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Fall in love with exercise… even if you don’t have a fit bone in your body!

For 15 days, we’re exploring the topic of making our health and well-being a priority as part of the 15 Days to a Healthier You series. You can read Day 1 hereDay 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 hereDay 5 here, Day 6 here, Day 7 hereDay 8 here, Day 9 here, Day 10 here, and Day 11 here

Exercise is often one of the thing that tends to get pushed to the back burner when schedules are busy, but starting the day with a little exercise is one of the best ways to wake you up and make you feel energized for the rest of the day.

If you’re dragging along and feeling like you’re lacking energy and enthusiasm for life, exercise just might be the best antidote.

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

Exercise is one of those things that you’ll likely never regret doing. Instead of making excuses as to why you can’t find time to exercise, change your mindset and start thinking of ways to you can fit some exercise into your morning — or somewhere in your day!

Your health is worth the sacrifice of a little time, sweat, and effort. And the trickle down benefits you’ll experience the rest of the day — in having more energy, feeling more encouraged, and feeling stronger — will make it all the more worthwhile.

If you struggle to regularly exercise, here are some practical ideas and suggestions — none of which require you to hire a personal trainer, invest a lot of money in workout equipment, or buy a gym membership!

1. Check Out a DVD From the Library

If you can’t afford to pay for a gym membership or a trainer, check out the workout DVD selection at your local library. Typically, they have quite a large variety to choose from.

Some of my favorites are by Jillian Michaels (more intense workouts) and Leslie Sansone (these are great for beginners or those looking for low impact exercise).

I’ve found exercise DVDs are a great way to mix things up — especially if my current routine seems like it’s becoming a bit mundane. And it’s a lot less inhibiting (especially as an introvert!) to work out in your basement or living room, rather than in a group of people at a class at the gym! 🙂

Free Workout Videos Online

2. Watch Exercise Videos Online

Can’t make it to the library? The internet is goldmine of exercising videos and resources. Here are some links to get you started:

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

3. Experiment With New Things

If you don’t enjoy exercising, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve not yet tried enough different kinds of exercise options to find one that works best for you.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym and sweating it out on the treadmill. It could be a walk at the park with your friend, or playing basketball with your son, or swimming together as a family at the neighborhood pool, or taking a family bike ride, or walking around the mall with your husband.

There’s pretty much something out there for everyone, so keep trying things until you land upon something you love. I’ve done exercise DVDs, running, walking, bike riding, the elliptical, and this year tried my hand at rock-climbing, snow-boarding, knee-boarding, and fell in love with weight-lifting.

I didn’t know that I’d fall in love with weight-lifting. Honestly, I thought I would hate it. But I made myself go out and start doing it every day and committed to stick with it for a few weeks.

At the end of a few weeks, I realized that it wasn’t the torture it once was. Instead, there was a little part of me that was enjoying it — much to my shock. And the more I’ve done it, the more I’ve fallen in love with it!

Remember That Something is Better Than Nothing

If you only have five minutes in the morning to exercise, then exercise for five minutes. Sure, you’re probably not going to get the benefits of a 45-minute workout in five minutes, but you can definitely work up a little sweat and get your heart pumping with a short and intense workout.

Do what you can do with the time you have. Something is always better than nothing when it comes to exercise.

How to fall in love with exercise... when you don't have a fit bone in your body.

4. Find a Workout Partner

Teaming up with someone else can be a great way to be more successful when it comes to fitness. Why? Because it’s amazing how much it will motivate you to actually follow through with your plan when you know someone else is going to show up and hold you accountable!

Find someone to meet you for a morning jog, to come over and do that exercise DVD with you multiple times per week, or ask who will text or email you and see if you followed through with the goals you set for exercise each day. There are also many different online accountability forums and Facebook groups (or you could start your own!) for whatever exercise program or regimen you want to do.

I’m currently working out with my husband and a good friend every week day using a pretty intense workout plan Jesse put together based on the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. We work out every week day at 5 a.m. There’s incredible accountability to get up and get out of bed when you know that someone is showing up at your house at 5 a.m. to work out!

