Sarah Cowley-Ross: Making Training Fun


We are a rugby mad lot in New Zealand and it’s been fantastic to see how sport can truly capture a nation over the Rugby World Cup. After an epic final I found it very interesting to hear what Steve Hansen and others remarked about the culture and ethos of the All Black team. Through the underlying humility one of the key messages I heard was the importance of having fun within the team and in life. In the pressure cooker environment of sport how cool I thought that the coach just wants his boys to enjoy the mom
ent and have fun. Quite simple really but so easy to get lost in the hoopla of competition.

We can certainly take this attitude into our own training regime at the AUT Millennium. It’s time to have a fun check on your training, consider yourself ordered to by the master coach Steve Hansen himself. Have a think about what exercises you enjoy? Why do you cringe when you do certain activities in the gym? What exercises give you a boost in the gym? What makes you grimace in annoyance or smile with enjoyment through exercise?

Suggestions to getting the fun back into training….

  • Competition – novelty or otherwise, including handicapping if required – with yourself or with others
  • Dress up days with your training group or gym buddies
  • Train with your friends
  • Changing the environment you train in can provide a different stimulus (for example outside on the track, in the pool or at a local beach)
  • A refreshed new programme in consultation with your trainer or try a new class

classes pt shots MISH 10.8.12-46Naturally there are times when you may have to put yourself in a bit of a ‘hurt box’ to get results. However I would recommend that the majority of your time being active you make sure you enjoy yourself. I’ve don’t some hideous training suggestions in my time but I get a kick coming out the other side knowing that I’ve doing something I love and enjoy (no matter how far into the hurt box I am!).

I was quite a serious athlete by nature. Focused on my goals and completing each training session to the best of my ability. However on reflection when I put more fun into the programme, not so surprising my best results came. For me, silly competitions of different training exercises (for example medicine ball throws for distance) pushed me but at the same provided another stimulus were perfect for adding enjoyment into my structured training programme. Having my normal warm up altered to something different to my normal routine also added in an extra spark.

Our time is limited so we may as well enjoy it and make the most of it, this includes your time at the gym. Listen to our super coach Hansen and have fun.

About Sarah Cowley Ross

Sarah Cowley Ross has recently retired from the sport of athletics where she excelled at heptathlon, attending the 2012 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games and more recently the high jump at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Sarah has been a long supported of AUT Millennium, having made the facility her training home, and was a Scholarship Athlete for many years.

Sarah will be sharing her thoughts with us monthly in Pulse.

You can find Sarah at or following her on Twitter @sarahcowley3.