Do you hate to exercise as much as Oprah?

Fall in love with fitness with these three simple tips

exercise, workout tips

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I recently did a piece for the Los Angeles Times that was an open letter to Oprah Winfrey, who has publicly stated that she hates exercise. She’s been successful on and off with weight loss and maintenance, but even with her incredible force of will, Ms. Winfrey’s determination has not been enough to keep her exercising invariably – she dislikes exercise very much.

As the letter states, she needs to just forget about losing weight and feel the love. She needs to learn to love exercise.

Are you struggling with exercise? Do you see it as a chore; a means to an end? Do you continually fall off the fitness bandwagon? Or do you just want to make exercise more fun and kick things up a notch? Well, just like Oprah, you too need to feel the love. So, this year I want you to make a resolution to have some fun and get some exercise excitement into your life.

It doesn’t have to burn lots of calories, build much muscle, improve your flexibility or tone your tummy. It’s just got to be fun, and maybe even a little thrilling to get the adrenaline going.

The first article I ever wrote for was about how to learn to love exercise, and that’s what this is about. You need to find an activity that you will feel excited about and look forward to doing. Like I said, it doesn’t have to work up that much of a sweat, but the important thing here is to get you into the mindset of exercise as something fun to do. Once you flip that switch in your brain, then you can focus on other exercises that may have a more direct impact on your physique.

Here are some ideas on how to integrate this:

1. Learn, Plan, Prepare, then Do
This is all about building up self-efficacy, which is your situation-specific self-confidence. You don’t just go and jump into a new and strange activity without an understanding of what you’re in for or this creates stress. If you study up and prepare in advance, you will feel much better about your ability to succeed at a new activity.

2. Consider a team-based approach
Trying something different can be stressful, but it can be made easier with the support from a team-mate. If you’ve got a friend to go through the trials and tribulations with, it spreads the stress out. You can laugh at each others mistakes and encourage each other as well.

3. Get creative
Think about how cool it would be to tell someone you go cross-country skiing with a rifle, or are part of a learn to luge group, or that you are studying a martial art that the Israeli Defense Forces use.

You want to think way outside the box on this one; maybe have a brainstorming session with whomever you’re going to partner with on this new adventure. Figure out something that is both appealing and doable then start planning your adventure.

Here are some additional fun exercise ideas that you may be interested to try:
•    Downhill skiing or snowboarding
•    Some funky new dancing class
•    Archery
•    Roller skating
•    Windsurfing
•    Laser tag or paintball (warning about the latter – it really hurts).
•    Dodge ball
•    Trampolining or gymnastics
•    Rock climbing
•    Snowshoeing
•    Dance Dance Revolution
•    Surfing
•    Mountain biking
•    Taking up a sport like basketball, soccer, volleyball or hockey
•    Water polo
•    Scuba diving
•    Kite surfing
•    River or sea kayaking

Make 2011 the year of adventure!

James S. Fell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Calgary, AB. Visit or email him at

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