Recently, I’ve begun some online health coaching, and one question I get asked allllll the time is: how do I find the motivation to work out?! If you’re struggling to find workout motivation, read on.
I truly believe that each and every person can find a workout they enjoy. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to enjoy it like you enjoy a piece of cheesecake, but it can mean that you won’t dread it or that it will make you feel so good afterwards that you’ll actually truly want to do it most days. So, today I’m going to give you my tips for workout motivation.
1. Remember your WHY.
Have a concrete WHY. Don’t make your WHY something aesthetic like “to be skinnier” or “to look good in a bikini.” Sure, we all want those things, but what do we really want? We want the feeling that comes with that.What is your why? Do you want to feel more confident? Do you want to feel stronger? Do you want to feel empowered? My challenge for you is to write down your why and keep it somewhere you can see it every day, but also share it with others if at all possible. On days when you’re lacking workout motivation, spend 5 minutes of quiet time thinking about your why. For me, this is my thought process:
I love my body. I want to honor the gift of life that I’ve been given by treating my body like a temple. I want to give it everything it needs and desires in the exact same way I want to give my spirit everything it desires. I want to feel strong. I already know that I am strong, so pushing through this workout is merely an expression of that inner strength I already know I possess. This is not just “one workout.” It matters. One month from now, each baby step I take toward building my strength, mentally and physically, will build and compound, making me into the strong, focused, unstoppable woman I know I can be and am called to be. Last but not least, I want to inspire others. I know there are people out there today who have 100 lbs. to lose who are really struggling to find inner strength and love themselves where they are. I want to inspire them to take another step towards optimal health, and I can do that by pushing through myself on my tough days. It’s one hour (or 30 minutes or whatever it is). It’s only one hour. I can do this. I will not do it to punish myself. I will do it because I love myself and I know I can.
I’ll then throw in headphones with a song that really resonates with me at the moment (that might be Work Bitch – Britney Spears, some mad techno, or even a worship song). Five minutes later, I step forward and JUST DO IT.
2. Try working out at home.
You might be surprised to see this so close to the top of my list, but it’s so underrated for 2 reasons:
1. I used to always feel like I couldn’t get a very good workout at home, but that was because I wasn’t doing the right type of workouts. In this snowy New England winter, there was more than one day I stayed home when I hadn’t planned on it, and on each and every one of those days, I got in a killer workout. My personal favorites are Turbofire and Insanity Max 30.
2. Think about it this way: it’s easy to find workout motivation when all you have to do is throw on an old tshirt, a pair of shorts, some tennis shoes, and pop in a DVD. You don’t have to leave your house, see anyone, or drive/train/bus to the gym. Depending where your gym is, this can nearly cut your workout time in half! On days I workout from home, I love doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) for just 20-30 minutes, and BOOM – I’m done, and I’m a sweaty mess. You don’t need weight or any equipment for many great workouts, so don’t use not being able to get to the gym as an excuse!
3. Find something you love. Haven’t found it yet? Keep looking.
Heavy lifting, olympic lifting, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, tabata style workouts, Crossfit, spin class, bootcamps, step class, zumba, hip hop dance, or running. There are so many more I haven’t listed here. If you haven’t tried them, TRY THEM! Most gyms will offer a good variety of these classes and, if they don’t, treat yourself to a Groupon at a new gym to try something new. You might just find your soulmate workout.
4. Implement practical tools to keep you on track.
There may be days when you’ve done all of the above, but you’re just struggling to find the physical energy to step forward. When that happens, try some of the tips from this awesome podcast. A few of them are:
- Make a workout motivation playlist
- Make a date with a gym buddy – you’ll be less likely to cancel on someone else than to cancel on yourself
- Just start doing it – if you’re 5 minutes in and really truly don’t want to continue, then don’t, but I bet you will
- Listen to a podcast or speaker that really gets you motivated to aim higher in life OR use your time working out at home or on the spin bike doing intervals to listen to an audio book or a podcast so you feel like that time is dedicated to personal development and not just “ugh I have to go work out” time
- Make a workout calendar – every day you workout, give yourself a star and keep track throughout the month
- Get some new workout clothes that you’re excited to wear
5. Honor your body and your spirit.
If you’ve tried all of the above mechanisms, but you really still don’t want to work out, chances are you need a rest day, and that’s ok! We all need days off. Sometimes I need 2 or 3 or 7 days off to truly honor my body. Check in with not only the state of your physical recovery, but also with your mindset toward exercise. Are you exercising because you feel guilty about something you ate? Don’t use exercise to punish yourself. Are you exercising when you got 3 hours of sleep last night, but you really need a nap? Go take a nap. Your #1 job in life is to ensure that your mind, body, and spirit are aligned. If they’re not, no amount of working out is going to get you to optimal health.
Do you have any tips/tricks for workout motivation? I’d love to hear them!