The other night I was walking into my yoga class, when I passed a young yoga teacher speaking pretty intensely to a visibly upset student, who wasn't meeting her eyes. She was telling the teary girl that "exercise is supposed to be hard, you're supposed to hate it and then when you're done, you are glad you did it.". The girl was sniffling and nodding, and looking totally defeated.
I skirted around the drama and went into my class with my usual teacher. But I couldn't get this scene out of my head. It made me think, "Am I doing something wrong? Do I have to hate my workout in order for it to be effective?"
For me the answer is no. I don't enjoy being forced to do things that I don't want to do. I can try to talk myself into it, but I pretty quickly move into "dig in and resist" mode. I loathe feeling forced into doing things that I don't want to do or spending time with people who make me feel stupid (I spend a good portion of my day feeling stupid, no assistance is required, thankyouverymuch!).
I was very fortunate when I started yoga at Blissful Yoga studio, I took classes from some awesome teachers who encouraged my practice from the ground up. Teachers who supported and guided my practice, but still made me feel as if I was doing well (even if I now know that I started out horribly inflexible).
I still go to Intro to Yoga classes simply because I love the teachers. And I continue to learn from them as I improve my poses in each class. A great yoga teacher encourages progress, while altering each class to match the level of the students, offering modifications so that no student is left feeling badly about themselves.
If I were to give any advice, it would be for you to find the exercise that makes you happy. Yes, there are days you just don't want to work out, but it's even worse if you have to force yourself to do a workout that you hate.
I don't love to run. I don't always love getting ready to go to yoga class. But I feel good about myself while I'm doing it and after I'm finished. And I believe that is the key that has finally kept my workouts consistent.