How To Get Through Boring Workouts
Updated: Apr 8
If you find exercise boring or can't seem to motivate yourself to consistently workout, then you're probably at least somewhat annoyed by a certain personality.
You know...the 'hardos' ...for lack of a better word. The ones who wake up thinking about a hard workout. Who tell anyone who will listen just how pumped up they got during their gym session.
The ones who spew fitness motivation quotes like a Pinterest board come to life.
Now, I must make it clear that I don't mean to say there's anything wrong with someone doing that. Whatever motivates you to stay fit, healthy, and get after it. Do you boo.
But I think its important that we normalize the idea that you're not always going to feel like you can ride the wind to the gym. If you're lacking motivation to workout sometimes, that's not abnormal and you're not beneath the Energizer Workout Bunnies that you know.
Sharing highlights of our day reigns supreme and it's not difficult at all to feel like everyone around you is getting after it at all times. Motivational posts on social media can be super encouraging, but other times can land smack dab in the guilt-inducing, self-shaming portion of your mind.
But again, we're seeing snippets. I'm someone who finds working out to be fun (most of the time lol). I mean, exercise is literally my job after all- and even I can't constantly muster this excessive level of pure excitement to get a sweat on and feel the burn.
If you're feeling like you're the only one who isn't stoked out of their mind for Pilates on your lunch break, please don't let that get you down! You're not alone in that feeling- and you're not the only one desperately searching for ways to make your workout more fun.
Here are some ideas that might help you get through those boring workouts that seem to drag on and on ...and on.
OWN YOUR EXERCISE AS A WORKOUT
I know that not everyone is training for a competition- we all have to take our workouts with a differently level of seriousness. But even though I apply this tip to my training as an elite athlete, the concept remains the same.
When you're approaching your next workout (that you've already deemed as boring), fully acknowledge it as a workout that is an essential piece of your health plan.
Let me explain from my lens.
Cross training (engaging in a different type of exercise to improve performance in one's main sport, also known as the bane of my existence), can be an extremely important part of training as a runner. When you're increasing mileage or putting a lot of stress on your body by running, supplemental training on the bike or in the pool can go a long way.
For years, I've been trying to get good quality cross training in but instead, I half-heartedly drag my feet through it. The number one contributing factor to this problem is that I've always considered my cross training days to be "off days."
This mindset auto-categorized these days as less important than my other workouts, as something that could simply be skipped or done with apathy. Yes, it can be a recovery day. No, that doesn't mean I should skip it or not give any effort at all.
Breaking down the real purposes of cross training (ex: increasing endurance without going on a high-impact long run) did wonders for my motivation. There's a greater picture to these workouts that makes it an essential piece of the journey to my fitness goals.
Take some boredom out of a workout by making sure there is a purpose to it and consistently remind yourself of this purpose and how it is helping you reach your main fitness goal.
listen to Music
If you don't have a Spotify playlist labeled "workouts" or "get hype" by now, let this be your sign to start one. I have a playlist titled "Cross Training" where I specifically put songs that motivate me to get going and get out of my head a little bit.
Take this tip to the next level by finding ways to integrate music into your exercise. This makes the workout more fun, more challenging, and fly by sooner than you know it! Pick up the pace during the chorus of your favorite song, or switch movements every time a certain beat picks up.
This way, you're more focused on the music and the beat than the grind of the workout that might otherwise be monotonous.
MAKE IT A CIRCUIT
This won't always apply to you, but it's definitely something that's helpful when starting out a new workout that bores you or when your old routine feels like its become repetitive.
Starting out, I couldn't fathom biking for 40 minutes straight. If I'm being honest, I still barely can after years of practice. Shake things up a little by turning a boring workout into a circuit that still keeps your heart rate up.
You'll still be working on your endurance, but you can add in other strength movements, too. The breaks from biking, running, whatever you're doing, make the workout a little easier to handle mentally.
Here's a circuit to turn a boring bike workout into an interactive cardio workout:
- 10 minutes on the bike or elliptical- Do 10 min evenly paced straight OR 2 min easy 2 min hard until you reach 10 min
- 10 V-Ups
- Set of pull-ups or push-ups
- 15 squat jumps
- 10 crunches or another ab drill of choice
Repeat for your desired workout time!
Track Your Workouts
Keeping track of your workouts is not only an all-around great tip for improving your commitment to exercising, it's an extra great way to motivate yourself on the not-so-exciting days as well. While tracking workouts and journaling your time may seem like just another thing to add to your plate, the effort it takes to write stuff down ends up paying for itself in the long run.
You save time trying to remember what you did last week, what your previous best time or heaviest lift was, and you can get right to business every time you work out. You have clear goals and an ability to see how far you've come.
That's super motivating and can even make the boring workouts more exciting by showing your progress and reminding you how they're helping you get closer to your goals!
You might consider using apps like Map My Run to record your training, a fitness watch like the Fitbit to gather useful information that you can track, or using a planner system to keep everything organized.
I personally love a great planner system to keep track of the important stuff. I use my fitness planner to write out my fitness routines (yes, even the boring ones) so I know what they are and why I'm doing them. Then, I'll use a habit tracker in the planner as well to make sure I'm keeping up with the things I should be doing.
The planner routine inserts I use are up for grabs from my Planner Collection freebies, you can get here. It comes in binder size, A5, personal, and B6. It pairs perfectly with a habit tracker!
Get A Workout Partner
This probably seems obvious now that you've read it, but if you're not working out with a partner ever, consider adding a buddy to some of your workouts to make exercise more fun and interactive. A workout partner holds you accountable and pushes you to be even better!
If you love how a specific workout makes you feel, but find it dreadfully boring, asking a friend to join you is a great way to boost motivation levels and make sure you still get it done.
add variety to your workouts
Yeah, this is really similar to the tip above where I say to turn boring workouts into exciting circuits with a variety of different exercises. But take that tip a step further and add diversity to your workout schedule as a whole.
Try things you've never done- whether that's picking up a new sport or trying drills and exercises you that find on YouTube. There's really no limit to the number of different ways to exercise and the internet will be your best friend for this.
Look for Instagram accounts that motivate you with creative exercises, YouTube fitness channels that walk you through training routines, or sign up with a trainer to bring a different approach to your workouts.
Cut Your workout time down
This might sound counterintuitive, and it might not be an option for those competing as elite athletes (right there with you). But if your workout is boring the heck out of you because you can't stay focused for the amount of time you've allotted for your training... cut the time down. It's as simple as that.
If you do this right, you're not cutting out on exercise and decreasing your fitness. Instead of a mediocre effort where you're not putting in your best work for an hour, pick up the intensity and only work out for 30 minutes. If you replace a longer, low quality workout with a short, but high quality effort, you'll get more out of it anyways.
Before I go, I want to share a mantra that always lands well with me that you should consider adding to your collection of motivational quotes that you bring with you to your workouts.
"Keep showing up, no matter what it looks like."
You're there, you're trying. And hey, you may be bored, but small steps forward are still moving forward.
I hope something here helps bring a little fire back into your heart for those days you just can't motivate yourself through a certain workout. Remember that some days you're not going to feel as good as you do on others, and that's totally fine. As long as you keep showing up in some way, you're on your way!