woman working out in her living room

Fitness challenge: this 30 day challenge will help you fall in love with exercise (even if you think you hate working out)

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Think that exercise just isn’t for you? Mix up your routine with one of these 30 different styles of training. 

What do you think of when you hear the word exercise? Perhaps it’s getting super sweaty on a 5k run, lifting dumbbells and kettlebells in the gym or doing a bodyweight HIIT circuit. All great options for helping to improve cardiovascular health and build functional strength. But they aren’t the only enjoyable and empowering forms of training.

Whether you’re back at the gym yet or not, it’s always a good idea to mix up your workouts - for your enjoyment as much as your body. 

The problem is that we often don’t think exercise ‘counts’ if it’s outside of the popular choices. It’s why people often think that working out isn’t for them, because they don’t enjoy running for half an hour, doing squats or getting super knackered from burpees. However, there’s so much more to moving than these few training styles. 

One woman on a mission to prove that is Esmée Gummer, personal trainer from the Strong Women Collective. Back in March, she launched a 30-day fitness challenge to help people find the training that suits them, partnering with mental health charity Mind as part of their #moveformind campaign. 

But it’s never too late to try the challenge for yourself. 

“People come to me all the time and say ‘I hate working out’ or ‘I hate exercise’,” she says. “I wanted to find a way to prove to people that you don’t need to do traditional ‘exercise’ to get the benefits of moving. Finding joy in exercise can come when you find something you love to do, rather than just focusing on the exercises that you have been told will get you physical results as quickly as possible,” she says. 

Why enjoying exercise matters

Sure, you could accept that exercising just isn’t something you want to do and move on. But the total body benefits of movement shouldn’t be ignored. 

“I know that exercise does wonders for my mental health and I preach about it all the time. For example, such a simple statistic is that 15 minutes of running or an hours walk a day can reduce major depression by 26%. I think that’s so important,” says Esmée. 

Yet, doing something you hate is counterproductive. No amount of running will improve your mental health if you hate every second that you’re out on the road, for instance. Rather than choosing something you think you ‘should’ do, “focus on having fun, trying new things and moving a little bit each day,” says Esmée. “You can change what your goal is to include your mental health in your reasons for training, whether you want to feel better, sleep more, reduce your anxiety, explore a new place or laugh a bit, you’ll notice that you can get all the benefits without being miserable.”

How to enjoy exercise

Back to the challenge then. In a bid to prove that everyone can like movement if they find a fun way to do it, Esmée launched a 30 day event to help you find what you love. The idea is that you try a new form of training every single day for 30 days, from ‘animal flow’ to pole dancing – think of it as speed dating for workouts. 

“The idea is that by the end of the 30 days you will find something that you like,” she says. However, “the whole point of this isn’t really about the 30 days, it’s about forever; I’m giving you 30 opportunities to find something you like that you could then go explore and keep up.”

Back in March, Esmée did the training live every day on her Instagram page, but the sessions are all saved to her IGTV for you to start any time. You can also programme your own challenge, picking 30 different workouts that you can do from home. 

“When restrictions are fully lifted I want to do an outside version with paddle boarding, rowing, rock climbing and trampolining,” says Esmée. “I’m having so much fun and I genuinely get excited each day to try something new. I think I could live like this and the rest of my life on this rotation.”

Interested in finding a workout that could make you rethink how you see exercise? Check out some of the 30 day challenge sessions below. 

  • Plyometrics

  • Hiking

  • Barre

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Getty 

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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