We’ve all heard it before: “I just don’t enjoy working out” or “I just can’t seem to motivate myself” or “I hate running!” For those who know me, these are not sentences that escape my mouth very often. I love working out. Sure, I dread it as much as the next person at 5am before the birds are up, and maybe I dread it at 5pm after a day of work and the Texas sun has drained all the fun out of it. But getting those 30 minutes of exercise can be simple and enjoyable, and you’ll love the benefits that come with—increased energy, weight loss (if that’s your goal; we’ll talk about that another day), toned body, the awesome tan lines you get if you operate under the “sun’s out guns out” principle.
I’m convinced that most people just don’t know how to enjoy exercising. Even I get bored running the same routes all the time, swimming the same strokes at the same pool, riding that awful bicycle that goes nowhere,
etc. In a world full of variety in every other aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder we get bored so easily with the same exercises. But there are tons of workouts out there to keep you on your toes, and if you’re body is healthy enough (injury-free), then boredom should never be a reason to give up on exercising.
Here, I’ve listed 20ish exercises (and my own personal tips) that you can try and hopefully work into a new healthy lifestyle. Pick and choose a few, and work them into some sort of rotation so that you’ll never get bored with them.
Run—There are so many ways to vary your running routine that I think I’ll need another blog post to cover that.
Walk—early in the morning is ideal to get your body going, but mid-evening is my favorite for people-watching.
Run/walk—yep. Mix it up. I hate this kind of workout, but it’s great for beginners or those who are trying to save their legs.
Insanity, and the like—not my favorite, but boy can it get the heart rate up! Follow this program to a T and eat right. It’s not easy, and it’s not boring (it’s not cheap either). It offers a variety of exercises, no day is the same as the one before, and it works EVERYTHING.
Swim—I love to swim (but not as much as I love to run, just to make myself clear), and swimming is an excellent way to get that heart rate up, build endurance, and save your legs. I recommend learning various strokes, though, or it can become a little monotonous (yes, like running).
Cycle—ditto, except there aren’t different strokes. However, you can vary workouts on a bike much like running.
Take up a sport—ULTIMATE FRISBEE, basketball, rugby, rowing, flag football, softball, boxing, soccer, volleyball, tennis, #ohmygoshtherearesomanyoptions!!! Pick a sport you enjoy or want to learn. Having teammates can make all the difference.
Kayak—talk about shoulders and triceps! Race somebody, time yourself, enjoy the scenery.
Hike—If you’ve got parks nearby, enjoy the great outdoors. If not, treat yourself every once in a while and use this to mix things up a bit.
Abs (There are so many, but here are a few of my faves.)
planks—side, one arm out, one leg out, one arm and opposite leg, switch.
Russian twists—with or without weight
Flutter kicks—whatever you’re picturing, you’re probably right. Try not to slide your hands under your butt; that’s cheating.
Insanity abs are THE BEST!
Ab wheel roll outs
Circuits (strength, cardio, abs)—pick several of the following, and create yourself a circuit.
Weights—start small and build gradually. Check out this site for a list of exercises with instructions and pictures.
Jump rope—calves, calves, heart, calves, core, heart, calves.
Squats—deep squats, fast squats, wall sits
Mountain climbers—here’s a link to ways to vary your mountain climbers.
Bench dips—start on the floor and work your way up to a bench or chair. It’s a great alternative to push-ups.
Burpees—these hurt so good.
EXAMPLE CIRCUIT: Sprint 100 meters or 50 jumps with a jump rope, 15 bicep curls, 15 push-ups, 20 squats, 25 flutter kicks. Do one set, take a short break (2 minutes), do a second set, take another break, do a third set WITH EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT. Do them fast and do them right. Google it, video yourself, do whatever you need in order to make sure you use proper form.
Now you can no longer use boredom as an excuse to not work out. With a variety of options, you mix it up every week. Don’t forget to mix up your jams as well (and throw in some silence every once in a while, too).
What exercises did I leave out?