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Get Through Those "Boring" Workouts: How To Make Exercise Fun

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

how to make exercise fun

First: The Energizer Workout Bunny Effect

If you find exercise boring, or you can't seem to consistently find motivation to workout, then you're probably a little bit annoyed with a certain group of people.

You know who they are.

The ones who wake up thinking about a hard workout. Who tell anyone and everyone who will listen just how pumped up they got during their gym session.

Sometimes they're the ones who spew fitness motivation quotes as if they're a Pinterest board come to life.

Of course, I don't mean that there's anything wrong with that. Whatever motivates you to stay fit, healthy, and get after it is good in my book. We all motivate differently and the most important part is that you're treating your body well.

But I do also think it's super important that we normalize the idea that you're not always going to be motivated. There are going to be days where you wake up and don't feel as if you could ride on the back of the wind straight to the gym.

If you're lacking motivation to workout sometimes, that's normal and you're not beneath the Energizer Workout Bunnies that you know.

And if we're keeping it real, no one is crazy motivated to do a hard workout every single day of their lives.

Sharing highlights of our day is what we do. You're very rarely getting the full picture—so it's not difficult to feel like everyone around you is going after it at all times.

Motivational posts on social media can be super encouraging, but other times they weasel their way into the guilty, self-shaming portion of your mind.

I call this the Energizer Workout Bunny effect. That bunny is always going, battery never dies.

>>For legal reasons, this isn't about you Energizer batteries. :) <<

Anyways, and then we feel bad about it, because we don't feel that same way. Are we doing things wrong when we think working out absolutely suck?

Like I said, we're seeing snippets. Take me. I legitimately find working out enjoyable—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.

how to make exercise fun, smiling girl working out

Moral of the story, if you're feeling like you're the only one who isn't stoked out of their mind for Pilates on the lunch break, you're not.

You're not alone in that feeling—and you're not the only one desperately searching for how to make exercise fun.

7 Tips To Make Exercise More Fun

Do you want to learn how to make exercise a habit? Or at least get some ideas to help you get through those boring workouts that seem to drag on...and on...

...and on?

Then read on for 7 busy girl ideas to make exercise more fun!

1) Own Your Workout

I know that not everyone is training for a competition—we all take our workouts with a different level of seriousness. But even though I apply this tip to my training as an elite athlete, the concept remains the same.

When you approach a workout that you've already deemed as boring, it's going to be boring.

You might surprise yourself and have fun, but the chances are slim. If you've already made up your mind that something is going to be terribly boring, you won't even make an effort to make it fun.

Nine times out of ten, that seals the deal and you're sure to end up hating it.

Next time a workout is coming up, 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 do quality cross-training but instead, I half-heartedly drag my feet through it.

The number one contributing factor to this problem? I've always considered my cross-training days to be "off days" or "rest 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 long run) did wonders for my motivation. There's a greater picture to these workouts that makes them an essential piece of the journey to my fitness goals.

Essentially, taking some time to remember the purpose behind your exercise can actually remove some of the boredom and make it fun again.

2) 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.

To be honest, this is probably the number one tip for how to make exercise fun. Who doesn't love a little jam session?

Pro tip: take it 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. If you haven't yet, search dance workouts on YouTube. This is definitely one of my favorite fun physical activities for adults. Yes, adults.

Madfit's are my favorite!

fun exercise classes, fitness girl

3) Make It A Circuit, Make It Fun

I absolutely love doing this with almost any type of exercise. Turning things into a circuit is extremely helpful when you're bored with exercise or you feel like your workout routine is becoming repetitive.

Plus, this is one of the best and easiest ways to exercise at home. With bodyweight circuits and so many different things you can do, it's easy to find something to do without leaving the house.

Does running or biking for 40 minutes straight sound like a nightmare to you?

Shake things up a little by turning a boring workout into a circuit that still keeps your heart rate up!

You can still build endurance, but you can add in other strength movements, too. This breaks up the monotony of doing something for a long time and makes it easier to handle mentally.

