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Top 30 Exercise Motivation Tips to Get Pumped to Workout

By Marc Perry / November 28, 2018

Even the most fanatic gym-goer has days where it’s harder to pull on those sneakers and get enthusiastic about exercise. Whether the reluctance to workout is due to fatigue, stress, or just not enough time, there are things you can do to push yourself to stick with it for the day and make it to the gym.

We’ve put together a list of 30 ways to motivate yourself to break a slump and build up some excitement about your workout. These methods range from using inspirational quotes, to creating weekly playlists, to picking out your gym clothes the night before. Hopefully, no matter what type of inspiration you find works best when you need to get going, you’ll find some helpful new tips among this list of 30 exercise motivation techniques!

Exercise Motivation | Your 30 Ways To Ensure Your Workout!

1. Bring Your Gym Bag to Work – If you carry your bag along with you, it’s a lot easier to head to the gym on your way to work, or home from work, as opposed to changing at home

2. Workout with a Partner – Having someone else to workout with can help motivate you to exercise and work harder while you exercise

3. Sign up for a Fitness Newsletter – Getting daily, or weekly fitness and nutrition tips can help motivate you to exercise because you will have a constant reminder => BuiltLean Newsletter

4. Create a SMART Goal – Consider creating one big goal that is smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound and that motivates you to exercise. The vision of this goal is very exciting to you.

5. Create a Reason Why Your Goal is Important to You – the deeper and more emotional the reason for why your goal is important to you, the better. Maybe it’s not looking older than your years, getting back into your favorite sport, being able to keep up with your kids, not sticking yourself with needles everyday if you become diabetic, etc.

6. Create Weekly Goals – while a long term goal is helpful, weekly goals like losing 1lb per week tracking with Monday Morning weigh-ins can make reaching your long term goal more manageable.

7. Follow a Workout Plan – If you have no idea what to do when you exercise and you have no idea what affect that exercise is having, you will be a lot less motivated to workout. Having a solid workout plan to follow can be very helpful. We’re a bit biased, but the BuiltLean Program is worthy of consideration.

8. Go to Bed Early & Workout Early – A good night’s rest will allow you to re-energize your body and allow you the physical and mental capacity to power through a morning workout

9. Plan To Attend A Significant Event
– something like a class reunion; this gives you a set goal date to show off your improvements over the last several months

10. Surround Yourself with Active Friends – hanging out with like-minded friends will create a physical lifestyle and these friends will be less likely to peer pressure you to skip a workout

11. Attend a Weekly Fitness Class – keeping your workouts social, this way you have people you look forward to seeing and can build a friendship with through fitness class

12. Lay your Gym Clothes Out – the night before, so you can just wake up and put them on first thing in the morning

13. Make a Workout Playlist – put together songs that energize you when you listen to them. Change up the playlist every few weeks so the playlist stays fresh and motivating

14. Don’t Think, Put Your Shoes On, & Start – We all have tough days, but if you put on your shoes and start moving, you can usually get through the mentally/physically tough part of the workout and find your groove

15. Set Mini-Goals – if you’re running and not in the mood to keep going, set a mini-goal like running to the end of the block. Once you get there, re-assess. Sometimes you’ll completely forget you didn’t want to workout in the first place.

16. Tweak your Workout – if you had planned to do a longer run but can’t get motivated about it, do intervals instead, and vice versa. Sometimes all you need is a little change to get excited about your exercise routine again

17. Identify Your Weakness – If you are a yoyo exerciser who jump on and off the exercise wagon, identify the reasons why you stop working out, and directly address them. If you get bored easily, try different types of exercise classes, or activities to keep things fresh.

18. Create a Warm-Up Routine – making a warm-up (pre-workout) routine or ritual can help get your brain into the mindset of working out. It could be a combination of foam rolling, dynamic stretches, jump rope or jumping jacks, and some bodyweight exercises. Athletes often use routines or rituals to get into the zone before a game. Use the same tactic for your own workouts

19. Keep your Goal in Mind – know what you’re trying to achieve, whether that be a certain look (10% body fat), a certain attribute (are you good at keeping your word or not) or something you don’t want to share with others (to make your ex jealous) or all of the above. Use any and all reasons to help keep you moving towards your goal.

