The Secrets of Success: Take the 'Work' Out of Your Workouts

By , SparkPeople Blogger
What are the secrets to lasting weight-loss success? As America's most popular weight-loss website, we've learned a thing or two (and it's not a magic potion or pill).

When we were researching and writing our best-selling book, The Spark, we discovered 27 secrets of success that thousands of successful SparkPeople members have used to reach their goals, lose weight and keep it off. Some secrets—including these—are too good to keep to yourself.

We're sharing our 15 favorite secrets of success on the dailySpark from March 1-15.

Secret #4: Make exercise fun.
Successful members proactively took steps to keep exercise fun. A whopping 64% made it a point to try new and different things. How else did they make exercise fun?

67% tried outdoor activities, 62% listened to fun music, and nearly 60% purposefully added variety to their workout plans. Other things that kept exercise fun were doing competitive activities (races, charity walks) and taking active vacations.

I may sound like Captain Obvious for saying it, but you're more likely to stick with a workout plan when you actually enjoy it. In fact, you may even enjoy it so much that you look forward to your exercise time instead of dreading it. Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace?

I think everyone is capable of finding joy through movement and physical activity. If you don't believe me, you just haven't found the right exercise yet. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing trainers who treat workouts like punishment or people who think they need to force themselves to do exercises that are boring, painful or downright torturous. Who wants that? If you're going to make exercise a part of your lifestyle, you have to like what you're doing—or at least not loathe it. I can tell you with complete honesty that I only do workouts that I think are fun. Period. If I don't enjoy myself, there is no way am I going to force myself through it. Why? Because I know I won't stick with it, not even for one day. Luckily, I discovered Pilates, Spinning, running and kettlebells—activities that I really love doing day after day. I don't force myself to swim or practice yoga, no matter how beneficial they are or how much others may like them, because they just don't do it for me. There are no "shoulds" in my workout plan—only "wants." If you can make it so that you want to exercise, nothing will stop you!

If you haven't found ways to make exercise fun yet, take heart. SparkPeople is here to help. Check out the following resources for some great tips and ideas that will help you see exercise in a whole new light. How about you: Is this one of your secrets to success? Tell us about your favorite workouts and how you keep them fun and interesting!

Did you miss a secret? Find all the rest of the series of 15 here (a new one is posted every day through March 15). If you want even proven weight-loss secrets, The Spark features 12 more, plus a 28-day weight loss program that really works! Learn More

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I load up my iPod with music or tv shows and listen/watch at the gym. Recently we bought a treadmill so I can do it at home now and LOVE it!! Report
I really enjoy a class at the gym called Group Groove. It's a dance aerobics class; the music is current and makes you want to move, the dance steps are easy to follow and groove with the music well. I love it. Makes me want to go to the gym. Report
I discovered belly dance lessons a little over a year ago and love it! I love the exercise, love the socialization with the other women, love going to class and it has inspired me to do other exercises more regularly so I can show off my tummy in my new belly dance costumes! I look forward to my classes (now 3 a week) and I look forward to my other exercise sessions too just b/c it feels good feeling good! Report
I love doing fun things to stay active, it helps a lot! :) Report
Nicole, I have to tell you that I just love reading your Daily Blogs!
Thank you for this! Report
Music, music, music. I put exactly 45 minutes worth of music on my Ipod Shuffle and every evening, I power walk to it. In the mornings, I do a five minute warm up walk to the first song on the mix, then do one of Coach Nicole's videos. Part of what makes it fun is avoiding the dogs who think that it must be play time when I get down on the floor for the videos. It adds a challenge to do ab exercises with a 60 pound dog trying to jump on your head. Report
Because I dont have the resources to pay to join our community health center, I only take advantage of the walking track which is open to everyone free of charge. If I'm there alone, it is not much fun. I enjoy it more when my husband is with me (although I do walk faster than him). I enjoy it the MOST when one of two ladies I've befriended at the track are there. Then we walk and talk and the time flies by! So I agree! Success is tied to enjoying it! Report
AMEN! For me its riding my horse, but all the other things I do that are less fun, like strength training, I do to help me ride better! It really does make a difference, and I love trying new things. Report
You have to love it...ok, at least like it or you won't do it. Report
I work out outside year round even here in MI. Just like the mailman, wind rain, sleet or snow I refused to be housed up. The secret is in the footwear, I have boots for all conditions. Mud gooloshes, waterproof hiking boots, lightweight tennis shoes, heavy snowboots in short and tall; all properly dried and stored can last along time. I have had my Timberland low hikers for 22 years. My tall Merrell snow boots for eighteen. I will spend extra for quality, because I know that if I take care of them, they will last.

