You might know that exercising on a regular basis is good for you, and have even chosen some great workouts to do, but motivating yourself to continue is another thing entirely.
Fitness, like diets and new hobbies, are often easy in the beginning. You are excited to try something new, you add them to your schedule, and feel ready to finally make it work. You are determined that this is going to work, even if in the past you gave up after a few days or a few weeks.
The problem is motivation. You need to keep pushing yourself and finding the motivation to continue, even on days when you don’t feel like you have the energy, or you lose your original purpose for working out.
That is what you are going to learn in the following sections. By finding your motivation and you will perpetually keep motivating yourself with your fitness journey.
1. Skip Your Workout Rules
The very first step to finding the right fitness motivation, and most importantly, sticking to it, is skipping all the current “rules” you have for working out. Don’t worry so much about what you feel you are supposed to do, whether based on so-called fitness experts or your own hard and fast rules.
When I start a new exercise routine, I try to look at how I can stack it into an already formed habit. Your approach to exercise should not just be pushing yourself now in order to reach your goals, but thinking a lot about a long-term lifestyle change. Exercise is so much more than just losing weight or reaching the right fitness level, but being able to maintain this in the future.
Think about the workout rules you have had in the past, whether they were to do certain moves, always forcing yourself to fit in cardio a certain number of days, or making sure you hit the gym 6 days in a row, throw them out the window.
That obviously did not work to hold onto your fitness motivation long-term, so it is time to take a different approach for lasting results by finding new routines and rules.
2. Experiment with When You Like Working Out
Another part of shaking things up in your workout routine in order to get the fitness motivation you need is to experiment a little with the timing of your workouts.
Maybe you find that you have been trying to force yourself to exercise in the morning, but it makes it completely unenjoyable. Or trying to get in a run in the evening is almost impossible, so you skip most of them. This is when you know it is time to change things.
Your fitness journey might not be something you love every day, but it shouldn’t feel extremely forced. You should at least have some enjoyment in it in order to stay motivated. This means making tweaks when they are necessary.
Finding the Right Time
Consider your current schedule and the types of workouts you are trying to do, and think about if you can switch up the time of the day. If the summer is approaching, and you have been struggling with afternoon hikes because of how hot it is, maybe you should switch to a gym workout in the afternoon, or try to fit in a hike in the morning.
Don’t be afraid to make changes throughout the year, as other people join you, or just when you feel that motivation slipping and need to try something new.
3. Wear Your Activewear Everywhere
This is a little trick that can make a drastic difference in how often you workout. Not only does it help with motivation, but you run out of excuses when you have tried as hard as you can to get out heading to the gym, going on your walk, or meeting friends for a workout class.
When you wear your activewear while running errands or to work if that is an option, you don’t have the excuse of having to go home first to change, or bring your clothes with you, which can also be a little bit inconvenient.
It also really helps with your finding your fitness motivation. You know you are already dressed and ready to hit the gym at any time, so it gets you into the right frame of mind for working out. This has a much larger impact on motivation for fitness than you might think.
If you find it strange that you would wear workout gear everywhere, just take a look at what other people are wearing on a daily basis. It has become completely normal to wear sports bras with tank tops or shirts, yoga pants, and athletic shoes just about anywhere.
Why? Because they’re comfortable! Go out and get yourself some activewear that would be good for your preferred style of workouts, but that are also in your same casual dress style. This might mean some cute tops, black leggings or yoga pants, or some solid-colored shoes that are good for the gym, but don’t look like it.
4. Take the Gradual Approach
It is important that you not try to rush or force your fitness journey. If it is something you want to do long-term, you need to turn it into a lifestyle. As cliché as this might sound, it’s true, and it is the only way you will really benefit from it.
That is why going slow in the beginning, and working up gradually is the way to go. This means you are slowly adding in more workouts, gradually increasing the intensity, and only switching things up when it is needed. This need might come from hitting a plateau, your body adjusting to the previous workouts, or maybe just because you’re getting bored and losing your motivation.
Keep in mind that a journey is never linear. There are a lot of ups and downs, and plenty of curves. Take each thing as it comes, and don’t be afraid to go slow and steady throughout the entire process.
5. Buy New Fitness Gear or Equipment
You know how you feel when you get a new outfit, and can’t wait to wear it somewhere? Maybe you even look for opportunities to wear it more often because of how exciting it is? That is exactly why you should consider buying some new fitness gear or equipment on a routine basis.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money and buy new stuff every week, but just when you feel yourself getting bored with what you have, or kind of losing your steam. This might happen every few months or just once a year or so.
