Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.
Finding the Motivation to Workout
Life is busy. We all have responsibilities and little unexpected events that crop up. As summertime approaches, life gets more demanding. We have work projects and deadlines, family functions, kids' events, the list goes on. All of this adds up to a lot of stress which can wreak havoc when it comes to fitting in your workout.
The last thing most of us want to do at the end of a long day is workout. It's much easier, and sometimes more relaxing to plop on the couch and binge your favorite TV show on Netflix. What goes better with Netflix than a delicious snack? Most likely that snack isn't going to be carrot sticks and ranch dressing. We're probably reaching for something deep-fried, salty, or covered in chocolate.
Something fun happens to most of us as we get older. It becomes much easier to pack on pounds and much more challenging to reverse the damage those tasty treats cause, and oh do they wreak havoc.
With all of this going on, it's easy to see how we can get ourselves into a vicious cycle. We all struggle with motivation from time to time. Below are my seven favorite tips to help get you moving when you'd rather just do anything else.
7 Tips for Staying Motivated
- Check In
- Commit to Something Small
- Get Dressed
- Focus on Mindset
1. Check In
Take a moment to check in with yourself and evaluate how you're feeling, and why you're feeling that way. Think about the following questions.
- Are you sick? Are you starting to feel sick? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it may be best to try a gentle yoga flow, enjoy a hot bath, and rest. You might also want to visit your doctor.
- Are you tired? If the answer is yes, dive a little deeper. Is your mind tired? Are you physically tired? Do you feel run down from a busy day or week? Are you stressed?
- Are you subconsciously trying to sabotage your progress? Are you burnt out or bored with your workout?
Identifying your feelings helps you hold yourself accountable. Understanding why you are feeling a certain way can help you eliminate excuses and will lead you to your goals, not just in fitness, but in every aspect of your life.
Tracy Anderson, a fitness pioneer, was on the May 2017 cover of Health Magazine. She is a regular fitness consultant, providing great workout tips and moves to help tone the body. In her interview, she was asked, "What do you tell yourself when you don't want to workout?"
Her answer was amazing and inspiring:
"I take a minute and ask myself, 'Do I feel sick?' If yes, then I am not working out. If no, then I ask, 'Do I feel more tired than usual?' If so, where am I in my menstrual cycle? There are two weeks out of the month when a woman is really a super-achiever, and there are two weeks when it's more difficult to show up for ourselves; you get run-down, and your hormones are shifting. If you're on a weight-loss path, you have to learn how to handle those days so you don't fall into a self-sabotage pattern. If you predict them, you can plan better. I would rather you say, 'I'm taking the day off, and I'll show up for myself the next day." (pg. 86)
2. Commit to Something Small
Depending on your goals and lifestyle, you don't need to workout for hours on end, day after day, to achieve your results. That isn't going to be sustainable for a long period of time. When you are on the verge of skipping your workout session, try switching it up. Commit to doing something for 10 minutes.
Go for a walk around the block, hop on the treadmill, maybe go for a short bike ride. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Another suggestion is to search for a new workout on YouTube. Commit to doing just one video. You might be surprised at the burst of energy that hits you about mid-way through. Chances are you'll push play on another video and continue working out. Variety is the spice of life and when you find yourself lacking motivation, sometimes it's just your body and mind craving something new.
Music is a universal language. It's deeply rooted within many cultures and an integral part of everyday modern life. It can bring back memories, heal the soul, and get you pumped for your workout. If you are struggling to get moving, try putting on one of your favorite, fast-paced songs. Something that makes you smile, where the rhythm overtakes your body and you can't help but dance. Singing along is optional, but encouraged. Listening to music can get you in the right mood to workout. Likewise, it can help you power through a tough set or an intense cardio/HIIT session.
Recover your motivation by creating a new music playlist for your workout, or update a current playlist you have. I love using Spotify. You can browse the mood section, see the latest song and album releases, view and listen to chart-toppers around the world, or view a list created just for you based on what you've listened to lately. For maximum results, try creating a playlist for each type of workout you do: a driving playlist for your jog, relaxing, soft music for yoga and stretching, powerful songs to help you through your strength training reps, etc.