It feels great getting out and seeing nature. My town has a river trail and nature reserves along the path to hike in as well. Report
Making it fun and changing it up a lot are the keys to keep me going. Always be willing to try something new. You might just find a new passion waiting to be discovered. I found that I really like bouldering. Who knew! Report
Yes! It must be fun! Report
You'd be surprised, or maybe not; with children and amusement parks. Act as they act; run, jump and enjoy the rides. I enjoy taking my grandsons to the museums where we get in a few miles of stepping as well, slow but making it happen. Chasing them in the house, thowing a ball and hitting it as well. We make our own fun. Report
spring, summer, fall is good outside. winter give me the inside pool. Report
Can't wait for the warmer weather....I miss exercising outside!!! Report
As I make the transition to maintaining a healthy weight over a lifetime, I HAVE to make it fun. I still get a good workout but I try to mix it up. Making it social or finding a fun upbeat workout DVD with good music helps. Also, when the weather is nice, get outside and enjoy it! Good luck to everyone with their weightloss goals. Report
For me, when I was first getting into shape, moving was a chore and I found experimenting daunting. But I was able to stick with some basics, like walking and swimming long enough to get myself moderately fit. Then I added some strength training, and before I knew it, things were really looking up. I felt more confident in what I was doing, so I felt better trying new things. I wasn't always able to keep up immediately, but I did OK. As I got more fit, more options opened up, and I found moving a joy. It felt good to know that I could go on any hike or take almost any class, and get a good workout without killing myself. I've tried so many things that I never would have considered at the beginning, like Hip-Hop dance and now I'm training for distance cycling. I really think that finding something you can do to reach that minimum fitness level is key. That gets you to the launching pad for loving exercise. Report
As someone who has been a member of Spark for over 2 years I have to say while the information is interesting it is not new to me. Spark has been saying this for years.
So far these "Secret' are not making me want to run out and buy the book to access to more Secret, book owner into. Seems to be just alot of the information we already have access to on the site. Report
What I really LOVE is the being able to do so much more now! I was strictly a pool girl for the first 2 1/2 years of this journey to health. I finally tried the Boot Camp and although it is so tough and I am a drip at the end, I sometimes just feel so darn proud of what I have accomplished. So I love that I can do any of these physical things, even with a bum knee! Report
I look forward to my water aerobics class twice a week and have just taken up running. Plan to enter some 5K races this summer. I am always amazed when people say they hate exercise yet they are at the gym 7 days a week. Glad I found something I enjoy. Report
Exercise is fun when you have people who enjoy it with you. Report
I still dont think its "fun". Maybe if I had someone to work out with. I do an aquasize class on tues and thurs. thats fun most days. but otherwise. its work. Report
That is a good idea, I will try to find something to make my excercise more challenge and fun. Thanks for advice. Report
That is my problem. I work out in the mornings and all the fun group fitness classes that I want to do are in the evenings. I guess I will just need to change my workout schedule, so I won't have the tendency to blow off my workout. Report
I've recently started cross-country skiing with my dog instead of going to the gym. The gym is something that I only do once the guilt overrides my disinterest... but I look forward to cross country skiing all day! Report
I love being out side. So I powerwalk or jog 5 days a week when the weather is nice. And on the not nice days I use my treadmill. I also go walking with my best bud Dennis one day a week. And in the summer I do water aerobics in my pool. The article is right if you love doing it the workouts will come easy. You won't see me riding around town on my bicycle I don' t own and won't own. Report
Yes, definitely!! I was primarily a walker, but last year added running to mix things up. Then I started entering races so I'd have a fun goal to work towards. This year I'm doing my first half marathon, and I'm thinking about training for a triathlon next year. I also added outdoor workouts so I'm not always at the gym, and next winter I'm thinking about taking up cross-country skiing. I used to dread the boredom of workouts, but now I have found so many ways to make them fun that I usually get excited about getting out there!! Report
I like to mix it up. Switch from 10 min. to 20 or 30 min. Depending on how much time is I have on hand.Working out makes your day. Report
You ahve to find the fun or you will not stay with it!! I enjoy in line skating, but haven't done it for a few years. I am going to do it this spring and summer though. It does help with my problem areas as well as being fun!! I also enjoy swimming and walking/hiking. My husband and I are going to try kayaking this year! Report
I looooooove inline skating. Not only is it a hobby, but it really helps with my problem areas. I also like hiking and camping. Not only do I get to enjoy the beautiful scenery, but I stay in shape, too. Kill two birds with one stone!
tjb Report
I have an aqua-hoop that I love. I can stand and watch television while using the 5 lb hoola hoop. I love being outdoors and playing at the playground with my son too. And in a month and a half, we're going home (San Francisco) to walk at Alcatraz and Lombard Street- a yearly tradition. As if those two sites aren't enough, SFCA walking is the best exercise there is! Report
I love mixing up my workouts! I always enjoy a walk but have discovered I love the challenge of a spinning class (my friend convinced me to try it). Yoga, pilates, and lifting weights ~ it never gets boring if you mix it up a bit! Report
I love strength training as well. It's so empowering, I love the feeling of pushing my muscles and the sense of accomplishment.

The free weights are the best, though machines push me as well. I try to mix it up. Even tried a bench press for the first time! Empty bar of course to learn form and balance, but woo. I felt like a little girl playing in the big boys playground, and the guys were more than willing to help teach me. Report
I may be one of the few who actually enjoys strength training! I feel so strong and empowered afterwards, and love seeing my ability to increase weight and reps. Report
Dancing around the house with my kids is one of my favorite activites....Exercise and just good old fashioned family fun! Report
Kickboxing is my favorite thing to do and once I start the time just flies by! Report
Absolutely, I truly enjoy Spinning. Group fitness classes are fun and motivating too, and if I'm on my own, music is a must. I'm learning to actually like running a little more :)

We have a vacation comign up in a month, and I can't wait to hike, swim, and snorkel on the island! A jog on the beach sounds like heaven. Report
I'm looking forward to an active vacation in two weeks that will include lots of hiking and kayaking. It will be a great vacation, with exercise built in! Report
I totally agree, once I found my passion in kickboxing I started looking forward to my next workout. If I find myself dreading a workout day or session, I start immediately looking for a new replacement. I went from no workout to working out 6 days per week, making exercise my morning prioirty to start my day off right. Report
I love to walk and I love dance music enormously. I find it fun to listen and walk to the beat keeps me going. Report
It is very true. Making it fun and different makes working out fun. Report