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15 Real People On What They Did To Start Liking Exercise

Working out can actually be fun (allegedly).

Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community what made them start to actually like exercise this year.

And they were full of interesting experiences and tips.

Here's what they said:

1. Use your treadmill time to watch something fun and/or educational.

Fox / Via

I used to do 5Ks and 10Ks but really wanted to challenge myself to half and full marathons. This meant my normal treadmill workouts in the winter would be around 2.5–4 hours which can get really boring really quickly. So I started to stream anime movies with subtitles and teach myself how to speak and understand Japanese. I am now at the point one year later where I can listen to the shows and know what is going on. Kills two birds with one stone!


2. Try roller derby (or another team sport).

@gothamgirlsrollerderby_nyc / Via

I joined the freshmeat course at my local roller derby league. Roller derby is tough and challenging and requires you to be quite fit, but it is also super rewarding, fun, and totally worth the bruises. Plus it's a social sport, so if you don't like the gym because it can be a bit lonely, I'd suggest giving a team sport a go!


3. Sign up for an obstacle course race.

@tough_mudder / Via

I had the goal of running my first obstacle course race and to earn the Spartan Race Trifecta. I ended up doing it which was an amazing feeling.


4. Keep track of your workouts and do some simple math to remind yourself that you're actually crushing it.

@gympadfitness / Via

This year I held myself more accountable by not only logging each workout, but also keeping track of every day I did so, and dividing it by the total number of days in the year so far, with the goal of keeping it around 50%. This helped me stay more consistent, and working out is usually more fun when it's consistently done, and my body stays prepped and ready. Whenever I've had to take some time off, the first workout back usually leaves me immobile and it's hard to get back in that groove.

Also keeping my bag in the car at all times so I can go right after work did wonders for just getting it done and out of the way. Gave me plenty of time for other things.


5. Try kicking ass in boxing, jiujitsu, or MMA.

I've learned to like exercising through boxing. Punching out my everyday frustration and anger on the heavy bag felt amazing. The like then turned to love when I started to learn the proper technique. Now I am a competitive boxer and I won my first belt as a novice this past summer.

For cross-training I take yoga, kickboxing, jiujitsu, and Muay Thai. I'm obsessed. Because of boxing I found my passion for staying in shape and a love for working out.


6. Find a class where the trainers will notice if you don't show up.

Joining a gym that offered a bootcamp class. I started to feel accountable once the instructors got to know me because they knew when I wasn’t there. They also just so happened to add a 5 a.m. class about a month or so after I joined which gave me no excuse not to go after work at 6 p.m. or now before work at 5 a.m.

I’ve met some super encouraging people through this experience and it makes it that much easier to get myself to class every day!


7. Sign up for an event that benefits a good cause and let your altruism motivate you.

@achillesintl / Via

I signed up for a 10K fundraiser, and then participated in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Sugar-Free September challenge. Being obligated to others in order to help them motivated me way more than anything else ever has.


8. Listen to The Hunger Games (or another audiobook) while you work out.

@audible_com / Via

When I quit smoking in April I started running (both for fitness and to deter me from picking cigarettes back up again). It was really hard for me to find motivation to run and music didn't really seem to help motivate me to keep going once I started (I think I'm missing the music appreciation gene). Enter Audible! I started listening to The Hunger Games trilogy and that seriously changed everything! I started looking forward to my runs and caught myself running further so I could continue the story! I've since made the transition to more creepy/horror-focused books, and I swear it's helping me go faster out of terror lolol.


9. Turn your commute into your workout.

@foldingbike / Via

After six years of being afraid of biking (bike accident) I visited my oldest sister out in the Midwest. She lent me one of her spare bikes because, apparently, everyone bikes in the Midwest, and with her encouragement, and a personal cheering squad of my nieces and nephews, I discovered how much I missed biking, and as soon as I got back home to NYC, I bought a bike. Turns out, biking is the fastest way possible I get around the city, too, so it’s super practical! Thanks, sis!


10. Find a superhero who inspires you and just Be Them.

DareBee / Via

Wonder Woman and all of the videos of people doing the various Wonder Woman workouts! Nothing gets me pumped to work out like seeing a badass female superhero and all the women being badasses along with her.


11. Choose an activity that feels more like a hobby you get to do and less like a chore you have to do.

Allexxandar / Getty Images

I disguise my physical activity — and I don't put pressure on myself if I choose to be lazy.

I either bike or walk to work (depending on weather) and when I don't, I go swimming after work. None of my "workouts" feel like work, they're either disguised as my commute, or disguised as something fun! For swimming I bought myself waterproof headphones and I just enjoy a nice 30-minute swim when I can! Your workout should be a hobby, something that relaxes you, not something that is a chore.


12. Find an app or gadget that reminds you to keep going.

@applewatchcenter / Via

I bought my Apple Watch last year and it really got me going. I wanted to close all of my rings and that motivated me. I was also applying to grad school and it helped me relieve some of the stress. I started working out three times a week and slowly got up to six days a week. I have been working out consistently for a year and a half now.


13. Try an activity that feels like it's as much for your mental health as your physical health.

@biggalyoga / Via

It wasn't my initial motivation but it turned out to be for mental health. Swimming helped me get over my eating disorder since it's the only time of the day (apart from one hour of therapy a week) in which I get to think and just focus on what's going on with me emotionally since there are no distractions. It was while swimming that I finally found the courage to talk about when I was sexually abused as a kid and and its effect on my developing and maintaining my ED.


14. Give pole dancing a shot.

@poledancemagic / Via

I started taking a pole fitness class and it is so much fun. I usually get bored working out but when I'm at pole class I'm more focused on completing the move and I don't even realize how hard I'm working out. And I've made some great friends as well. It's a win-win.


15. Prioritize feeling good and building better habits.

Fizkes / Getty Images

I feel like what matters is a) feeling good and b) building better habits.

I started off by working out for seven minutes every morning, and then I got it up to 15 and then to 30 minutes. I remember being told that women need ~150 minutes of cardio in a week (which is about 20 minutes a day!). So that's the goal that I'm generally working toward.

I also try not to be hard on myself — I push myself to work out, but I also don't get mad at myself when I can't do it. I try my best to celebrate my victories vs. beating myself up.

—Sara Yasin, via email

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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