Get outside. Go to a park, walk around your neighborhood, or just go out to your own backyard. Bask in the sunshine and enjoy some fresh air. Reconnecting with nature is invigorating and such a simple way to recover your motivation. This activity is perfect for the entire family. Play a game of kickball or catch with the kids. Run around for a fun game of tag. Toss a Frisbee. Not only will you feel energized, but you can fit in some quality time and make lasting memories.
Caffeine is amazing. It can increase energy, improve focus, boost your mood, improve muscle endurance, boost workout performance, reduce muscle fatigue, and it might even make your workout more enjoyable.
Having a cup of black coffee 30 minutes to an hour before your workout can make a big difference in your mood and your performance. If you aren't a coffee fan, try having a cup of tea. Add milk or sugar sparingly. The goal is to give yourself an energy boost, not add calories and a sugar high.
Steer clear of energy drinks if you can. Most of them are loaded with sugar and chemicals which can have nasty side effects or just negate your workout efforts.
6. Get Dressed
If you find yourself struggling to get your workout in, you might have to employ a different tactic. Set out your clothes the night before and put them on first thing in the morning. Commit to getting up a little earlier to get in some movement. It isn't easy to get up at 4 am, but it is a way to ensure that you get your workout done before the craziness and stress of the day seep in. Even the best of intentions can be derailed by an unexpected project, deadline, or everyday life.
Not a morning person? Pack a bag for exercise time during your lunch break or for your gym visit after work and keep it in the car so it's ready to go. Not a gym person? Change into your fitness outfit as soon as you get home. If you are already dressed, you are more likely to follow through and get it done.
Try scheduling your workout sessions in a calendar or planner, and treat them as an appointment. Buy yourself a few cute pieces as an incentive for sticking with your goals.
7. Focus on Mindset
Motivation doesn't last. Everyone can be motivated to do something for a short length of time: when the new year is approaching and everyone wants to look and feel better, vowing that this is going to be their year; a few months before summer when it's time to start thinking about that beach body, looking and feeling confident to rock a swimsuit; when a special event is approaching, a wedding or a reunion. But what about the rest of the time? How does one stay motivated long-term? What is the secret behind the people who always make time for exercise?
You will never always be motivated. You have to learn to be disciplined.
It all comes down to cultivating the proper mindset. First, you must identify your why. This is your reason for doing what you're doing and it has to be deeper than a short-term event. Having a clear, concise reason for what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve will help carry you through those times when you are feeling unmotivated. You can return to that reason, realign your focus, and get back to work.
Secondly, challenge yourself to change the way you view exercise. Stop looking at it as a chore. It's not something you have to do. Think of it as something you get to do. You can say, "I get to workout today. My body is feeling good. Everything is working. I am so grateful that I get to workout today." Something as simple as these statements can help change your mindset and attitude.
I love Tracy Hensel's approach to motivation. She breaks it down and explains the secret of those people who always get their workout in. It comes down to responsibility. We are responsible for taking care of ourselves. The people who get their workout in, day in and day out aren't looking at it as 'am I motivated to get this done?' Their mindset is, 'this is my responsibility and I don't have a choice. I have to get my workout in because I have to take care of myself.'
Consistency is an important key to success when it comes to fitness. When you are consistently showing up for yourself, you feel good. You are gaining confidence. You will start seeing results. You will begin to create a habit for yourself, your body will begin to crave movement, and when you get to that point, it becomes a little easier. Ultimately, it will become a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Alyssa
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on May 14, 2018:
Oh I'm so happy you found this helpful!! :)
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on May 13, 2018:
Just what I needed right now. Letting myself slack off and let things slide is never going to help me become reinvigorated. I'm going to paste your list to my fridge. Thanks for the kick in the pants!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on May 13, 2018:
That is amazing, Bill! And I have to say, I think your chicken Town looks great! I also sometimes have an issue with longevity. I'm trying to uncover the secret. I will let you know if I find it. :)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 13, 2018:
I stopped doing chores yesterday at two...was feeling like I hadn't accomplished much until I realized I had started at 6:30 that morning.....over seven hours...not bad for an old man. lol I have no problem with motivation. My problem is longevity. :)