People often ask me how I stay motivated to workout, and the truth is that there are times that I am not motivated at all. Sometimes at 5:30 am, or after a long day at work, I feel more inclined towards a Netflix marathon than training for a real one. Sound familiar? Keep reading for five tricks I use to stay motivated to workout.
Trainers don’t have a particular motivation gene that keeps us going. There is not a secret to exercise motivation that will change everything. Here’s my big secret: When I don’t feel like working out, I do it anyway--most of the time. It has nothing to do with motivation. It’s fighting past not being motivated.
DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH THE ENEMY
If you are anything like me, sometimes you are your own worst enemy. Stop negotiating with yourself. I have learned to turn my brain on autopilot. Don’t think about it, do it. My morning mantra is “Keeping moving forward.” That means I keep doing the small things that are going to land me in the ShredShed eventually: Brush my teeth, make coffee, put on shoes, warm-up. Before I know it, I feel ready to work out!
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
Working towards consistent behavior is the best way to build a new healthy habit. Start out by committing to at least 15 minutes a day of an activity you enjoy and build from there. Fifteen minutes a day is an excellent start to a new healthy lifestyle. Small but consistent steps can snowball into significant changes. If for no other reason, do it to stay consistent.
TELL ME LIES TELL ME SWEET LITTLE LIES
I lie to myself all the time.
“I’ll just run one quick mile.”
“I’ll just do a quick 15-minute full body circuit.”
“I’ll just walk and stretch today.”
I tell myself these things knowing that most of the time once I get started I don’t want to stop. Learn the difference between a tired mind and a tired body, when they often feel the same. A tired mind will try to convince you that you’re body is tired. The only way to know for sure is to start working out.
Getting to the gym or out the door for a run is often the hardest part. Once I get going, I am all in. What about those off days, when you want to quit after 15 minutes? Don’t be too hard on yourself, as these days are likely few and far between. A 15-minute workout is better than a zero minute workout.
MISERY LOVES COMPANY
On those days when a workout sounds a little like misery, remember that misery loves company. Just kidding, working out is fun! A friend can make an exercise session feel like a social occasion. Recruit a friend to join you at the gym or out for a run, and you may help motivate them towards a healthier lifestyle.
Friends can provide you with a little friendly competition and some accountability. Don’t have any fit friends? Make some! Join a group exercise class or a boot camp to make fast fitness friends. If I can’t find a human, I can always count on my furry four-legged friend to be an enthusiastic running partner. Don’t have a dog? Volunteer at a shelter to walk or run dogs.
GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
No, not that kind of professional help. A personal trainer can be an excellent motivator with built-in accountability. A fitness professional will keep you on track with effective exercises, so you get the most out of the time spent in the gym. They will make sure you are regularly progressing and at the correct rate to prevent wasted time, over-training, or injury.
How do you stay motivated?