Categories: Fitness & Exercise

Struggling to exercise? Here’s 7 Ways to Improve Your Fitness Motivation

Improve Your Fitness Motivation

The benefits of improving your fitness are too numerous to fully cover in one article, but improved health, body composition, strength and mood are a few of the major ones. With so many benefits you’d think that finding the motivation to train would be easy, but sadly this is rarely the case. That’s why we’d like to help you get your fitness motivation back!

It is for this reason that so many new gym members who sign up in January have given up by March.

Luckily there are some very effective ways to improve your fitness motivation and beating workout challenges. This article will identify seven of the best techniques and help you to turn a chore into a hobby.

Let’s get started….


Tip #1. Train With a Friend

Training alone can be a difficult challenge for some people, while others love it. So only follow this tip if you’re struggling to get to the gym on your own.

Having someone that you can train with can massively improve your gym trips.

Friend’s can chat with you during a session, push you harder by setting a good example, give you a reason not to cancel, and spending so much one-on-one time with a friend can really help improve your friendship.

One thing that you should be aware of though, is picking the right friend for this.

If you are a reluctant gym goer, and you decide to train with someone who is even more reluctant than you then you’ll both stop turning up!

You need to find a friend who loves training, and is happy to take you under their wing.

A side note on this tip is to start training with your girl or boyfriend. It is proven that your relationship will only become stronger and it will also help you with not having too many cheat meals at home!


Tip #2. Make Gym Friends

Following on from that last tip, if you can’t find any friend who is interested in training with you then your next best option is to make friends with people who are already in the gym.

If you’re a naturally extroverted person, then this should be nice and easy. Just talk to some of the gym regulars and be friendly.

You’ll fit right in!

For introverts, this tip might sound unrealistic. If this is the case then you’ll have to think outside the box. Joining a fitness class is a great way to socialise without having to approach people.

You can also make friends with the gym staff. Ask them a couple questions when you sign up, take advantage of any free inductions/personal trainer sessions, and say hi/bye whenever you turn up.

Soon you’ll have people who will recognise you and make you feel welcome whenever you enter the gym.


Tip #3. Buy Yourself a Motivation Outfit

Say your goal is to lose a couple of inches off your waist (or to fit back into those awesome jeans you love), as initial motivation goes this can be quite effective. But after a while the motivation can fade.

One trick to help sustain your motivation is to buy yourself a really nice outfit that you will only be able to fit into when you’ve hit your goals. Buy that outfit on day one, and place it somewhere where you can see it regularly.

The dream of wearing it will help motivate you to train.


Tip #4. Treat Yourself to a Cheat Meal After Every 5th Workout

One of the most common mistakes people make is increasing their calories when they start exercising. Many new gym goers have an attitude that “I’m burning more calories, so I can consume more without gaining weight”.

Sadly this issue usually leads to either weight gain, or poor results. The problem is that it is difficult to estimate calories.

If you spent 40 minutes running on a treadmill you could expect to burn 200-300 calories.

If you then went home and ate an additional 5 tablespoons of peanut butter you would be consuming 470 calories and would therefore GAIN weight.


Increase you motivation to train

That’s why a good diet and training are so closely linked. That doesn’t mean that you can never eat unhealthy food again though.

All you need to do is schedule it. One great way of doing that is to only have a cheat meal after every 5 workouts. This will help to prevent overeating, but it will also hugely increase the motivation to train.

If you really fancy a burger and fries but have only trained 4 times this week, then you’ll be much more likely to get yourself to the gym, than if you didn’t have anything to look forward to.

Or imagine that it’s Monday and you have a dinner date on Friday. You’ll have to train every day that week to hit your 5 workouts, or be faced with ordering grilled chicken and salad when you get to the restaurant.


Tip #5. Make Workouts Fun

For the most part, exercise isn’t fun. If you enjoyed it you probably wouldn’t be reading an article on fitness motivation! You also should be looking for a good workout routine, rather than one that is just filled with interesting exercises.

Avoiding deadlifts and squats because you’d rather play with the plyometric equipment is going to give you bad results.

But you still need to leave the gym feeling happy. Which means that you should always include at least one exercise that you really enjoy, and (if possible) save it till the end.

Also, if there is an exercise that you absolutely hate then you should consider finding an alternative.

If you HATE front squats, then take them out of your program. Replace them with regular squats, or leg presses, or lunges.

If you are leaving the gym miserable, then it will be really hard to find the motivation to go back there again the next day. If you leave on an endorphin high, then turning up again won’t seem like such a chore.


Tip #6. Schedule Your Sessions

Do you enjoy going to work? Or brushing your teeth? Or walking the dog while it’s raining? Probably not. But you do these tasks every day. Why? Because they are scheduled into your day.

Every morning you know that you need to brush your teeth before leaving the house. Your job has shift times, and you need to get there on-time or you’d get fired. Your dog knows that every day at 6pm you take them for a walk, and will usually be standing with their lead in their mouth at 5:50pm.

Doing tasks that you don’t enjoy is all about creating routines and scheduling your life around them, rather than scheduling them around your life. You don’t skip work because you’re supposed to be meeting your friends for breakfast. You tell your friends that you can’t do breakfast because you have work.

Fit your social life around your workouts

Now imagine that your training was like that. Instead of trying to fit your workouts in around your social life, you instead try to fit your social life around your workouts.

This doesn’t mean that you have to cut down on seeing friends and family, it just means that if you usually train at 7pm, you’ll make plans to see your friends at 9pm. Rather than cancelling the gym to see your friends at 7pm.

This mindset shift can make a huge difference to your fitness motivation. Making fitness a priority that is parallel to work, family, and friends, will help you to avoid losing motivation when temptation overcomes you.


Tip #7. Create a Fitness Journey

This last tip is a little bit out there, but please stick with us and we think it will help your fitness motivation! What makes people climb mountains?

What makes people run ultra-marathons for charity? Or spend their life savings to create their own company? Dreams. Creating stories in your head, where you are the protagonist/hero.

When you see body transformations from people who were at one point too overweight to walk down the street, but lost 30lbs in a year, they always tell a story.

They will say something like “One day I just looked at myself in the mirror and decided that something had to change”.

During this transformation there would have been lots of difficult and challenging times. But they would have persevered.


Creating a journey can help your fitness motivation

How did they do this? By creating a journey, by telling themselves that the end result will make all the hard work worth it. Same with someone climbing Everest.

You would never climb Everest if there were no benefits to doing so. When it’s day 34 and your eyes are crying frozen tears, you’ll keep going because you’ll have a vision of standing at the top and looking down on the world below.

It’s the same with fitness, create a goal. Something that inspires you, something that will help keep you going to the gym when you don’t feel like it.

When it’s snowing outside and you feel a cold coming on, when your friends are begging you to go to a bar on Thursday rather than train, when your partner has bought a pizza and 2 gallons of ice cream, and you’re holding a Tupperware container filled with kale.

Creating a fitness journey and remembering why you are doing all of this (to stay or become fit!), is the greatest motivation of all.


Let us know

How do you motivate yourself to get back into exercise if you have had a break from it?

We’d love to hear your ideas and tips, share them with your fellow readers who need more fitness motivation.

Demmy James

Demmy James is a fitness buff, strength and conditioning specialist and content contributor with Muscle & Strength. He is constantly looking to inspire and motivate others to achieve their own health and fitness goals through his writings. Follow him on Twitter for more tips and guides.

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