How to Get Motivated to Workout: 11 Tips

By Matt
Published on
Everyone needs a helping hand

We’ve all been there: knowing we should be at the gym or out for a run but just not feeling it. We’ve found every excuse in the book to push exercising off for another day. For a period of time, I just didn’t know how to get motivated to workout. I basically need the stars to align perfectly or I’d find a way to talk myself out of it.

Just know you’re not alone. I’ve been doing this dance for over 20 years. The fact you’re reading this article screams that you want to do something about it. Don’t throw the towel in just yet!

It can be tough to find the motivation to get up and active, especially if you’re used to a sedentary lifestyle. But there are some things you can do that will help make it easier. Here are some tips that I use when I’m feeling like crushing an entire Netflix series, or scrolling Tik Tok for 2 hours, instead of working out. I’m certain they can help you get motivated as well.

1. Find an activity you enjoy

This is number one for a reason. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re not going to want to do it. You’re more likely to stick with something if you actually enjoy it. So find an activity that sounds fun to you, whether it’s hiking, biking, tennis, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Think outside the box and try something new. There are plenty of ways to exercise that don’t involve hitting the gym.

For an added layer of commitment, find an activity that makes you a part of a team. If you’re like me, you’ll have a much harder time letting down your team than yourself. Being counted on might be the best type of motivation there is.

2. Set small goals

Trying to go from 0 to 60 overnight is daunting and will likely lead to failure. But setting small, achievable goals is a great way to stay motivated. If your goal is to run a marathon, start by committing to running three times a week for 15 minutes. Then you can gradually increase the frequency and duration of your runs until you’re able to reach your ultimate goal.

3. Find a buddy

Having someone to exercise with can make it more enjoyable and help you stay on track, plus a little competition between friends is never a bad thing…right?! If you don’t have a friend who’s interested in working out, there are plenty of apps and websites that can connect you with like-minded people.

4. Set a regular time

Just like any other activity, exercising is easier to do if it becomes part of your routine. So set a regular time for your workouts and make sure to stick to it. If you know you’re going to the gym at 6 every morning, it’ll be easier to get out of bed and go.

5. Get some new gear

This one isn’t essential, but sometimes a new pair of shoes or workout clothes can give you a little boost. If you feel good about how you look, you’ll be more likely to want to work out.

6. Find a challenging class

If the thought of working out on your own is unappealing, sign up for a class at your local gym or studio. Group classes can be motivating because they push you to do your best and give you a sense of camaraderie.

Fitness classes also take the guesswork out of deciding what exercises to do. Just show up and follow along!

7. The 10-minute rule

On days you’re really not feeling it implement the 10-minute rule. Put in 10 minutes of honest hard work at whatever activity you were planning, and if after 10 minutes you still aren’t feeling it, then you can go home with your head high for trying. I use this constantly and way more often than not I end up staying for a full workout.

8. Create a playlist

Music can be a great way to get pumped up for a workout. Make a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs and listen to them while you’re working out. Spotify and Apple Music both have a seemingly endless supply of great playlists for all musical tastes. You can even find playlists with songs at specific temps to keep in time with your jogging cadence.

9. Track your progress

Seeing the results of your hard work is motivating in itself. Keep track of how often you’re working out and the distance you’re running or swimming. This will help you see your progress and stay motivated to keep going.

10. Aim for a Major Milestone

Training for a race or competition is a great way to stay motivated. Having a specific goal or milestone to work towards will give you something to focus on and help you stick with your training plan.

11. Reward yourself

Finally, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while. After you reach a milestone, treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a new piece of workout gear or a massage. Recognizing your accomplishments will help you stay motivated to keep going.

I hope at least one of these tips helps you find the motivation to get up and moving! Remember, even a little bit of exercise is better than none at all. So start small and build up gradually.

If you need a place to start, try some of these exercises you can do at home.

Pair your workouts with a nutritional plan and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

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AUTHOR

Matt is a professional firefighter/paramedic and a Certified Personal Trainer who has been passionate about fitness for nearly 20 years. He is active in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and enjoys many outdoor hobbies and sports.