13 People Reveal the One Thing That Finally Made Them Love Exercise

Updated: May 05, 2021

If you aren't passionate about your workouts, you won't last. These people reveal what keeps them excited to exercise day after day, week after week.

Danielle Underwood Luipersbeck
Courtesy Danielle Underwood Luipersbeck

She started walking with baggage

Walking is more popular than running, according to the American Heart Association. And Danielle Luipersbeck, a certified wellness coach and personal trainer with the International Association of Wellness Professionals, found a way to make walking burn as many calories: a Goruck Challenge. The idea is to walk with a pack (rucksack) on your back. “This is what inspired me to move off the couch. Rucking is a training technique involving wearing a weighted pack. The Goruck Light Challenge was just so different. I had previously tried Zumba, walking, and step aerobics, but I never left any of those classes feeling strong,” she says. “The Goruck event is led by a special forces cadre. I knew I would have to push myself beyond my comfort zone, and this type of challenge excited me. I was approaching 40 and I wanted to do a physical endurance challenge that intimidated me.” In case you needed a few more reasons to work out, check out these 6 ways exercise makes your brain better.

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Lyuda Bouzinova
Courtesy Lyuda Bouzinova

Easy access made all the difference

Lyuda Bouzinova always wanted to be a runner. When she was 16 she woke up early before school to run outside, but it was painful and she hated it. In grad school, she decided to join a running club to get tips for improving her endurance. At the second meeting, she met my now fiancé and co-founder of Mission Lean. They’ve continued to run and get fit together, thanks largely to the fact that their building has two treadmills side by side, so they can go for a run at the same time whenever it’s convenient. “Because it’s so easy to just head downstairs and do a workout anytime, I run every day now, and I can honestly say, becoming a runner has transformed my life,” Bouzinova says.

If your building doesn’t have a treadmill and you’re worried about the space one would take up, check out Treadly, a 55 pound, five-inch thick wonder with a fold-down support bar; the whole thing can easily be stored under your couch.

Jim Dailakis
Courtesy Jim Dailakis

His device stood the test of time

For actor, comedian, and writer Jim Dailakis, the Bullworker changed his mind about exercise. This portable isometric workout tool was the first exercise equipment that really worked for him. “When I was in my early teens, I was out of shape and extremely weak. I had tried so many different methods of exercise that didn’t work,” he says. “Some of the reasons I love the Bullworker is that it didn’t require as much effort, a gym membership, or expensive equipment. Working out with the Bullworker for 20 minutes a day is all I need to increase strength and muscle size. It firms you up, increases your strength, and improves muscle size in two weeks. It worked beautifully. I still have it; I’ve had it for over 35 years and it still works!” Check out these 11 workout moves you can do with everyday items at home.

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Beth Shankle Anderson
Courtesy Beth Shankle Anderson

Yoga class was the answer

Beth Shankle Anderson‘s quest for fitness led her to the meditative yet demanding practice of yoga—and all she needed to get started was a yoga mat. She tells Reader’s Digest: “I started practicing yoga 15 years ago before I began law school. The benefits were immediate! I felt calmer, stronger, and healthier overall. I love the camaraderie in my yoga class, which helps keep me motivated. No other type of workout kept my attention. I didn’t exercise consistently before yoga because I thought I was too busy. Now yoga class is a priority.” Want to try yoga for yourself? Check out these 13 ways you could improve your workout.

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Rebecca Horan
Courtesy Brightroom Photography

A running group turned drudgery into fun

Rebecca Horan, a brand strategy consultant, says that running was exactly what she needed in her life as a new parent. “As a sleep-deprived new mom, I could never seem to find the time to exercise. I looked thin, but I had no stamina and I had lost all my muscle tone,” she says. “Tired of feeling this way, I set a resolution in January 2007 that I was going to turn things around. I joined a group running program with the Running Center in New York City. Having the camaraderie of other runners was exactly what I needed to rekindle my love of exercise.” Make sure you stay hydrated while you run; carry a bottle or try this clever item. Find out the 9 ways that starting a running workout changes your body.

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gloria yang
Courtesy Glow Yang PR

She danced her way to health

Gloria Yang, a freelance publicist in Los Angeles, says that dance made exercise fun. She tells Reader’s Digest: “I have major problems trying to stick to any type of exercise—but I do love to dance. I found the Bod by Kym Herjavec, a dance fitness studio in Beverly Hills, in 2018. I had been really out of shape and was actually scared to take a studio class. I recalled that Kym was on Dancing with the Stars, so I tried out a class called ‘80s Bod.’ While I haven’t reached my goal weight or size, I haven’t missed a week of class since I started. I’m so much healthier, stronger and happier.” If you’re looking for an intro to exercise as dancing, one place to start is Zumba. Don’t miss these 9 dance-inspired workouts that don’t even feel like exercise!

