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Motivation to Workout: 16 Tips to Keep You Going!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

motivation to workout

Trying to lose weight, exercise, and eat right isn't always easy. It takes time, effort, and commitment. Have you lost all motivation to workout?

We have all been there at some point or another!

Workouts are going great for a while, but all of a sudden you lose your motivation.

Maybe you have hit a weight loss plateau. Or maybe you are just exhausted from everything else going on in your life.

Either way, when this happens it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your workout goals to reclaim your workout motivation.

But you shouldn’t let a bump in the road completely derail you from maintaining a high level of health and fitness!

If you’ve found that you need a little extra push to get back on track, check out these top tips to regain your motivation to workout, eat right, and live your healthiest life.

Motivation comes in many forms. If you're looking for more on fitness motivation, click here. If you're looking for more on weight loss motivation, click here.


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16 Tips to Regain Your Motivation to Workout

1. Take a Break

When you are feeling overwhelmed and lacking motivation to workout, it may be time to take a break.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back from the daily grind to give your body a chance to recuperate.

You can take this time to reevaluate your goals and come back stronger than ever.

And don’t worry about losing significant strength and endurance with a short break. It takes weeks of inactivity to see significant muscle breakdown.

And studies have shown that VO2 max, or your aerobic efficiency, takes time to show a noticeable decline as well.

For example, in a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, runners that took a full two weeks off of training had only a very minimal decline in their VO2 max.

During this time your body will have a chance to repair muscles and connective tissue and restore glycogen stores so that you feel reenergized when you go back to your workouts.

Plus, you can use this time to recharge your mind as well so that you have an improved mindset once you get back to work.

2. Set New Goals

You may have hit the wall with your workouts because you need to set a different goal.

Ask yourself what you really want to accomplish.

Some people set a weight loss goal and get so caught up with a number on a scale. However, fitness is about more than just this number.

You could make it a goal to enter and run a 5K race, or to finish a 4-week boot camp class at your gym.

These goals that are focused on performance, and not a singular number, will push you even harder in your workouts.

3. Sleep

If you are losing your motivation to workout, it could be because you aren’t getting enough sleep at night.

If you are starting out the day already feeling worn down from a lack of shut-eye, you likely aren’t going to have the motivation to do any kind of exercise later in the day.

Or if you do your workouts in the morning, these will probably be below par workouts that will leave you feeling discouraged.

Plus, a lack of sleep could be why you aren’t reaching your full fitness potential.

A 2010 study also found that inadequate sleep compromised fat loss in individuals that were following a proper nutrition and fitness plan.

So if you have hit a weight loss plateau, it could be due to the fact that you aren’t getting enough sleep at night.

Try to aim for 7-8 hours nightly to not only help improve your body composition, but also to keep you feeling rested and motivated to go strong in your workouts.

This video will provide you with 7 sleep tips and teach you how to get higher sleep quality!

4. Try Meditation

A lot of time stress gets in the way of our training and health goals and leaves us feeling unmotivated to work out.

Research shows that mindfulness training is beneficial in reducing the symptoms of subclinical depression and anxiety and can substantially reduce stress.

Fitness is as much about your mental health as it is about your physical health.

Meditation is a great way to get your mind back into focus and will help you feel re-energized to reach your fitness goals.

5. Join a New Fitness Class

If you are stuck in a workout rut, it may be time to spice things up.

Going to the gym and doing the same workouts day in and day out can make exercise seem like a chore.

But joining a new class can reinvigorate you!

Trying something like Zumba or Barre can introduce you to new moves that will make working out fun again.

Can't get to a class? Try these backyard family exercises and find your motivation to workout at home!

6. Set Up Workouts With Friends

Working out solo can be boring.

Plus, you don’t have anyone to keep you accountable for your training.

Set up run dates with friends, or meet up at the gym for a lifting session.

Then you have someone to help you push out those last reps or sprint it out at the end of a hard run.

7. Visualize Reaching Your Goals

Mental imagery has actually been found to improve performance when done prior to an activity.

When you visualize a successful competition, you actually stimulate the same parts of your brain as when you physically perform that same action.

This makes visualization a great way to condition your mind for successful outcomes.

So when you are feeling like you have hit a low point in training, visualize yourself reaching your goals.

This could be anything from crossing the finish line at a race you’ve signed up for or achieving your target weight or body fat percentage.

“Willpower” is great, but watch this video and learn how to find your “why-power”!

8. Take a Cooking Class

Nutrition is a big part of your fitness goals.

