Want to get extra effort and work harder in exercise without even realizing it?
Do something fun (that also happens to be hard).
We have intuitively known this is how things work for our entire lives, but there are researchers proving it (even though we have all experienced the proof.)
Remember endless snowball battles, snowman building, sledding where you stayed outside until you could no longer feel your hands and feel and just couldn’t take it any longer?
Remember playing tag or any backyard or street sport and being so very out of breath…yet still not stopping?
Remember swimming at the pool in summer and being tired from it all (but still crushed) when the whistle blew for “adult swim” and you had to sit out for 10 minutes (and it felt like an eternity)?
We know that when we are locked in and having a fun experience, we’ll be as physically intense as we need to be to maximize the experience and no one needs to implore us to “dig deep.”
This is the essence of the Funtensity approach to exercise.
A recent study shows this applies to the gym for adults too, not just our childhood movement memories.
People were instructed to choose from lists of similarly difficult workouts to self-select a weightlifting workout. The participants who were instructed to select a fun exercise completed more reps than those told to pick an exercise most useful for their long-term fitness goals.
In fitness, we often promote the “delayed reward” of a future self that feels/looks/performs better based on the result of consistent effort. Studies like the above show that promoting the “immediate reward” – the fun experience – will lead to better, more consistent effort. Which is what creates the outcome we are after in the delayed reward.
In fact, the researchers noted that “immediate rewards are stronger predictors of activity persistence than delayed rewards.”
In fitness, let’s stop selling people a better future and sell them a better experience in this moment. Right now. Today.