If going to the gym feels like drudgery, you may be doing the wrong type of workout. Finding an exercise program that you enjoy can motivate you to stick with it and reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle. But can real fitness and real fun be combined to be really effective?

“There needs to be a balance between fun and effective,” says The Fitness Edge owner Mike Jaudes. “We can find something that might be fun, but usually things that are fun are pretty easy. If it’s too fun or too easy, then of course your results will be very minimal.”

However, there are certain attributes that can make a workout more pleasant. Jessica Prasse of The Bar Method St. Louis says motivating, knowledgeable instructors, music, and variety are ingredients for an effective, enjoyable workout.

“Be open to new forms of exercise and don’t be scared to try new things,” Prasse says. “So many women worry about how they will look or what others will think. We are all here for the same end goals. Some people are so stuck in their routine, they don’t even realize a change could not only be good for their body but an eyeopening experience to grow.”

Finding a novel exercise class isn’t a problem in St. Louis where fitness seekers can try Zumba, pole dancing, aerial fitness, boxing, martial arts and more. “Bar Method classes are the only class we offer,” Prasse notes. “We believe the more you can focus on one form of exercise, the better you can train your clients.” She also emphasizes that instructors should work to ensure that participants are using correct form and technique rather than simply demonstrate the movements.

The importance of hands-on instruction is key, Jaudes agrees. Working oneon- one with a trainer or in a very small group helps reduce the chance of injury and ensures that the exercises are being performed properly in order to strengthen and tone the target muscles.

Consistency is also critical to results, which is another reason an enjoyable workout can be beneficial. “Fifteen years ago, my first trainer told me, From this day forward, working out is not a choice. You treat it like it’s your job. The moment you think, I don’t know if I want to work out, you change your mindset and tell yourself this is not an option. Make time for it just like you do other priorities in your life,” Prasse says.

Jaudes adds that for many people seeing results is the ultimate in ‘fun.’ “One thing I know for sure is that every client I’ve ever met with and sat across from, whether they’re 20 years old or 70 years old, there’s not one of them who ends up being mad at me because they physically look better,” he says.