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Five Foolproof Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Posted Dec 14 2012 4:00am


Does this sound like you?

You do your best to fit exercise into your busy schedule. And most of the time, you enjoy it. It takes away your stress. It makes you feel strong. And you know it’s good for you.

But there’s no doubt about it: we all have those days when it sounds better to curl up on the couch and not move for days than to throw on our exercise clothes and work out.

Maybe you’re sore from the previous day’s workout. Maybe you’re tired. Or maybe you’d just plain rather be doing something else.

Whatever the reason, those are the days when we all need that extra little push to get us off our butts and into our training gear.

So how do you motivate yourself to exercise when you feel anything but?Ca

Here are five of my favorite ways:

1. Put the play back in exercise

You don’t have to endure the punishment of a stuffy, windowless gym in order to get a good workout in. Learn how to add play back in your life, and working out will no longer feel like a chore.

Here are a few ideas of how you can play more:

  • Go exploring (outside). There’s nothing like mother nature to get you in the spirit of being a kid again. Run, jump, climb, play.
  • Take up a new sport. You’ll have so much fun learning, you’ll forget you’re actually exercising. Stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, and kickboxing are just a few ideas.
  • Play video games. You heard me right: the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect both have game options that will get you playing and moving. My favorite are the Wii Sports games and the dancing games (even though I’m terrible at them!).

The key is to get moving and have fun—and you won’t even notice you’re sneaking in exercise!

2. Make it short

You don’t have to do long, boring cardio or spend hours lifting weights in the gym in order to get fit. If you’re short on time, or just aren’t feeling up to a long workout, you can do some high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Since HIIT workouts are quick (most take no more than 10 to 20 minutes to complete), you may feel a lot more motivated to do them since you know they’ll be over before you know it.

Because everyone has an extra 10 or 20 minutes in their day, right?

Just remember—for HIIT to be effective, you have to work as hard as you can!

3. Get an accountability buddy

Whether it’s a workout buddy, your significant other, or an online community (such as the ever awesome MizFitOnline community!), having someone you can report your progress to is the single best way to keep motivated and on track with your workouts.

Because when someone else holds you accountable, you’ll be much less likely to blow off a workout you’ve previously committed to than if you’re the only one keeping track.

4. Keep track of your progress

Keeping track of your progress is one of the best motivators around, especially when you feel like you’re in a rut.

Start a workout journal—either a physical paper one or an electronic notepad of some sort will work—and keep it somewhere handy so you’ll easily be able to record your progress.

Even better, write down a list of your health and fitness goals and revisit them now and again to make sure you’re staying on track.

5. Change your mindset

If you want to stay motivated in the longterm, you need to completely reframe your idea of exercise.

Rather than thinking of working out as a temporary solution to lose weight, start viewing it as a longterm goal to live a longer, healthier life—one where you can keep up with your kids and grandkids and stay healthy and mobile into old age.

When you do that, working out becomes a privilege, not a chore—and there’s no better motivator than that.

Get motivated today

Don’t let your excuses stop you from living the healthy and fit life you want.

Get motivated to work out today, and reap the benefits for years to come.

“The only workout you’ll ever regret is the one you didn’t do.” – Unknown

Krista Stryker gets people motivated on her blog, 12 Minute Athlete , where she posts free awesome high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts and fitness tips 5 times a week. Get more from Krista on Twitter or Facebook .

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