Have you ever felt unmotivated to exercise? If so, I have the perfect solution for you.

So at IFAST, I run some group classes that we call Team Training. We generally use a circuit template of basic lifts that looks something like this:

  1. Squat
  2. Upper body push
  3. Hip hinge
  4. Upper body pull
  5. Core

30 seconds on. 30 seconds off for four rounds. Then a more “burn-y” finisher at the very end.

But sometimes I get bored with that. Sure, there’s a place for it; that kind of structure is good if I want to make my clients work a little harder than they normally do. In fact, that’s exactly what I had them do on Tuesday.

But we don’t push it like that every class. It wears you down unnecessarily, and neglects certain qualities that I want to develop, like coordination, eye tracking, and kinesthetic differentiation.

I’ve really started to learn more about the inner workings of soccer, especially since MLS superstar Danny O’Rourke and our beloved Indy Eleven have been training at IFAST. I used to think it was boring and only for wimps. I now know that I was very, very wrong.

So now that we have some soccer balls lying around the gym, I try to incorporate them into a workout (either for myself or for others) whenever I can. Even just learning to juggle the ball against the wall has been a great way to get some general exercise in when you’re motivation to train is zero. Plus, I’m starting to get pretty good at it. Below is an example of a game we played on Thursday during Team Training to keep it fun while getting the heart pumping. There’s also an example of how to adapt the rules to make sure everyone is involved and active.

Our group yesterday was the perfect size for this game. It gave us the right mix of soccer literates and soccer illiterates, giving everyone fair competition and confidence. This is the most important factor that I have have to consider when running these games, as many people have taken up exercise later in their life. They are past the critical periods of coordination development.

These clients are not physically literate enough to quickly adopt and excel at a sport they’ve never played. These clients are not motivated to play games. They get down on themselves. They are full of negative emotions. They bring down group morale.

If I can tweak the environment to make it around these negative feelings and keep them involved, they will benefit tremendously. Exercise isn’t just about aerobic capacity, strength, and weight loss. It’s about training the brain. If I train the brain, I can do more things and exercise doesn’t become monotony.

How do you keep the brain healthy? Make it learn new things.

Soccer is a novel stimulus for non-soccer players. In this way, playing 2v2 behind IFAST is akin to learning a new language, reading a new book, or meeting a new person.

How do you break up the monotony of training? I’d love to hear in the comments below!