How to Get Your Boyfriend to Work Out: 5 Tips.

Dear Davey,

I go to the gym a lot and enjoy staying active. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a couch potato. While I love him the way he is, I really think hitting the gym could benefit him. How can I get him to exercise?


Hey Casey,

The funny thing about changing other is that it’s nearly impossible; people only change when they’re ready. It takes tons and tons of energy and effort to try and bend someone to our will – and, ultimately, I think that energy is better served is other endeavors.

Having said that, if your boyfriend seems open to exercise, I do have a few tips to help cultivate his inner Arnold:

  1. Lead by example. Inspire your boyfriend to exercise by being a role model. Through your own active and healthy lifestyle, demonstrate the amazing exercise benefits that you enjoy.
  2. Plan fitness dates. Who says date night needs to be dinner and a movie? One of my favorite date ideas is going climbing at a rock gym. It fosters great communication and team work – and it’s fantastic exercise. If your boyfriend enjoys it, he’ll probably want to go back. Sometimes you just need to find the type of exercise that he enjoys. You could also try gymnastics, tennis, swimming, spinning, hiking, yoga or any other activity.
  3. Pin it on Fido. If you have a dog, start taking more frequent walks. Eventually, you can make it a habit. Even an afternoon walk, when done over and over again for many months, can make a big difference.
  4. Use positive reinforcement. A lot encouragement goes a long way. After engaging in exercise with your significant other, compliment him on his progress, increased energy levels, etc.. Flattery can work wonders.
  5. Give him the gift of fitness. For a lot of people, the biggest exercise barrier is not knowing what to do. For a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift, book him a few sessions with a personal trainer. The trainer can show him the ropes and help create a plan tied to his goals.

Using these tips, you may be able to inspire your boyfriend to live a more active lifestyle. But you may not. While it’s very difficult to try and change others, it’s much easier to change ourselves. If your boyfriend wants to be sedentary, ask yourself if it’s something you can learn to accept.


About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. WereGrouch says:

    I got my husband started on the road to fitness with the Wii Fit+. He’s highly competitive, and just had to beat my high scores on the games. He started loosing weight and feeling better, and then I had to struggle to keep my scores higher. Then he decided that if he could run a mile in the living room with the game, he could do so outside. Two years later, and he is a tri-althlete who has lost 80 lbs.

  2. What a long overdue article! I think this issue is one that’s more common than people realise. Thanks, Davy, for tackling it. I’d love to see more articles of a similar nature.

    Some additional tips which have worked for me, that I’d like to add:

    1. Find a cause. Charitable causes can often be motivation for people who don’t exercise, and plenty of causes nowadays involve some kind of fitness activity, like a street march or a 4km run/walk to raise awareness or money for charity. If your partner can’t find motivation for himself, perhaps he can find motivation to help others. I know plenty of people in that category!

    2. Try other forms of entertainment. My partner of 7 years is a TV addict, but I introduced him to full-cast radio plays and audio dramatisations. Now he’s addicted to them too, which distracts him while hiking, jogging on the spot, or doing any other form of exercise. Perhaps your partner will like them, or book readings or comedy podcasts or other forms of ‘mobile’ entertainment that he can enjoy while being active.

    3. Find friends with kids! Going on picnics can be both relaxing and physical, especially if kids are around and wanting to play.

    4. Get a Wii or other game platform that requires movement.

    5. When you’re out together, opt to take the stairs rather than the elevator, or allow enough time for a casual walk between venues rather than jumping in a taxi. If catching public transport, get off a stop early.

    6. Wear pedometres and aim for the 10,000 steps/day challenge together.

    7. Bribery is also a great initial motivator if you can. My partner and I keep a “wish list” to make it easier to buy presents for birthdays, Xmas, anniversaries, etc. He wanted to get into bike riding but couldn’t get motivated, so I made an agreement with him that every 20km he rode his bike would equal a dollar value which would result in me buying things from his wish list for him (the distance was cumulative over multiple bike rides if necessary). He kept a spreadsheet of dates and rides, and I put my trust in him to keep an honest record, which also encouraged him. Once the rides became habit, he felt guilty taking bribes, so they were no longer necessary, but by then he’d gotten used to bike riding.

    8. There are many social groups out there that involve physical activity. Perhaps there’s one in your area that may suit you. For example, in my city, there’s a gay men’s hiking group that has predominantly older guys, so the walks are more like a slow, casual stroll with lots of breaks. It’s still physical activity though!

    9. Try joining a structured activity together, like a boot camp, swimming classes, etc.

    10. Buy an exercise bike or treadmill for home and keep it in the lounge room so he can use the equipment while watching TV or a DVD. He doesn’t have to work hard, so long as he’s moving.

    11. Share a meal. Exercise is fantastic but there are plenty of people out there who exercise regularly but don’t lose weight. Diet is an equal part of the equation. If you eat out, share a meal. You can always order more if either of you are still hungry afterwards. At home, make sure you cook healthy meals only (eg. curries don’t have to include coconut milk!). The less weight you have, the more motivated you are to move, generally, so if you can’t get him motivated physically, then tackle it from a diet perspective first.

  3. Wow DaveyWavey does it again! How is it that one person can have such a clear view of things? Not only do you inspire us with your positive-attitude youtube vids but you find time to train others in fitness and keep this website running while giving great advice! Keep it up!

  4. christopher says:

    well-i must say these are enticements-and im going to work on these.the workout club i belong to has a friend of member-get in for free workout-just show an i.d.sign a waver-and voila-he or she is in.everyday at the gym-there are couples coming in to work this is boyfriend eats out too often with other friends way too much.ive told him treadmill just isnt enuf.he is stuck on weight loss-he loses a pound or two-then gains five.if he likes or loves me-he will do the same.ive been nice-sometimes too nice-time to implement some of these helpful suggestion-tactics-thanks for this blog entry.

  5. Hi, I thought this was a awesome blog. Thank you for sharing.