Some days you start out with the best of intentions. You pack your gym bag and set a reminder on your phone to head to the fitness club after work. But then the excuses and rationalizations start to pile up in your head: You should stay later at work instead of going to get some exercise, or you caught a cardio class earlier in the week, so you could really skip the gym today. You start thinking about how comfortable your couch is and convince yourself you’d rather just go home and relax.
Exercise is so important to staying physically healthy but getting motivated to dive into your regular workouts can sometimes be tough. Feeling sluggish or even being in a bad mood can impact your willingness to stick to your exercise routine.
We’ve put together some simple exercise motivation tips you can follow to take control of your mindset and encourage yourself to get moving.
Set small fitness goals
One reason some people find it hard to stay motivated when it comes to exercise is they set goals that are too challenging right out of the gate, then become frustrated when they can’t quickly reach them. Setting small fitness goals is one key to keeping your motivation mojo going strong. Focus on taking baby steps, not big leaps, and have clear, reachable milestones. For example, if you love running but are finding excuses to put it off, thinking you don’t have time to squeeze in five miles, you have to set a more realistic goal. Tell yourself you’ll just run one mile, then congratulate yourself when you reach that goal. It’s the same for cardio workouts. If you’ve been wanting to add push-ups to your routine, set a goal of starting with 10 each day for a week. Workout journals are a great way to keep track of your goals. You can revisit them each day and incrementally increase what you want to accomplish. Looking back through the goals you’ve already met is a great way to stay motivated to push ahead.
Get a workout buddy
You might think the last thing you want is someone right next to you when you’re working up a sweat, breathing hard and focused on your workout. But exercising with a friend has a lot of benefits when it comes to keeping you motivated and pushing your fitness routine to the next level. Pick someone who has an encouraging personality, who can cheer you on through your workout, and you can do the same for them. Sometimes just this little bit of friendly encouragement – and competition – is the boost you need to show up for your workout and finish strong. Exercising with a buddy also helps improve your social circle and allows you to make meaningful connections with people who are pursuing similar goals.
Keep workouts short
Trying to get motivated when you’re dreading an hour-long workout stretching ahead of you is enough to sap your energy before you start. If you’re not feeling in the mood to work out, knowing that you’re heading into a short exercise session will push you to get through it faster. On days when you’re feeling this way, try capping your workout at 15 to 30 minutes. It’s better than not exercising at all, and you’re still able to get an intense workout in a short amount of time.
Create a playlist
Music can be an excellent motivator. The right song with a good beat can spur you to run faster, pump the pedals harder on your bike, carry you through extra sets on a weight machine and just generally boost your mood. To create your own brand of acoustic encouragement, create a playlist with all your favorite songs to boost your motivation during a workout. While you’re enjoying your jams, don’t forget to hydrate. To add a boost to your water, pick a product like XS™ Sports Twist Tubes, which come in refreshing flavors and pack a combination of B vitamins and selenium that can help you fight free radicals. The twist-tube design makes them the perfect size to keep in your car, gym bag or purse.
Try a variety of different workouts
Keep things fresh and interesting by incorporating a broad mix of exercises into your fitness routine. Limiting yourself to just switching between cardio and weights every other day can start to feel rote after a while. Shake off the boredom by choosing new workouts like yoga or spin classes, trying your legs at running or taking some introductory lessons for tennis or aqua aerobics. Trying different things not only helps you find new workouts you might really like, but the variety is good motivator.
Set a regular workout time
Part of encouraging yourself to exercise is penciling yourself in. Nothing says making yourself a priority like carving out some time in your schedule each day to dedicate to exercise. By setting a regular workout time, you are creating an expectation that you’ll have time to concentrate on things that keep you physically healthy. Set reminders on your phone to keep yourself accountable.
Finding your fitness motivation can come in many forms, from regularly scheduling your workouts, teaming up with a buddy or tapping into the music that becomes an encouraging backdrop for your next exercise session.