20. Know your Motivation Style – you’re either for something (I want to be 20 pounds lighter) or you’re against something (I don’t want to feel like I’m 100 years old). Use the more motivating words for you when you’re thinking about not working out.

21. You often Regret What You Didn’t Do – this means, you’re more likely to regret NOT going to the gym than if you go.

22. Only 20 Minutes – often times it’s easy to justify not going to the gym. Just tell yourself, “I’ll go for only 20 minutes.” Sometimes 20 minutes is all you have and that’s fine, but more often, going for 20 minutes leads to a good 55 minute workout

23. Create a Challenge with a Friend or Yourself – if it’s with yourself, make the challenge less about the end result and more about the habits you want to create. If it’s with a friend, definitely make it something measurable

24. Know your Body – sometimes you feel a bit “beat-up” from work, life, stress, lack of sleep, etc and you might have to go a bit easier in the gym, but that’s no reason why you can’t go and at least do what you’re capable of doing without over-taxing your body even more

25. Find Workout Clothes you Feel Good In – and are looking forward to wearing. Make sure those are clean and ready to go

26. Give Yourself a Small Incentive – whether that be a new outfit or a weekend trip for achieving a goal. Make it still in-line with your overall fitness goal (aka, don’t make your incentive a night out of binging on disgusting food for getting to the gym 4 days of the week)

27. Remember that Everyone Messes up – & will miss workouts: don’t fall into all-or-nothing thinking and recognize that if you do fall off track, make up for it with more discipline elsewhere, such as with your diet

28. Remember Discipline is like a Muscle – the more you can create discipline in one area of your life, the more likely you are to keep the discipline/willpower elsewhere

29. Stay Accountable – this can be a weekly weigh-in, facebook updates, weekly pictures, etc.

30. Make Motivation a Daily Discipline – have a bookmarked list of videos, quotes, articles that you can read or watch when you need that extra push

We hope these tips help you power through those days when it’s tough to make it to the gym. We’d love to hear the ways you motivate yourself to exercise, or which tips work the best for you.


  • Arty says:

    Everytime I reach my goals I get more motivated! Lost almost 28 pounds since August, only controlling my eating habits, without any exercise.

    Now in December I started running again, trying the HIIT approach, and I'm already reaching the performance I used to have when I used to run (while I was heavier). And this result only in two weeks of training.

    Now I sleep better (wake up earlier without the alarm clock), stay more awake during the day, and also look better, abs starting to show up even not doing any abs exercise. People say that I look stronger, but I don't hit the gym for months. Losing fat really is the first step on getting riped.

    Your website really helped me achieve this... Thanks!

  • Edward says:

    I think most people often ignore the importance of having a good warmup routine. Relax the muscles before pushing heavy weights can have a HUGE impact on the effectiveness of a workout.

  • Pam says:

    As always Marc, great content and so timely ... even the article itself is motivating. I've had serious trouble exercising since my right knee ran out of cartilage. This helps me realize I can still do a few things to keep it going!

  • Nigel says:

    This article is true in many way. I've started going to the gym religiously within the past 10 months and for the first few months I was psyched to hit the gym, as time progressed I still went but it was more out of personal obligation rather than motivation. So I figured after month 8 I needed something to get me psyched up again. For some, it can be a reward after finishing their workout, for me it was more of a talk by some guy I heard over youtube. He talked about reaching your goals and to treat that drive for that goal as if you were fighting for air. The speech is motivating enough for me. I put it on in the car or just before I start my workout and it gets me amped up! I think this article is for the person who recognizes the importance of exercising and just wants to keep a routine going. Again still an awesome article.

  • Javier Martín says:

    Even considering myself as a Gym-goer (like that term) I gotta admit that it´s because I support myself in many of those tips, 7, 10, 14, 23... those things help keep going and even make me enjoy what I do!!
    You are sooo right about it, if there are many of your readers that hardly find the motivation to workout and improve, I´ll say to them: "don´t think, put your shoes on" and follow those tips!!
    I loved the article Marc!

  • Jon McShea says:

    These are going up on my fridge at home. Awesome Marc, thanks!

  • Scarlet says:

    There is so many ways to motivate yourself you just got to find what really motivates you.