Cecilie Lind: How to make your workouts playful – and make them last

Cecilie Lind is one of Europe’s most inspirational trainers, so it’s no wonder she’s achieved so much popularity and respect throughout the fitness world. In this article she offers her advice on making your workouts as enjoyable as possible, which she sees as the key to keeping your training regime and make working out an integrated part of your life.

Cecilie Lind in Paris for TrainAway

Everyone who works out knows it: At some point, working out becomes dull, very dull. No matter how much you love to workout, and how much you do it, this is inevitable. Sadly, this is also why some people never get to feel the joy of working out, because they shy away from the gym before they even get started – because for them, it’s boring and repetitive.

So, what can you do to stop this happening to you and start enjoying your workouts more than ever before?

Well, our ambassador and good friend Cecilie Lind has a recipe which has been working for her, and every life she has touched through her work as a personal trainer: It’s all about making your workouts playful!

Start taking the aesthetic focus out of the equation, and put focus on what your body actually is capable of, functionally. Teach your body new skills, challenge it to master new things, and the joy will start to follow. Her own hashtag on Instagram is: #thegymismyplayground, and this is really the core message of Cecilie Lind’s training philosophy! We love this approach and therefore decided to talk to her a bit more about the topic and ask her some questions which we can all benefit from…


So Cecilie, you obviously love to play around with your workouts and try new things – Why is that important to you?


I guess I just love trying new things. It’s really important for me, also in my training – that’s how I keep my motivation high and keep challenging myself. I used to play tennis for almost 20 years, and been in the gym for around 12 now. Having worked out for so many years, it’s key for me to keep challenging my body, because that keeps the motivation high. It’s much easier to set small goals for stuff you want to be able to do with your body, rather then simply wishing for a beautiful figure or whatever. It makes it more enjoyable because now it’s more about having fun!

Cecilie has previously participated in fitness competitions, but gave that idea up along time ago, to focus on what really gave her joy.


Why did your focus change to being more performance-based, rather than being about aesthetics? It’s true you used to participate in fitness competitions as well?


Yes it’s true, I did compete in fitness competitions previously and I actually did that because I set myself a goal. I love to set goals in life, and at the time I lost my mom, so I needed to set a goal that would get me up in the mornings. So that was actually the main reason why, I basically just needed a new goal at that time.

But the fitness competitions just weren’t for me. The aesthetically-driven workout regimes just didn’t work for me, at all. It wasn’t fun. Doing a fitness competition can really challenge your approach but more worryingly they can destroy your mindset – especially for young girls. You engage so heavily in comparing your body with other girls, that it can take its toll on your relationship with your own body. It just wasn’t fun to me.

For me, life is so much more than eating from a Tupperware, and working out to look good on a stage. Aesthetics should be a bonus, but not the primary driving force.

I always say to people: love your lifestyle and your lifestyle will love you right back.

So if you start to workout for the fun of it, and just eat normal, healthy food, your body will start to love you right back. You’ll see the transformation, not only in muscle and fat, but in your whole attitude too.

Ceclie Lind on the road

Since then, her focus has shifted dramatically, and Cecilie now lives for the thrill of teaching her body new things, and teaching others to embrace that same challenge. However, functional workouts can be scary for novices just getting into fitness, but the Cecilie Lind approach is all about making it an enjoyable process, and, best of all, there are people out there to help you get started.


Are these more functional and alternative workouts for everyone?


I definitely think they are – you’ve just got to get started! Of course, as with everything, there will be different kind of levels depending on your starting point. I’ve been working out and doing sports my entire life, so of course, I will be able to do stuff with my body that other people more new to training can’t do right away. But this is what you have to learn to enjoy, challenging your body to perform something new. When “fun” is the focus, it’s also alright to look stupid a couple of times along the way.

But everybody can do it for sure! I believe that all bodies are made to move and also can be challenged by new movements: rotations, footwork, jumps, crawls.  I especially believe in this kind of activity at this point in time. In today’s world, where we sit still more than ever, you need to really get out and challenge your joints and your muscles when you workout.

And YES, of course there is a starting point. Your knees and your hips need to be ready for it, just like when you do sports and weightlifting. So of course it has to be built up. But there’s a starting point in all things in life, and it’s just about starting the right way. I know that everyone that I train gets it right away, and they love it!

So, the playful workouts are for everyone indeed. But for many, getting started can be a mystery.


How do you get started with more playful and challenging workouts? Where’s the best place to get inspiration?


There are different ways of going about it. I usually always recommend people to try and find a personal trainer or just somebody you know who can guide you in the beginning, so you lose the fear of these types of workouts. Losing the fear and replacing it with joy is key in the beginning, so accompanying yourself with a personal trainer can be a great gateway to quickly learn to love the playful workouts, and be comfortable with them.


Then there’s the world of Instagram and Youtube, both of which can be a great source of inspiration. This is more for the fearless people out there. There’s so much great content, there really is, but going down this road, no one is going to hold your hand when you try out new stuff, and that can be a challenge to overcome.

So, try out on your own if you dare, the inspiration out there on social media is endless. but remember to make sure you feel a sense of fear holding you back. This is completely normal and if you feel this way, it could be a good idea to ask somebody for help.

Other than helping other people devote themselves to a less aesthetically-driven workout mentality, Cecilie Lind enjoys a successful entrepreneurial life that takes her all over the world. Of course we couldn’t help ourselves but ask her a little about taking her active lifestyle on the road with her.


How does Cecilie Lind stay in shape on the road? Do you like to visit new gyms when traveling?


I do travel often and having a lot of work outside Copenhagen it’s great to visit new gyms – it’s so much fun. Either if it’s an Old school bodybuilding gym from the 70’s or a brand new performance gym, it’s just a great experience. Like most people, I like to experience new culture in terms of food, people, nature and so on. But for me, this also goes for fitness! There’s a lot of culture in fitness from country to country and it’s just really fun to explore all the differences. How do people workout? What are the trends? How do people act in the gym? And of course, there’s just a lot of new inspiration to find. Crossfit boxes, boxing gyms, sports gyms, you name it – it’s just fun to experience.

Cecilie Lind at Neoness Gym Paris

Yup, in today’s world, it’s all about creating experiences for yourself! Experiences that your mind or body remembers and uses as positive fuel. Weather it is enriching your life by exploring a new part of the world, the people you spend time with along the way, or how you keep your body healthy – it should all add up to creating positive experiences that you remember going forward.

Making your workouts playful and challenging your body functionally is a great way of making sure that the hours you spend working out are hours that your mind and body will be more likely to remember and use as a catalyst in all aspects of life. And if you look back at your workouts and they created memorable experiences for you, you can be sure that you’re more likely to stay with them and make them an integrated part of your life. Cecilie Lind is one of a number of trainers out there who are ready to inspire you and get you started on this mission – now it’s just up to you to take the first step.

This article on Cecilie Lind is part of a series on TrainAway’s ambassadors. You’ll also find articles on Jacob Sumana, Josefine Achen and Kristaps Vilde.

TrainAway is a digital platform that helps you find and access a gym anywhere in the world. Buy day passes to gyms near you using the TrainAway app, available from the App Store or Google Play Store. Want to hear more from TrainAway? Subscribe to our newsletter.

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