While the workouts are kicking my tail and I sometimes have a bad attitude because they are hard, I’m now at the stage where I’m all, “Bring it on!” Why? Because I have SO much more energy, feel so much better, and am already seeing some real, legit muscles in places where I’ve never seen them before. Plus, if I take a few days off, I can tell a difference — I feel more sluggish and unmotivated and I don’t sleep as well.

The best part is that my husband absolutely LOVES that I’ve become one of his workout partners. Our workouts in our garage “gym” every day have become one of our very favorite parts of the day! We cheer each other on, we sometimes tease each other, we have deep conversations while we’re resting between sets, we laugh, we process through hard things in our lives.

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

5. Set Small Goals

A lot of people want to lose weight or run a marathon, but wanting to do something won’t get you anywhere. You have to actually set a goal and break it down into bite-sized, realistic pieces if you want to be successful.

What are your fitness goals? What tiny steps can you can take this week to help you get where you want to be in six months from now?

If you’ve never exercised before, don’t expect that you’ll be running five miles in a few weeks. Start slowly, set small goals, and focus on the progress you’re making (even if it seems tiny) instead of being discouraged by the fact that you’re not where you want to be.

You’d rather slowly build up your endurance and stamina then to try to do much more than you’re capable of and end up burning yourself out before the first week of exercise is over with.

Tip: What motivates you? Plan some rewards for when you hit your goals. Maybe you decide to put a quarter in a jar every time you exercise for 25 minutes and then you can use this money on a little special treat (coffee at the coffee shop, a used book from Amazon, etc.) every few weeks.


How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body

6. Track Your Progress

Don’t just think about the goals in your head; actually put them on paper (or on an app!) and then track your progress.

Each week, keeping a log of the workouts you do, how much time you worked out for, or how many miles you ran. This will inspire you to keep going, will encourage you as you see yourself growing stronger and building endurance.

There are many different online sites to help you track your progress such as: MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, or Nike+. All of these have cool features that make logging your exercise time more rewarding.

I got a Jawbone UP3 earlier this year and it has literally made SUCH an impact on my life. I realized within a few days that I was getting a lot less sleep and was a lot more sedentary than I realized. The band has inspired and motivated me to make sleep and exercise a much higher priority.

It’s amazing how motivating the act of setting goals, breaking them down into small pieces, and then tracking your progress can be. You can do this — one step at a time!

How to fall in love with exercise... even if you don't have a fit bone in your body!

Day 12 Project

1. Choose one type of exercise or exercise regimen that you are going to commit to doing for the next two weeks.

2. Tell someone you’ve made this commitment — or post it in the comments here or on Facebook or other social media space.

3. Ask someone to keep you accountable to stick with your plan. Make sure you tell them what you are planning to do and when you are planning to do it.

4. Track your progress and check in with your accountability partner regularly. You can do this!!

Looking for some more practical help?

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  • Heather says:

    Crystal, I’ve been watching your snapchats and I’d love to know which adjustable dumbbells you have! My current dumbbells are pretty much maxed out and I need some new ones. Thanks!!

  • Kendra Wright says:

    I became a Jazzercise instructor, because as much as I LOVE it, I still need accountability! My customers and friends are counting on me, and I get paid to workout! I’m setting some health goals this month and it is a GREAT workout! If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it! I’m sharing your article on our Jazzercise Missoula Facebook page!

  • I jumped back on the p90x train at the beginning of August. I did it about 5 years ago with great results and at the beginning of week 5 I’m already noticing a great difference in my strength. I post an update on Instagram each day to stay accountable. Knowing I have people following me has made a real impact on my attitude for getting it done!

  • Carrie Atkinson says:

    I am on week four of one of Fitness Blender’s 8 week programs ($15), and could not recommend it highly enough. Love how they encourage women to lift heavier weights and do such a great job of mixing it up and planning things out so that you get a variety of exercise types safely and effectively. They seem dedicated to educating and providing an affordable, high quality option. Wish I had known about them earlier!

  • Beth says:

    I love the book Spark by John Ratey, M.D. for inspiration about the cognitive (memory, attention) and emotional benefits of exercise.

