One of the most common questions I get is how to stay motivated to workout when we have so much going on — work, school, children, social life…
When I started working out, I had so much motivation! Girl, I was ready to kill it at the gym every-single-day. Rest days? No way! Nothing could stop me 💪🏼…I was always ready to go — until I wasn’t.
Fitting in workouts requires sacrifice. Getting up early in the morning, or exercising after work, can be easy when you do it the first couple of times, but when the novelty wears off, and you realize you need to ditch happy hour to go workout (wait, what?), it can become daunting.
Not to mention that we are part of a culture that wants to see immediate results, and if our efforts don’t pay off right away, we quit and move on to the next thing.
Sounds familiar? Don’t sweat it…you’re not alone. Literally, anybody in the fitness world can tell you that staying motivated is not an easy task, and more than motivation, sticking with it is about consistency.
Because I’ve learned all this with time, I thought it’d be useful to share with you 5 tips that have helped me make exercising a habit — so it can be enjoyable and fun and not a chore you want to get over with.
1. Stay Motivated to workout by Finding an End Goal
When I started exercising, I didn’t have a clear goal to give my 100% to it. I mean, I was motivated, but once I learned to give myself small challenges and to set up short-term goals that would get me to where I wanted to get, it became easier to get up at 5 am to workout.
For example, at the time, I was preparing for my wedding.
And, I set a 5-month plan for myself to get ready for my big day. I “bulked” (ate more and lifted heavier) for about 3 months to specifically gain weight and grow my booty😏, and then did a “cut” (Shorten the number of calories I consumed daily and lifted lighter weights) for the following 2 months.
Having a clear goal and setting up a timeline helped me stay consistent not only with exercising but with my diet as well. I made sure I ate plenty of protein and fueled my body with nutrients that helped me keep my energy up.
So my first tip for how to stay motivated to workout is setting up a fitness goal. If you plan a vacation anytime soon, have a wedding, want to go down or up, two clothing sizes, use that as your motivation to stay accountable.
Having an end goal is a fantastic way to integrate exercising (and maybe dieting) into your daily life and stick with it; remembering why you started working out might help you get through that last squat or burpee set.
Workout motivation can also come after you have bought a pair of new leggings, workout gloves, or resistance bands, and I’m telling you this because it works for me😊.
Once the excitement to workout has worn off, the routine can make it dull, but having a new accessory makes me feel excited to go and get my sweat on.
Also, for me, working out in sweatpants and baggy t-shirts doesn’t help with motivation – if you’ve ever wondered why people wear tank tops at the gym, It’s because they allow you to see that your workouts are working, show the muscles pumping during the workout, and maybe, just maybe, make you feel a little sexy😉.
Believe me; there’s no better motivation than knowing that your hard work is paying off.
However, if wearing sweatpants and baggy t-shirts is what gets you going, please keep at it. Again, I am just saying what has worked for me.
3. Taking Progress Pictures
Back to the point above, there’s nothing better for workout motivation than seeing your own progress, and believe me, no scale is going to show you the reality of how much you’re improving – Scales are deceiving! And let me tell you why.
1 pound of muscle occupies less space in the body than 1 pound of fat — so you might have weighed 130 lbs when you started exercising and still weigh 130lbs now, but look very different.
This means that you have burned fat BUT also gained lean muscle, which is progress that you are only going to realize by taking photos.
So, drop the scale, and pick up a camera instead.
4. Stay Motivated to workout by Finding a Workout Buddy
You can either piggyback on a friend who’s already working out or find a friend who’s also looking to be active but lacks accountability.
My husband and I have been each other’s gym buddies from day one, and it has worked out great! We hardly ever workout together, but we push each other to at least get to the gym.
I’ve also had friends and family ask me to help them stay accountable, so sometimes I send them workouts, check up on them, give them ideas on what to do, or exercise with them.
Two of my coworkers decided to be active after a wake-up call during a corporate retreat; they agreed to work out together every day before work and pushed each other to become healthier every day. This week is their 12th week, and they exercise at least 3-4 times a week. It is possible!
5. Recording your workouts with your iWatch or activity tracker
For me, there’s something very satisfying about closing the activity rings in my iWatch – like a small daily accomplishment that helps me feel good about myself – and I think motivation is built by those little things that show you’re doing something good for yourself.
There are 3 “activity rings” that measure your daily activity: how much you move (number of calories you burn), exercise (the length of your workout or activity you did that day), and standing time (whether you’ve been out and about for at least 12 hours every day); and it resets every single day as soon as you put your watch on.
By no means I’m telling you to go right now and buy an iWatch, but it is an excellent way to keep yourself accountable and motivated to exercise 😊if you already have it.
I hope these little tips help you stay motivated to workout – Have you heard the saying “Some quit due to slow progress, never grasping that slow progress is still progress”? don’t let this be you! If you read this article, this means you want to stay active, so KEEP IT UP! 😊 And remember that “Motivation is what gets you started, but habit is what keeps you going.”