10 Ways To Stay Motivated To Workout
In an ideal world, we’d all find exercise so enjoyable that waking up early or heading straight to the gym after work would be the highlight of our day. But even if you’re a certified fitness enthusiast, it’s possible to have days when staying on the sofa wins over sticking to your workout routine.
No matter how dedicated you are to physical activities and exercise programs, you’re bound to face those days when just putting on your workout gear or driving to the gym can seem like an exercise in and of itself. But to reach your fitness goals, learning how to motivate yourself even when a routine feels monotonous or challenging is key.
Fortunately, there are many ways to find the motivation to work out and keep working out. Keep reading to know how to stay motivated to workout and achieve all you’re aiming for.
#1 Goals, Goals, Goals
Setting realistic goals is one of the best ways to staying motivated. Goals are important for achieving success in every aspect of life, whether you’re trying to get ahead at work or make gains at the gym. Having a clear set of milestones to shoot for helps you focus your intentions and inspires you to take the first steps of your physical fitness journey.1
Once you’re on your way, your fitness goals can be a much-need source of encouragement when things get tough or when your exercise motivation starts to lag. Knowing where you want to end up can fuel your desire and drive to get there.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to fitness goal setting, but the following tips can help you devise a plan that keeps you motivated:2
- Personalize your goals – Always keep in mind that your physical fitness journey is just that: yours. Don’t get sidetracked by unrealistic standards or trendy workout regimens. Instead, set achievable and realistic goals that respect your personal limitations even as they push you to go further.
- Tackle goals one step at a time – The path to accomplishing your overarching goal will be comprised of several smaller goals, like a video game that requires you to master a series of increasingly challenging levels. Take these smaller goals one at a time and be sure to celebrate each achievement.
- Focus on the long term – When you’re reveling in the success of ticking off those individual small goals, keep your eye on the long-term prize to stay motivated. Visualize how you’ll feel when you finally reach your goal—and keep that image in mind every time you reach for your gym shoes and workout clothes.
#2 Hold Yourself Accountable
You often hear the words “self discipline” when talking about fitness and motivation. But sometimes willpower can’t get us there alone—and that’s perfectly fine. Instead, however, you’ll want to find ways to hold yourself accountable to your fitness commitments to ensure any lapse in that willpower doesn’t derail your progress.
If you’re thinking that personal accountability is easier said than done, we hear you. After all, it’s not as if anyone’s going to notice if you skip leg day or shave a mile or two off your morning run. That’s why it’s crucial to have a system in place for holding yourself accountable. Wondering how to stay motivated to work out? Here are a few tips for making sure you stick to it:3
- Workout wagers – If you’re motivated by money, consider betting on yourself. Put a price on your workout goals and hand that amount over to a friend. Each success will be that much sweeter when it comes with cold, hard cash.
- Sign up for an event – Even if you aren’t ready now to get competitive with your fitness, it can be helpful to have a future event looming before you to keep you going. So go ahead and sign up for that 5 or 10k that’s still several months away. It’ll give you a concrete deadline to work with.
- Tell family and friends – Don’t be cagey about your physical fitness. If you loop in your friends and family, they can help keep you on track. Plus, you could be more motivated to work out if your loved ones are also invested in your journey.
#3 Find a Gym Buddy
Even better than having friends and family rooting for you from the sidelines is having a workout buddy you can trust right in the trenches with you. That’s why one of the best tips for how to stay motivated to workout is to enlist a gym buddy.
According to the CDC, people who work out with a buddy feel a greater sense of motivation and work out more consistently than people who work out solo.4 Say goodbye to lonely trips to the gym and hello to a built-in accountability partner.
Another tip for staying motivated with your gym buddy? Sign up for a fitness class once in a while! If for any reason neither of you is motivated or want to switch up your regular workout plan, joining group workout classes can be fun while also helping you stay on track.
#4 Choose a Workout Mentor
If you’re seeking motivation, it could be worth finding a fitness mentor who serves as an aspirational figure for you. Maybe they’re someone who exemplifies your physical fitness goals or who lives the sort of exercise-centric life you’ve always wanted for yourself. They can be someone who:
- Is stronger
- Has greater endurance
- Has more experience
- Is committed to their fitness goals
A gym mentor of this sort can serve as an example of what you hope to accomplish and push you to push yourself.
#5 Allow for Some Flexibility
Yes, setting goals and sticking to them is important. But a little patience can go a long way toward keeping you motivated to work out.
That may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is, taking time off from working out is a tremendous way to avoid what’s known as exercise burnout.5 That’s when you hit a workout wall and find yourself zapped of all motivation, energy, and drive.
In other words, don’t sweat it if you take a few days or even a week off from working out. It’ll give your body time to rest and recover and may keep you from growing bored with your fitness routine. Sometimes you may just need a day off to find your motivation and get back to your workout plan.