As an example, here's a circuit to turn a boring bike workout into an interactive cardio workout:

  • 5-10 minutes on the bike

  • 10 V-Ups

  • Set of pull-ups or push-ups

  • 15 squat jumps

  • 10 crunches or another ab drill of choice

And repeat as many times as you like! Trust me, it's way more fun.

4) How To Make Exercise A Habit: Track Your Workouts

Hear me out. I realize this might sound like turning exercise into a job, but there are so many reasons to track fitness. And making exercise more fun is one of them!

Tracking your workout gives you an all-around greater commitment to exercising. When you can see your progress, you're more motivated to exercise on the days that you're not feeling excited.

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 was that circuit you did that was actually so fun? Find out in your workout log!

  • What was your previous best time or heaviest lift? Challenge yourself to beat it or keep working towards it!

  • Get right to business every time you workout. You know what you like and you have the ideas written down. No need to feel like you're wasting your time.

All of this is super motivating and can even make 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.

If you wanted to know how to make exercise a habit, a planner system works too. You can use a habit tracker in the planner as well to keep track of everything.

If you need planner pages to print out and get started, make sure you check out my 8 free planning pages inside of my Running and Fitness Planning Guide. It will help you start organizing your healthy lifestyle and having fun with fitness!

5) Get A Workout Partner

Workout buddies are life.

You can definitely find ideas for how to make exercise fun alone. 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...but they also make things a hell of a lot more fun.

More than half of the reason that I've enjoyed being an athlete all of my life is because of the relationships it builds. I have had so much fun with teammates and friends over the years.

Even when things are serious and there's a lot at stake, having friends to laugh the nerves off with or just talk to during workouts has made it so much more fun.

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.

6) Add Variety to Your Workouts

Add diversity to your workout schedule as a whole! Shaking things up within a workout by doing circuits made up of a variety of exercises is great, but don't just do the same circuits time and time again.

Unless that's making exercise fun for you.

Then go right ahead.

But when you're feeling stagnant, try things you've never done. Whether you find fun exercise classes, Google "fun physical exercises for adults," or pick up an entirely new sport, there's really no limit to the number of different ways to exercise.

Try new drills and exercises! Get out for a walk and go a different direction. Shake it up.

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.

7) Cut Your Workout Time Down

This might sound counterintuitive, and it might not make sense for you. Like me, I'm a professional athlete and can't tell my coach to make my workout shorter simply because "I'm bored."

Oh, how I wish I could.

But in general, if your workout is boring the heck out of you because you can't stay focused for the 3-hour chunk of time you gave yourself to workout...cut it down.

It's as simple as that.

Schedule it into your day or your week with an allotted amount of time. This will force you to make the most out of that time.

It's not always about quantity; quality matters more. A fun, exciting, and tiring workout that lasts just 20 minutes can do more for you than an hour and a half of half-hearted moving around.

PS. Any movement is better than no movement, but you know what I mean.

If you do this right, you're not cutting out on exercise and decreasing your fitness. You're just replacing a longer, low-quality workout with a shorter, but high-quality effort. You'll get more out of it anyways and it will probably feel a lot less like a punishment!

How To Make Exercise Fun

Remember, exercise doesn't always need to be fun, but it shouldn't be something you hate.

Movement is a form of self-care and you don't want it to make you miserable.

Life is a balance, and it's all about finding your perfect balance.

So before I go, I want to share a mantra that always lands well with me. You should add it to your list of positive exercise affirmations if you have one. (You should have one.)

"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! Some days won't feel as good. There's nothing wrong with that.

Keep showing up in some way, find creative and fun ways to move your body, and you're set! If you found this helpful, or have a way to make exercise fun that you just have to share, leave a comment so we all can learn from you!

the busy girl's guide to getting through boring workouts


madeline kopp blog

Hi, I'm Madeline

Welcome to Madeline Kopp— your source of inspo for finding a balance between healthy living and going after everything that you want! Here you'll find balanced, healthy lifestyle hacks that keep things simple and stylish. Learn more. x, MK
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