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Jenay rose
Courtesy Jenay Rose

She found peace on her mat

Jenay Rose, a life coach and wellness influencer, turned to yoga for its meditative qualities. These cards offer a great guide to the poses, breathing exercises, and meditative aspects of yoga.  She explains: “I found yoga during a really tumultuous time of my life. Before that, I had never exercised. I thought I wasn’t good at it, but that’s just because I didn’t know how to apply myself. I didn’t think I needed it, either. Yoga saved my life. I went from incessant thoughts that led me into depression and horrible anxiety to a woman who’s built a business around guiding others to self-love and confidence in their minds and bodies!”

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Christine parizo
Courtesy Clear Lake CrossFit

CrossFit changed her mind

For Christine Parizo, lifting weights helped her lift the burden of life’s worries off her shoulders. “CrossFit made me love exercise! I love the atmosphere. Everyone is supportive, and the folks throwing around heavy weights always cheer for those of us still learning. There’s a competitive vibe, but it’s good competition. And the workouts are so intense that—for however long it is—I can forget about anything that’s bothering me and just worry about my workout.” Start with your own set of adjustable dumbbells—like these. And try these 14 great exercises to do with dumbbells.

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Kimberly Dioszeghy
Courtesy Capture Studios at West Coast Flying Trapeze

She joined the circus

While in college, Kimberly Dioszeghy let unhealthy habits become her new normal. She was able to rekindle her love of exercise by trying out the circus arts. Dioszeghy says: “On a whim, I signed up for an adult circus arts class. I figured it would be more fun than the gym, but still a great workout. I was right! Circus arts are a great blend of dance, acrobatics, and theater, and they result in improved strength and flexibility—not to mention body awareness, grace, and endurance. There’s also constant innovation in circus arts; if you get bored with the aerial hoop, you can switch to the flying trapeze. If you master a pose on the aerial silks, there’s always another bigger, scarier one to give you that adrenaline rush.” Start on the ground and get a workout with a weighted hula hoop.

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Maria Archilla
Courtesy Maria Archilla/Luca Archilla

Going to the gym became a lifestyle

Maria Fuentes-Archilla was a tired mom of three when she decided to invest in her health. “Five months ago, I decided it was time to do something for myself, so I looked into Orange Theory, and it has changed my whole perspective on fitness,” she says. The high-intensity, interval-training approach to fitness can incorporate all levels of athletes—from novice to expert. “The monthly membership is expensive, but it motivates me to wake up at 5:40 a.m. and go to class four times a week. The heart-rate monitors also make me push myself further. Before starting, I believed that I didn’t have time. I know now that this is my new lifestyle.” A heart-rate monitor can help you tackle this kind of workout, too. Check out these 10 calorie-busting workouts.

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Amy Oztan
courtesy Amy Oztan

Weight Watchers and Fitbit made the difference

A writer, speaker, and podcaster, Amy Oztan found that using tools to calculate calories made all the difference in her quest to lose weight. “I finally started exercising due to the combination of Weight Watchers online and Fitbit. I lost weight for a couple of months on Weight Watchers without doing any exercise at all, but once I bought a Fitbit Versa and connected it to my Weight Watchers app, I discovered that I could eat more and still lose weight!” she says. “Before that, I had a really hard time quantifying what I was doing. I wasn’t able to convince myself that there was a logical and rational relationship between movement and eating until I was able to see it.” Find out the 9 things your fitness tracker knows about you.

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Jordan Crowder
Courtesy Jordan Crowder | Kickbike America

He kick-started his fitness journey

Jordan Crowder says that a cross between a scooter and a bike fueled his passion for working out. “I was a competitive runner for years. After several knee injuries, I now can barely jog to the end of the street. I got into kick-biking after searching for a good alternative to running and cycling. The Kickbike is essentially a high-performance scooter made for adults. It is a fantastic low-impact exercise and is so much fun, you feel like a kid—but get a great workout. I ride mine every day and can’t help but smile the whole time. I probably look crazy, but it is so much fun!” If you’re starting a workout, make sure you follow these 12 rules for fitness success.

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Miryam Liberman
Courtesy Miryam Liberman

She biked her way back to health

Miryam Liberman, MD, says that using a Pedego electric bike has restored her ability to bike after an accident left her with back and knee injuries. “Because of my back and knee surgeries, I was no longer able to ride a conventional pedal bike and wasn’t exercising,” she says. “My Pedego electric bike got me riding again and motivated me to try other types of workouts. I speak to my patients about exercise on every wellness visit and show them my Pedego bike in my back office to introduce this as an option that has changed my life.”

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Mandy Griffin
Courtesy Mandy Griffin

An app made all the difference

While Mandy Griffin’s home treadmill was convenient, she found it boring until she began using the tracking app Aaptiv. “I started working out regularly in the heat and humidity of Houston, and now we live in the sweltering desert of Vegas,” she says. “Running outside in the winter is heavenly, but summer is just impossible unless you’re trying to die from heat stroke. The treadmill is essential, but before Aaptiv, I hated the monotony. What I love about the app is that you’re not only getting in a run, but you are getting variety.” You can achieve similar tracking benefits with a tracker that syncs with your computer, like this one. Now look into the 13 post-gym mistakes that could wreck your workout.

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