A lot of people set up a meal plan and eat the same foods every day.

This monotony can be just as draining as doing the same workouts all the time.

Search for cooking classes in your area that offer healthy cooking options.

By mixing up your diet with new meals you can break the boredom of the same old grilled chicken or salads at every meal.

And this may get you more motivated to keep track of your macros at nutrition throughout the day.

Already a master chef? Or are you a kitchen novice? Either way, we've got some great, healthy recipes for you to try! Want even more? Check out these recipes from the Fit Father Project!

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9. Work With a Personal Trainer

Working with a personal trainer is a great way to learn the correct form when doing exercises and how to properly use gym equipment.

Plus, trainers can set up varied programs that are specific to your goals.

Most gyms offer introductory sessions with personal trainers to see how you like working with them.

Having your own personal trainer also keeps you accountable for your workouts.

This can be the extra push you need when you feel like you have lost your motivation to workout.

10. Try an Online Trainer

If you are lacking the motivation to actually go to the gym (or if your gym is closed), there are great online classes and online trainers available.

This includes classes for both resistance and cardio workouts.

You can do basically any type of fitness online now, from high-intensity intervals to yoga to resistance training.

There are even classes for spin classes and treadmill workouts.

Regain your motivation to workout by starting at home!

This video will help you create your own home workout plan for weight loss and toning!

11. Connect With Nature

Try broadening your horizons and get creative with your fitness.

Hiking is an amazing way to improve your strength and endurance and it gets you out into some beautiful landscapes.

Or you could try water sports like stand up paddleboarding or even surfing!

Getting out into nature is not only a way to enhance your physical fitness, but is great for your mental and emotional health as well.

12. Do Shorter Workouts

Sometimes you may be tempted to skip workouts if they seem too long or tough.

So instead of skipping the workout altogether, break it down into shorter workouts.

If you had planned to do a 45-minute cardio session, you could do a shorter 20-minute HIIT session and get similar fitness benefits.

You may be more apt to not skip a workout if you know that you will be done in a shorter amount of time.

This 15-minute HIIT workout for women can be done at home with no equipment!

13. Keep Track of Your Progress

If you are exercising on a regular basis, it helps to keep track of how you are improving along the way.

If you have set a weight loss goal, monitoring the scale seems like the obvious thing to do.

But, again, there is much more health and weight loss than just that number.

If you are gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time, your weight may stay the same or increase slightly even if you are actually healthier.

This can be discouraging to see and can cause you to lose motivation.

This is where you can track things like body fat percentage.

Your body composition is an important determinant of health.

You should also track the amount of weight or reps you are doing during resistance workouts to monitor your strength gains.

During cardio workouts, monitoring your heart rate during similar workouts will allow you to see how your endurance is improving over time.

All of these things will keep you motivated as you see how much you are progressing over time.

14. Make Short Term Goals

It’s great to set the bar high with your goals, but sometimes your long-term goal may be daunting.

So set some short-term goals along the way.

If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, set a goal to lose one pound a week.

Or if you are looking to take 5 minutes off of your 5K time, start by taking 30 seconds off at a time.

As you reach these short-term goals this will increase your motivation to keep moving towards your long-term goal.

Start on some short-term goals today with these tips for becoming harder to kill!

15. Reward Yourself

After you reach certain goals, feel free to reward yourself.

Now, a lot of people think of this as cheat meals, but rewards don’t need to be food.

I mean, why would you want to work so hard just to set yourself back with a greasy cheeseburger?

Your “reward” could be a weekend getaway or buying a new pair of running shoes. Get creative!

16. Stay Positive!

Even when you have setbacks, remember how far you have come.

You are a strong, successful woman after all!

Everyone has ups and downs in their fitness journey, even elite athletes.

So just know that you will push through this and be stronger than ever for getting through this short period of decreased motivation.

Before you know it, you will be back on track.

Now more than ever, staying positive isn't easy. Find out how to stay positive in hard times and become a happier person!

Regain Your Motivation With The Fit Mother Project

There is no shame in losing motivation on the road to achieving your fitness goals.

Setbacks in training or hitting a weight loss plateau can be tough to overcome at times.

Luckily, there are a number of resources to help get you back on track.

The Fit Mother 30X Program has tons of fitness and nutrition advice, along with the support and motivation of our fitness team.

Get started today by trying the FREE Fit Mom 3-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart!

Whatever you choose, keep these tips in mind and you will be back on the road to fitness stronger than ever before!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on finding your motivation to workout.

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