I am no fitness expert but I pride myself on being consistently active. I aim to workout 3-4 times per week and while some weeks are better than others, I am usually on track. In some seasons of life, workout motivation comes natural. I have the energy and drive to get my workouts in each week. In other seasons, it is not so easy.
Below are my tips for workout motivation. In those “not-so-easy” seasons of life, I do these things to reignite my workout flame. These seven things get me back on track to hit my 3-4 workouts per week.
1. Eat Clean
When I am trying to get back on track, I always start with cleaning up my diet. I aim to eat at home more, reduce my processed food intake, and sometimes count my calories using MyFitnessPal. After a few days of eating cleaner and lighter, I immediately feel more energized.
The diet change does not need to be dramatic, small swaps here and there can help reduce bloating and make you feel better. Finding motivation to workout is much easier once you feel good and energized!
2. Start Easy
Going from zero to one hundred with workouts is never the right answer. If you took a few weeks or months off, you should not have your first workout be a 5 mile run. The obvious reason is the risk of getting injured, but I also think it is discouraging. After some time off, you will not hit the same metrics you previously hit. That first workout is difficult.
To prevent getting discouraged, I recommend starting easy and easing back into workouts. Go for a few walks, add in some strength training, and slowly ramp up your workouts. Each workout will leave you feeling accomplished versus discouraged. That positive feeling will keep you motivated for future workouts.
3. Make a Schedule
Whether you are getting back into working out or if you have been working out for months straight, this tip applies to everyone! Schedule your workouts as if they are a part of your day. Pick a time, a specific workout you plan to do, and write it down. You are more likely to hold yourself accountable if you have a plan. Not to mention, you can cross that off your list once the workout is done and you will feel accomplished.
For the last 4-5 years, I have primarily done my own workouts using at-home workout apps or videos. It is especially important to schedule these types of workouts and pick your workout in advance. You do not want to waste time picking a workout and making a schedule will enforce the commitment. When possible, schedule a workout with a friend to increase accountability and motivation!
4. Have a Back Up
My favorite and possibly the most important tip, have a back up plan. You will inevitably come to a day where you are exhausted, feeling blah, or simply do not have the motivation to workout. These are the most important days to do something. You do not need to do a long run, a sweaty HIIT workout, or max out your lift this day but you need to just move your body.
My go-to back up plan is going for a walk. If I planned a more intense workout and I’m really not feeling it, I try to go for a walk instead. Fitness activity helps release happy endorphins. Moving your body can help you feel better and spark your workout motivation for the next day. The back up workout prevents skipping a workout all together and giving up.
5. Switch it Up
There are people that are passionate about a specific type of workout. They can do this workout week after week, month after month, and year after year and never grow tired of it. That person is not me! I need to switch up my workouts and consistently mix in a variety of workouts.
Try new workouts on a regular basis. If you like the workout, add it into your regular mix. Trying something new comes with natural motivation and excitement. Whether it is a new app, a new workout class, or a new program, aim to try something new in each season of life. Incorporating these new workouts, challenges, or programs will prevent burnout long term. They will also help reignite your spark if you have been feeling unmotivated for a while.
6. Reward Yourself
You have to change your mindset when it comes to working out. Stop aiming for perfection and focus on consistency and how you feel. I changed my mindset around working out when I went to college (read more about this in my post about How to Find a Workout Routing for Your Lifestyle). I stopped focusing on my body changing and starting focusing on the health benefits of exercise.
The health benefits and positive feeling from working out comes much quicker than any physical body change. This is what you should be measuring and rewarding yourself for every few weeks. You can reward yourself for a variety of things: hitting all your workouts one week, working out for two weeks straight, feeling less bloated and more energized for a week, etc. The list goes on and on!
Find some way to reward yourself on a regular basis. It will help keep your motivation strong! Obviously, once you reach a large goal or milestone, reward yourself extra that week.
7. Invest in a Fitness Tracker
Last, but certainly not least, I recommend investing in a fitness tracker. The fitness tracker helps set a daily goal for you to work towards. It motivates you to just be active regardless of the type of workout and that itself is motivating. Being active helps you feel good and energized and will ultimately increase your workout motivation.
Additionally, many fitness trackers offer challenges and help track your metrics. Each new challenge and the accumulation of your metrics will motivate you. They help give you something to work towards and introduce feelings of accomplishment throughout your exercise journey.
Each of these tips are meant to help increase your workout motivation. The main purpose of exercise is keeping you healthy. It is not meant to be a chore but often times, it feels like a chore. Hopefully these tips help you change that mindset to have more workout motivation and to be comfortably you.