#6 Treat Yourself to Your Favorite TV Show
If you’ve been going extra hard at the gym and you’re starting to feel your motivation lacking, it might be time to kick back with an episode or two of your favorite TV show—all while working out, of course. Believe it or not, research shows that watching an old episode of a show you love can increase your willpower to accomplish something you’ve been putting off—including your daily workout.6
With the advent of exercise equipment like treadmills that come with built-in screens, TV and physical fitness haven’t gone together so well since the glory days of the home workout video. But there’s even more good news. The same philosophy can apply to some of your other favorite forms of entertainment, including that book, audiobook, podcast, or movie that’s been on your list for a while now.
#7 Perfect Your Playlist
When it comes to how to stay motivated to workout, never underestimate the power of the perfect playlist. There are strong links between listening to music and giving your exercise routine all you’ve got, so be sure to queue up the tunes that get you going before you head to the gym.
There’s no shortage of evidence to support the connection between good tunes and a good workout. According to research, listening to music may help keep you motivated because:7
- It’s a mood elevator
- It can give you energy
- It can distract from physical discomfort
#8 Leverage Social Media
Your social media accounts can be a powerful tool for those seeking fitness-related motivation. If you’re like nearly 60% of people on the planet, there’s a good chance you’re already using social media to keep up with friends, family, and important events. But your various feeds and timelines could also be the inspiration you need to work out.
Connecting with others who are striving to reach their physical fitness goals can provide you with a sense of community. That community can provide you with the support you need when your confidence is lagging.
But more than that, you can use social media fitness apps to hammer out your workout routine, track your progress, and log your accomplishments. You may even connect with a long-distance workout buddy who can help to keep you accountable from afar.
#9 Stay Active Between Workouts
Earlier, we told you how important it is to give yourself downtime between workouts. But that doesn’t mean you should become too relaxed during your breaks. Keeping active between workouts can be a positive way to stay motivated to get back to your exercise routine.
If you aren’t feeling enthusiastic about your regular workouts, try switching them out for alternative activities that get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. These activities don’t need to be super strenuous. In fact, some of the best between-workout activities are low-impact exercises like:8
#10 Have Fun
Regardless of how seriously you take your workouts, remember to prioritize fun. If you can turn regular exercise into a good time, you may be more likely to remain committed, consistent, and motivated.
There are many ways you can make working out more enjoyable. We’ve already touched on some of them, like working out with friends and listening to music. But you may have a better time working out if you:9
- Vary your exercises
- Perform exercises you like
- Do exercises you’re good at
At times, individuals may lose motivation from having the same fitness routine for too long. So if you’re looking for ways to stay motivated, switch up your regular routine. Switch out the squat machine for some resistance training turf workouts, strength training, aerobic exercise, yoga, perhaps, or try something new like a barre workout.
Find Your Exercise Motivation at Chuze Fitness
There are many ways to find your fitness motivation, whether that’s setting a specific goal, finding a gym buddy, or even slipping into your favorite workout clothes. But One final way to stay motivated to work out is to do it at a gym you love. And for more and more people every day, that gym is Chuze Fitness.
At Chuze Fitness, we believe that everyone deserves an awesome gym, whether you’ve been working out for years or you’re just beginning your fitness journey. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure that our facilities are impeccably clean and outfitted with the best workout equipment you can find. Then, we staff our locations with the friendliest personal trainers and staff to lead an array of incredible fitness classes that are guaranteed to keep you motivated.
Are you ready to experience how awesome going to the gym can be? Search “gyms near me” and check out our list of nearby locations. We have multiple locations spread across California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Mexico. Whether you’re looking for gyms in Sacramento, National City, Chula Vista or anywhere else, we can help you achieve your fitness goals. Discover the difference for yourself.
Ani is the Vice President of Fitness at Chuze Fitness and oversees the group fitness and team training departments. She’s had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Ani lives with her husband and son in San Diego, CA and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.
- LifeHack. What is Goal Setting And How it Leads to a Fulfilling Life. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/goal-setting-the-why-behind-the-what.html
- Washington Health System. The Importance of Setting Realistic Fitness Goals For the New Year. https://wrcameronwellness.org/blog/the-importance-of-setting-realistic-fitness-goals-for-the-new-year/#
- DailyBurn. No Excuses: 15 Tricks to Actually Stick to Your Workouts. https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/no-excuses-accountability-workouts/
- Centers for Disease Control. 3 Reasons to Work Out With a Friend. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/workout-buddy.html
- National Academy of Sports Medicine. 6 Ways to Overcome Burnout from Exercising At Home. https://blog.nasm.org/overcoming-burnout-from-exercising-at-home
- University at Buffalo. Favorite TV Reruns May Have Restorative Powers, says UB Researcher. https://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2012/09/13646.html
- Reid Health. Music and exercise: 5 benefits of listening to music when you exercise. https://www.reidhealth.org/blog/music-and-exercise-5-benefits-of-listening-to-music-when-you-exercise#
- Healthline. What You Need to Know About Active Recovery Exercise. https://www.healthline.com/health/active-recovery#
- Time. How to Have Fun Exercising: Tips for Enjoyment. https://time.com/4282903/how-to-have-fun-working-out/