Full disclosure: My motivation for working out is so that, when I’m 80, I can still walk comfortably up the stairs to my New York City apartment.
I believe fitness habits should be focused on long-term health. That’s why, for so long, I was ashamed that I couldn’t sustain a consistent workout routine. I’m a Virgo, so I love a good schedule, but somehow even with all the support groups, motivational quotes, or trainers, I could not find a consistent routine that worked for me.
I’d go through phases of doing a seven-day workout challenge and then not working out again for a month. Then I would try to work out for an hour each morning when I woke up, but when I couldn’t sustain it each day, I would just give up.
One day, I finally had an “aha” moment when I was dancing around my apartment jamming to “The Greatest Showman” movie soundtrack (I’m clearly a theater nerd). I danced around the house for almost an hour and realized I was sweating and my heart rate was up. Cardio is my least favorite workout activity, but this was fun!
It was so inspiring that right after, I looked up a 10 minute ab routine to keep the momentum going. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with workouts that keep things interesting. Here are five tips for people who, like me, get extremely bored while working out:
Dance with no expectations
Trust me when I say that I am not a trained dancer. I would never demonstrate my moves for you because I’m almost positive I look like a flying noodle when I dance. But, if you put on your favorite music with no goal other than keeping your body moving for 10 minutes (or until your heart rate is up), chances are, your body will crave more movement and it will be a fun warm-up.
If you don’t get pumped up by show tunes like I do, some other suggestions are: Beyonce, old-school Kesha or any song that you can’t help but sing along to. If you’re singing and dancing, your heart rate will definitely go up!
Switch up types of workouts
As someone who thrives on structure, this one can seem hard, but I found a nice balance of spontaneity and structure. I set a time for my workouts the day before, but I don’t decide what exercise I will do until the day of my workout. Is your body in a yoga mood? A running mood? Abs feeling ready for some movement? Let your body tell you what it needs. One resource for this I love is Beachbody on Demand! You can choose from many different kinds of workout all from the same website.
Complete a few mini-workouts
I get so bored trying to work out for an hour straight, but if I break up my day with a few smaller workouts, it feels more manageable. I freelance from home, so sometimes my schedule requires me to sit in front of my computer from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.. On these days, I’ll do a 20 minute bike ride to get my day started, maybe a pre-lunch ab routine, and then zen out to some Netflix while biking another 30 minutes. This way my body doesn’t get too jittery, and I feel less stagnant during the day.
There was an article I read in The New York Times about how to create healthy habits. It mentioned tying a new habit into an existing habit. Listen to a podcast or audiobook daily? Want to binge that series on Netflix? Try doing it while you workout! Whether I’m biking outside or on my stationary bike in my apartment, I always have something to keep my mind occupied so I’m not counting down the seconds until I finish exercising.
Do a group activity or sport
Playing on a community sports team or learning a new skill like boxing or Krav Maga is a great way to get a workout in, while also socializing and learning a new skill. I took Krav Maga classes for years. It made me feel confident to learn some self-defense while also getting a rigorous workout without exercise being the focus. Who knows? Maybe we’ll transform from people who get bored while working out to Olympic athletes? (A person can dream, right?)
The beauty of these tips is that you can always switch them up! If you want to start with a freestyle dance warm up one day, great! The next day, your schedule or body might need mini workouts throughout the day. Go forth and sweat, my friends. We can do this!
Originally published on Aprill 7, 2021.