  • Natalie says:

    One way I’m changing things up is that I’m getting a membership at my local YMCA…for free! I’ve been subbing in the babysitting area. I love the flexibility it gives me and that I can bring my kids. I recently found out that if I take in even just one regular shift I can get a free personal membership. I’m super excited to get started with some classes!

  • Kathy says:

    As a mom with a business I couldn’t figure out how to carve out any time for fitness but really needed to get some cardio going. Our solution: turn on the happy music and dance with the kids after breakfast every morning. To start with i was tired out by the end of one song; now I can actually hold and dance with my toddlers for 15 minutes or so, and they love it too 🙂

    Now that my baby’s sleeping through the night I’m trying to get up and do some more intentional weight and alignment work. I’m not good with alarms, but the way I get myself up is to tell myself I just need to go brush my teeth and use the bathroom, and if I feel the need to sleep in I can go back to bed. This morning, the sleep was more important 🙂 But usually once I’m up, I can make the logical choice to stay up and work out.

  • Keelie says:

    I need to get back to exercising. I go through spells where I do and other times when I don’t. 😀 I love your determination.

  • Julie says:

    What a well thought out and well written article, Crystal! I throughly enjoyed it. I have been working out a home for at least 10 years. I too am an introvert as well as a mom to four. It’s just so much easier for me to put in a DVD and bust it out for 30 min, than load everyone in the car and head to the gym. And much cheaper!

    A quick question: I see the workout book you mentioned is for women. My husband is wanting to start working out. He doesn’t need to lose weight, just strength train and get that heart pumping. He’s pretty sedintary and a low energy person by nature. Does Jesse have a routine he recommends for guys? We don’t have any gym equipment, just hand weights at the moment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • Nadia says:

    I go to an all-women boot camp, and love having lots and lots of workout buddies. Very motivating!

  • Jen says:

    Amazon Prime has workouts too.

  • Amy says:

    I’ve been trying to work out 3x/week since high school (10+ years ago). I have a 4 and 2 year old, so there have been seasons where it’s harder to get a workout in, but I know it’s important. My mom had a stroke and was diagnosed with type II diabetes at an early age, and I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can.
    I vary the exercise, running/walking on the treadmill at home, DVDs, occasional classes, taking my kids on long walks and I love the popsugar video channel on youtube!

  • Dianne says:

    I like your workout clothes. When I put on comfortable workout clothes, it helps me get motivated to exercise!

    • That was one thing I invested in shortly after I started weight-lifting. I found some great sales on Zulily and went for it because I knew that it would encourage me to actually follow through if I had some comfortable & cute clothes to wear that were specifically for working out.

  • lyss says:

    I love, love, love jessicasmithtv. Tons of workouts on youtube. Beginner walking workouts, 10 minute workouts, hour long workouts, cardio, strength, pilates, I could go on and on. SO many to choose from! I’ve done Jillian Michaels and Leslie Sansone, too, but I like Jessica Smith the best.

    I’m planning on getting back to walking in my neighborhood this fall, but video workouts are perfect for when the weather doesn’t cooperate! No excuses! 😉

  • Brittney says:

    I have to say I hate working out, but I love the way I feel once I’m done. My husband got me into weightlifting and I love it. There is really no feeling like moving up in your weight and reps. And when you can actually see the change in your body, it’s such a great feeling. We can’t do the gym routine 3-4 days a week like before because my husband changed jobs so right now I do my cardio 5 days a week, at least 45 minutes on the treadmill, and then I do the weight training alone or with my husband if he feels up to it after 9-10 hours of manual labor at work. We are considering joining the local YMCA because of all the activities they offer for kids. But for now, our home gym will do. Losing a few pounds is nice, but for me the feeling I have from knowing that my body is stronger and more capable is so much more worthwhile.

  • Morgan says:

    My husband likes playing Pokemon Go, and part of it involves walking to “hatch an egg” and find things. So we decided to walk 5k each day to hatch one egg in the game. It’s been great because we’re both excited about walking!

  • Amy says:

    Any tips for someone who works a ton and basically has no extra time?8i want to be a runner again but don’t know where to fit in my schedule. I wished I was a stay at home or work at home mom sooooo badly! Getting blue just thinking about work!

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