“How can I get motivated to workout?”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a handful of people come up to me and say that they’ve been lacking the motivation to workout. They say they see me post workouts that seem doable, they say they definitely can find the time to take 10-20 minutes to do something, they say they WANT to move more, but, for some reason, they just don’t do it.

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Does this sound familiar? I get it – I think we can all say we’ve been there a time or two (or more!), but the key here, is how to figure out when to push through and find something to motivate you to get back into it vs. when it’s time to listen to your body and honor it’s desire to rest a bit more than usual.

When I’m lacking motivation to workout, it’s usually a result of something else that’s going on in my life:

  • stressful times at work & long hours
  • teaching lots of classes
  • season changes
  • being sick
  • being busy & having little to no “down time”
  • general life stresses
  • grinding hard in my workouts for an extended period of time

Any of these, or a combination of them, can cause me to have less motivation to workout, or less motivation to workout at my normal intensity. I think for me, the biggest culprit is when I’m teaching a lot of classes. That, combined with a full time job leaves little time to workout on my own, and I’m generally pretty worn out so I just don’t have it in me to do an intense workout.

That said, when I’m faced with any of these things, I listen to my body and take it down a notch- that may means going for a walk instead of something intense, doing a bodyweight workout instead of lifting weights, doing just a 10 minute workout to help get the blood flowing and give me some energy to get through the day, etc.

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On the flip side, we may find ourselves lacking motivation, but not for any specific reasons that I may have listed above. We may have just fallen out of our groove because of too many days of skipping workouts in favor of getting drinks, going out to dinner, or working late. It happens! The key here, though, is figuring out how to get back into it, which is what I hope this post will help you do!

Here are some things that help motivate me to workout when I’m not feeling it – hopefully they will help you, too!

  1. Start small – pick a small goal that you know you can do. Maybe it’s just 5 minutes of stretching, a 10 minute walk, or even just some squats and jumping jacks. Whatever it is, is better than nothing, right? And sometimes just that little bit of movement triggers the memory of how good it feels to move and workout. Remember that post I wrote a while back called “just do something”Action -> Inspiration -> Motivation. The simple act of doing SOMETHING generally leads to motivation to keep going. It’s as simple as that.
  2. Buy a new workout top – Whenever I buy something new to workout in (shoes, top, pants, sports bra, etc.), I’m instantly motivated to workout because I want to wear whatever it is what I bought! It doesn’t have to be expensive, either – you can find great, affordable things at Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc.
  3. Download new music – This is another great way for me to get motivated! I love finding new music to workout to. You can follow me on Spotify (mgagnon85) if you want to see what I’m using in my classes these days!
  4. Make a workout date – Having the accountability from a workout buddy is usually enough to make it so that you don’t skip your workout. Plus, working out with a friend is more fun. My sister and I try to do weekly gym dates where we will find a class that we both want to go to and then go to it together. Sometimes we will get drinks after!
  5. Find a new studio/gym/class to go to – Sometimes we lack motivation to workout simply because we are bored with our workouts. This is a huge culprit for why I lack motivation sometimes! Whenever I try out a new class, gym or workout, I instantly feel more excited about working out! This is another reason why I try to get to other instructors’ classes – I’m often reminded of exercises I like, but have forgotten about, I learn new combos, new formats, etc.

I could go on and on, but these are probably my top 5. At the end of the day, even if these things don’t help you feel motivated to workout, it’s ok! There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Start small, do something (doesn’t have to be anything big or formal), and honor your body. The motivation will come back – I promise!

Questions for you: Did I miss any of your “go to” ways to get motivated to workout? Do you tend to be more or less motivated to workout when you have life stressors? 

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