Set a rep challenge
Count your reps completed in each session and challenge yourself on your previous record. You might go for the highest rep count for a set of exercises while maintaining correct technique.
Alternatively, set the number of reps and see how fast you can complete it. How quickly can you row 500 m while maintaining correct technique?
Get yourself a fitness tracker
This will enable you to set all sorts of little challenges for yourself, whether it’s number of steps in a day, calories burned in a workout or effort based on your heart rate zones.
Download an app
There are all sorts of fun fitness apps that help you turn common types of exercise into a game, whether it’s running away from zombies or taking on a superhero role.
Play with intervals
If you’re out running, use trees, street lights and other markers to create little games for yourself for some interval training. Sprint as fast as you can to that tree 50 m away, or tell yourself you’re going to do box jumps on the park bench until you see someone walking a dog, or until you spot a red car.
Try the tunnel workout
Tunnel workouts are a great way to integrate partners into your workouts and relive the tunnel ball philosophy, but with exercises. Have a series of exercises you are going to do and complete each exercise at a certain amount of reps, with a partner behind you. The partner or partners cannot start each exercise until you have completed your reps.