Britney Spears is not one to shy away from social media: She has shared everything from abs photos to workout routines to her honest thoughts on mental self-care on Instagram. In her recent post published on July 16, she took to the platform to share her true thoughts on the treadmill.
Spears prefaced her post with a caption detailing her hate for the treadmill—“it’s a big a deal for me to stay on the treadmill, cause I literally hate it,” she wrote—but there was a catch: She wanted to challenge herself to go longer on it than her typical workout, just to prove to herself that she could do it.
“Right now I’ve just gone 15 minutes on the treadmill,” she said in the accompanying video. “Usually my base workout is 15 minutes on the treadmill, I get off and do stretching, yoga, arms, and a little Pilates, and then get back on and do 15 minutes. But today, my challenge is to go 30.”
That made us wonder: Is there any benefit to pushing through with a workout you just can’t stand? We know we can’t just ride all the time, but is there any benefit to putting yourself through a workout you really don’t like? We tapped Amber Rees, a senior instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp and cofounder of the Brave Body Project to find out.
Turns out, Rees agrees with Spears’s sentiment of challenging herself to do something she hates in her workout—and says there is a big benefit in doing workouts you don’t love.
“I say try everything. Many times we all dive into workouts that we love, because working out is hard enough,” Rees told Runner’s World. “On the other hand, trying new things is super beneficial and shaking up your workout routine supplies great benefits with preventing injury, breaking through a plateau, and staying away from boredom in your routine.”
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One reason you may hate, say, the treadmill or a yoga class could be from a bad experience. Maybe you weren’t in the best mood that day, your body didn’t respond well, or you didn’t vibe with the instructor. Rather than writing it off for good, Reese suggests trying it again, while still focusing on workouts you love.
Additionally, give yourself a timeframe to try it out see if you truly don’t like it or it was actually a one-time fluke—try adding it in to your routine twice a week for a month to find out. For example, if you know your body could benefit from yoga, but you loathe the idea of forcing yourself to slow down, sign up for a few different types of yoga classes per week for a month.
Another way to keep yourself accountable for trying new things? Find a friend who will attend classes with you.
“At the end of the day, you’ll be more motivated to get up and get out to a workout that you actually enjoy and look forward to,” Rees says. “But don’t rid yourself of trying new things. I say learn to love what you hate.”
Giving yourself a goal and trying it out more than once will allow you to see whether the workout you think you hate can benefit, challenge, and change you, says Rees.
After that? If you’ve given that yoga class a fair chance, and you still hate it, skip it. Don’t force something that could end up wrecking your whole workout routine.
“Let’s face it, we set our alarms at 5 a.m. for workouts we love, and still hit snooze. The odds of us smacking snooze more frequently for something we hate are very high,” Rees says. “But I say make the effort. You’ll never be upset at yourself for doing something new and trying to change your routine to better yourself.”
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