Ideas of What to Buy
There are many different things you can purchase that will give you that fitness spark back, including workout clothing and shoes, accessories, and home gym equipment. Here are some ideas:
Signing up for a monthly fitness subscription box
New fitness tracker
New apps when they come out
Accessories, like ropes, yoga mats, or TRX
Big equipment like a treadmill or elliptical
Keep your budget in mind so that all your money isn’t going to your workouts. This can also be a great way to reward yourself, by buying something new every time you hit another goal in your fitness or weight loss journey.
6. Buddy Up
This is probably not the first time you have gotten this advice, and the reason is because it works. Working out with someone else is almost always better than alone. Not only does it make it more enjoyable, but you have someone to keep you motivated and accountable.
Tips for Choosing a Workout Buddy
The trick here is to choose the right person who you want to go on your fitness journey with. If you choose someone that doesn’t’ show up or just doesn’t have the same goals as you, then you might be in for failure and will end up working out alone anyway.
Here are some tips for choosing a good workout buddy:
Find Someone You Know You Can Count On – First of all, it is absolutely essential that you can count on your fitness buddy. They are there to help motivate you and become someone who pushes you to workout even when you don’t want to, and you will do the same for them. Try not to pick someone who isn’t reliable just because they are friends. Take your fitness journey seriously and find someone who takes theirs seriously as well. As you do this you could be helping your friend in finding their fitness motivation for themselves.
Choose a Workout Buddy with Similar Goals – You also want to think about their goals and your goals, getting down to specifics. Come up with a plan where you will go to the gym or meet at the same outdoor hiking spot at the same time. Make sure your goals, from the frequency of workouts, to the longevity of your buddying up are all the same on both ends, that way you benefit mutually.
Select a Workout Buddy Who Likes the Same Types of Workouts – And lastly, it is also really important to consider what types of workouts you will be doing, now just now, but in the near future. If right now you both love running, but you know you eventually want to marathon train, and your friend wants to hit the gym for weights, you might not sync up in the future.
There may be times when one or both of you find that your fitness routine is changing and not necessarily together, but for now, at least consider this when choosing a good workout partner.
7. Use the 5-Minute Rule
This is a super easy trick you can do that will help on the days when you have absolutely no motivation. This is often due to being tired, or when you have been exercising a ton, and you just feel really tired and worn out. While you should still give your body a break when you need it, some days you just know you’re making excuses.
That is when the 5-minute rules comes in. Here is how it works:
Pick a workout you want to do, usually something that doesn’t require a lot of effort. Something like a treadmill or going for a short walk.
Promise yourself that you will do just 5 minutes of that exercise. Set a timer on your phone if you want, or just keep an eye on the time.
After 5 minutes, if you’re still exhausted and just don’t feel like continuing, feel free to stop. At least you put in an effort.
Most of the time, you can go another 5 minutes. Keep doing this until you feel like you have done all you can do.
More often than not, it is getting started that is the problem, not actually working out. If you are at a place in your fitness journey where you keep making excuses, just try for 5 minutes and see how you feel. This technique could really help you in finding your fitness motivation and perhaps you will keep the exercise going for 10 minutes.
8. Think Outside the Gym
This tip for battling lack of fitness motivation has to do with the type of workouts you do. Everyone comes to a point where the routine they have been working on has just gotten boring or isn’t as effective as it used to be.
Of course, there are ways to switch up the same workout, such as changing the reps and intensity, but even still, you might be ready for something new.
If you have been going to the gym every day, and just can’t seem to get there anymore, don’t go! Give yourself a break where you do something else for physical fitness instead. This might mean going for walks by the beach, going on a hike, going swimming, or picking up a new activity you have never done before.
Maybe you decide to try a dance class or do a home workout for a while. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you keep moving your body and are still working on your goals.
While the gym works great for a lot of people, it is not for everyone. Don’t force yourself if that only depletes your workout motivation.
Kathy Denise Hicks is a Personal Trainer/Corrective Exercise Specialist, and author. She currently inspires clients to incorporate habits which alleviate joint and muscular pain, increase energy, and attain their ideal weight. Kathy’s mantra “No Pain, More Gain” is truly exemplified through her coaching technique and expertise.