I was recently able to start working out again after a long hiatus, thanks to a slow-healing injury that’s finally almost better (yay!!). After the initial few weeks of excitement, I’ve started to remember something I’d forgotten about working out regularly: it gets boring.
There are things you can do. I listen to energetic music and change the songs frequently so that I feel like I’m in my own training montage. I daydream about climbing stalled metro escalators without breaking a sweat.
When that doesn’t cut it, I make things up. Here are a few of my favorite potentially motivating fictional situations.
Pretend that you live in the terrifying world of Justin Cronin’s The Passage. You’re outside the wall and the lights are out. RUN RUN RUN. Alternatively, you’re lifting to build strength to defend your loved ones in case of a power outage. What could be more important? (To take this to an extreme, check out Zombies, Run!)
Pretend that you’re a 7th year at Hogwarts who just heard about the Triwizard tournament. You need to make sure you’re as fast, agile, and strong as possible in order to dodge dragons, escape acromatula, and break the fingers of grasping grindylows. If you’re too young, don’t worry – I bet you can order some potion from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to age you up a bit.
Pretend that you’re training for Knighthood at the Palace in Tortall. We all know it’s hard to make it to the Ordeal of Knighthood, but that’s why it’s what heroes like Alanna do. Borrow Coram’s heavy sword so that you can build muscle to eventually be the King’s Champion. Maybe you can go visit George later to cheer yourself up, if Duke Gareth will give you permission.
Pretend that you’ve been chosen as a tribute like Katniss or Peeta. Obviously you’re going to finish your set, because otherwise you’ll probably die. Don’t forget, those District 1 tributes have been training their whole lives! You want to make it past the initial bloodbath, don’t you? I bet you can do 5 more minutes on the elliptical.
Pretend that you’ve just discovered you’re a Shadowhunter. You’re basically a superhero, but you only just found out. The other Shadowhunters have been training their whole lives. You don’t want to be the weak link on the dream team, do you? Stick to your routine and prepare to be amazed at what you can do.
Why not just take a book to the gym? If you can gym-read successfully, more power to you. It’s too much distraction for me. I will either sit on a machine for hours, barely pedaling as I read, or injure myself immediately.
For those days when you just can’t bring yourself to leave your lovely, book-filled home:
Do 20 crunches every time you finish a chapter.
Read only very heavy books and do a set of bicep curls or tricep dips with them every 20 pages.
Read in downward dog. This one has some logistical hurdles to work out, but I have faith in you.
Read very quickly. That must burn at least a calorie or two, right?
Walk around while you read. My mom always tells me this is a bad idea, but if you do it in your home you’re less likely to encounter unexpected obstacles.
Do you ever pretend to be a fictional character when you work out? Tell me your best ones!
(Note: I am not a doctor or fitness professional of any kind. I just like books and also aspire to exercise occasionally.)
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