How can I motivate myself to workout?

S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
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05 December 2018

Make a plan

If you need a bit of motivation to exercise then it can be helpful to make a plan of what you are going to do and when. Having a set of aims for each week gives you something to work towards, plus it often comes with a sense of achievement once you’ve managed to tick an activity off. 

Below I’ve included my very own weekly workout plan which I hope you can use too. If you find that you are unable to follow the plan initially then perhaps you need to re-evaluate things. Are you trying to do too much? Are you not completing an activity because you don’t enjoy it? If you are looking to find the motivation to exercise then it’s important to consider these things and then make any necessary changes. 

Also, you’ll see that I don’t have an activity planned every day and instead I like to have some time off to do other things as well. Knowing that I can enjoy these things around exercise motivates me to keep going when I don’t feel like it so that’s another thing to bear in mind when planning your activities each week. 

My weekly workout plan!

Keep it varied

Some people feel unmotivated to exercise because they find it boring however, a simple way round this is to keep your workout varied. If you are getting bored of a particular activity then stop and try something else for a while instead. I, for example, recently ditched my weekly exercise class for a few hours at my local climbing centre instead and felt re-energised afterwards.   

To keep your workout varied it may also be worth investigating exercise classes in your area as from Boxercise to Pilates, there are so many different ones to choose from. You could try a selection out until you find something you enjoy. 

Plus remember, don’t be afraid to try something new every so often - the worst that can happen is that it’s not for you! 

Set yourself some goals

When it comes to exercise having a goal, whether it’s to lose weight, meet new people or gain new skills, is another excellent way to motivate yourself to do more. This will give you something to work towards, plus it gives purpose to any activity you chose to do. As a result, you may be more likely to keep at it week after week, plus it may encourage you to stick it out in the long term as well. 

Keep it simple

Despite what many people think you do not have to climb a mountain or train for a marathon in order to keep fit. In fact, if you push yourself too hard too soon it’s likely you’ll give up exercising sooner than if you were to do a more moderate activity.

So, exercise should be kept to a moderate level initially – I’m thinking long walks out in the fresh air, a swim at your local pool once a week or cycle in the park at the weekend. There’s no point making a complicated exercise regime if it’s not going to be something you can keep to longer term!

If after a while you feel you could manage a little more exercise then you could incorporate more at this point however, the key is not to do too much too soon.

Exercise with friends

Exercise becomes as much a social event as a fitness regime when it is done with friends and so this should offer up some extra motivation to go to a class each week, or to go out for a run. Also, if you have someone to exercise with they can motivate you when you’re feeling tired or if the workout is particularly challenging. This should help to keep you going when you might otherwise have felt like giving up.

We recently completed a survey which found that 32% of people preferred exercising in a class, whilst only 12% would opt to workout in the gym. One of the reasons an exercise class is so popular is because it’s something that can be done with friends and colleagues so if you and your friends are wondering what kind of exercise to do, this may be the answer!

Exercise in your favourite place

Our survey also found that for 44% of people, their favourite place to exercise was in the park. To me this makes perfect sense – it allows you to get out in the fresh air, there are a variety of activities you can do there and it’s a nice setting to exercise in as well. Although this may not be everyone’s preferred choice, if you exercise in a setting you like, it may encourage you to keep up the workouts.

Keep your energy levels up

If you are feeling a little lethargic or tired then it’s quite likely that you won’t feel like doing a lot of exercise so how can this be tackled?

Well, first of all there are lots of different things that could explain why you’re lacking energy so in order to tackle the issue you may have to work out what the issue is.  

  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • A side effect of medication
  • Too much caffeine 
  • Napping during the day
  • Drinking too much alcohol

A magnesium deficiency is another common cause of low energy so in some instances it can help to increase your intake. Foods such as bananas, brown rice and spinach all contain magnesium so recipes that make use of these ingredients could help you to feel more energised. 

Also, our Balance Mineral Drink contains and array of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, to help reduce tiredness and fatigue. This should help to give you a little boost if you are feeling tired after work and don’t feel like exercising. As well as this though, it also helps to replace minerals lost during exercise so is a great post workout drink too.

Do something you love

Ok, this one is quite simple. There is absolutely no point in dragging yourself to a running club each week to stay fit if you dislike being there. Where is the motivation to keep going in that? 

Instead focus your workout around things you enjoy. This could, as I’ve just discussed, be in a place you enjoy and with people you enjoy the company of however, the activity itself also has to be something you love otherwise you won’t have the motivation to keep it up. 

Make a motivational playlist

Music can give you some added motivation to keep exercising when you least feel like it as it provides a distraction from any feelings of fatigue or pain. Also, as an added bonus, research suggest that listening to music whilst you workout can increase your endurance levels and reduce how much effort you have to put in.

The key however, is to opt for upbeat songs rather than anything slow and melancholy which could encourage a slower workout rather than a faster one! 

Reward yourself afterwards!

No, I don’t mean you should ruin all your hard work by munching on a bar of chocolate after exercising however, do give yourself a little (non-sugary) reward after your workout to keep your motivation up. This could be a couple of episodes of your favourite TV programme or a movie night that will allow you to relax and recover after the effort of exercising. Whatever you choose to do after your workout, it should give you something to work towards.  

How do you motivate yourself to exercise?


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