It’s 2022, and thankfully, the harmful practice of looking to other people’s bodies for fitness motivation is long in the past. IMO, it just isn’t a healthy way to view fitness. Full stop. Nor is exercising purely to look good. What I’m after instead? Fun workout ideas that aren’t about losing weight or burning calories.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. But after years of my weight fluctuating back and forth and always thinking the grass is greener on the other side, I realized what I really needed was a mindset shift.
A couple of years ago, I overhauled my fitness inspiration board on Pinterest. It went from simple aesthetics to more adventure-driven images. Behind the visuals is an intention that screamed as loud as it could—I shifted my focus from what my body looks like, to what my body can DO.
Feature image by Kristen Kilpatrick.
I want a life full of adventure, and my body is a vehicle for that. Of course, I still want a nice butt and toned abs, but those are just a bonus. What I’m really after holds so much more meaning and falls into alignment with the life I’ve always hoped I’d lead.
I want a life full of adventure, and my body is a vehicle for that.
I want to rock climb the picturesque arches in Greece, feeling so high on endorphins that I don’t care how “bulky” my arms look. I want to surf through a barrel of waves, feeling so happy that I wonder if I’m dreaming. I want to feel the thrill of landing a ramp while wakeboarding as my friends cheer me on.
Life is short, our youth is temporary, and I don’t want to spend the time I have with my body wishing I was someone else.
Below are my favorite fun workout ideas that’ll make you fall in love with fitness.
Pick a Workout That Makes You Feel Alive
If you have a hobby, what are you still doing reading this? Go do it! But if you aren’t sure what new sport or activity you want to try, ask yourself the following questions.
- What’s a sport or hobby you’ve always dreamed of doing?
- What kind of movement brings you joy?
- What’s something on your bucket list that you’ll need to start training for?
- What’s a hobby you dream of gaining artistry in?
Embrace Fitness As Expression
Fitness can be more than trying to lose five pounds. It can be the ultimate creative release and expression. In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story of Susan, a woman who picked up figure skating at the age of 40. She quit as a teenager and found that she lost a lot of herself doing so. After a little soul-searching though, she realized she needed to get back on the ice, and her life was forever changed.
“Skating made her feel alive and ageless. She stopped feeling like she was nothing more than a consumer, nothing more than the sum of her daily obligations and duties. She was making something of herself, making something with herself.”
AND she was getting an epic workout in. That’s the beauty of this approach to fitness. Remember: It’s never too late.
Let Yourself Fail
OK, so you have a sport in mind. Time for the fun but uncomfortable part: failing. Lots and lots of failing. When I first started climbing, I was so embarrassed to fail. Falling on the mats with a loud crash and everyone’s eyes on me was hard to shake off. But then I learned to embrace it. I knew that the more I failed, the better I would get. Failing A LOT was the only way I was going to get better.
Nowadays, I’m proud when I fail in public at sports that challenge me. At least, I try to remember to be proud and to forget about shame. And let me tell you, this is the best way to gain respect from any fitness community. The true pros have been there, and they’re eager to support you.
Find Your Community
Life is better with good company. It’s another reason why I love this approach to fitness. There’s community to be found in every part of your fitness journey. Has a friend expressed interest in the same hobby? Bring them along on the adventure.
If you don’t have a friend in mind, no problem. I promise you, there are tons of people in your city who would be so excited to show you the ropes. You’ll not only have a new favorite way to sweat but make a few friends along the way.
Don’t Know Where To Start?
Let this list of fun workout ideas inspire your own adventure.
- Acro Yoga
- Hip-hop or belly-dancing
- Rock climbing
- Aerial silks
- Pole dancing