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!
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 Weekly 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.
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