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14 Fitness Motivation Tips To Get You Moving

Published June 11, 2019 (Revised: March 28, 2020) Read Time: 10 minutes
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/03/fitness-motivation-thumbnail.jpg" } }, "headline":"14 Fitness Motivation Tips To Get You Moving", "datePublished":"2019-06-11", "dateModified": "2020-03-28", "description":"Struggling to find the motivation to workout? Use these 14 tips to help you get back into your routine!", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/03/fitness-motivation-thumbnail.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can I get motivated to exercise?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation means you're motivated by external factors—how you look in a mirror or the number on the scale. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, means you find joy for the sake of doing something—working out, eating healthy, sticking with your goals. Plenty of studies show that finding this type of motivation is much more effective for reaching your weight loss and fitness goals." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">How can I get motivated to exercise?</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>At one point or another, we've all found plenty of excuses to not workout. How many times have you had every intention of exercising, just to end up pushing it off to the next day, and then the next day…?</p> <p>Part of making our health and fitness a lifestyle—and getting results from our workouts—is finding the motivation to work out no matter how we feel or what we're thinking.</p> <p>It's in these moments that a little fitness motivation can go a long way towards getting us back on track.</p> <p>You can use these 14 motivation tips to get you going again!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>How can I get motivated to exercise?</h2> <p>If you're struggling to get motivated to exercise, it might be because you're focused on the wrong type of motivation.</p> <p>There are two types of motivation: <i>intrinsic</i> and <i>extrinsic</i>. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2533589/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup></p> <p>Extrinsic motivation means you're motivated by external factors—how you look in a mirror, the number on the scale, or what people will say about you when you get fit.</p> <p>There's nothing inherently 'wrong' with any of these external things. If they're part of your goals and motivate you, that's great.</p> <p>However, you may find—as many of us do—that relying on external circumstances doesn't keep you consistently motivated. External factors aren't stable sources of motivation because they can change beyond our control, and throw off our momentum. </p> <p>Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, means you find joy for the sake of doing something—working out, eating healthy, sticking with your goals. It comes from within and is entirely controllable by you.</p> <p>Plenty of studies show that finding this type of motivation is much more effective for reaching your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/weight-loss-exercise-at-home/" rel="noreferrer">weight loss</a> and fitness goals. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3312817/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6381300/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup></p> <p>So it might behoove you (and your goals) to shift your focus towards creating more intrinsic motivation for yourself.</p> <p>The 14 fitness motivation tips below will help you discover the motivation that exists inside of you.</p> <h3>1. Know your why</h3> <p>Attaching meaning to your workouts helps you feel a sense of purpose when you complete daily tasks.</p> <p>It's been said that knowing your 'why' can help you get the 'how' done—in this case, the 'how' is the workouts or healthy routines you're trying to create for yourself.</p> <p>Ask yourself and honestly answer: <i>What's your why for eating healthy or exercising?</i></p> <p>Maybe it's so you can still enjoy the great outdoors? Or to keep up with your grandkids as they get older? </p> <p>Whatever the answer, knowing your why can help you stay motivated when you aren't in the mood to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" rel="noreferrer">exercise</a> or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" rel="noreferrer">eat healthy</a>. </p> <h3>2. Trust and appreciate yourself</h3> <p>The road to weight loss and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/foolproof-guide-to-building-lean-muscle/" rel="noreferrer">adding lean muscle</a> is a long one.</p> <p>It might take hundreds of workouts for you to reach your goals. This may seem overwhelming, but it can actually be liberating once you accept it as reality.</p> <p>Deciding to play the long game can give you a healthier perspective, and also shift your mindset.</p> <p>Instead of feeling the need to be militant or overly-restrictive about your routine, you can focus on things like building a better relationship with yourself. For example, developing a sense of trust and appreciation for your efforts.</p> <p>It becomes like a loop: exercise increases your sense of well-being, and a strong sense of well-being helps you stay motivated to exercise. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483473/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></p> <p>You wind up finding more enjoyment in your fitness routine because there's a good feeling attached to it.</p> <h3>3. Reframe negative thoughts</h3> <p>Studies show that positive self-talk can increase motivation to achieve your goals. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21984641" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></p> <p>It can also reduce anxiety and help you gain clarity about what you want to achieve (see tip #1). <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6628429/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3626423/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></p> <p>Here's an example of how to reframe a negative thought into a positive one:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Negative</strong>: "This workout is too hard. I won't be able to do it!"</li> <li><strong>Positive</strong>: "I can't do this workout as it's written yet. Today I'll modify the movements. Someday, I'll be able to do the whole thing."</li> </ul> <p>To help you find more intrinsic motivation, be sure to add something empowering and controllable to the end of your positive thought. That way it's something you can tangibly improve and feel a sense of accomplishment for finishing. </p> <h3>4. Journal your negative self-talk</h3> <p>If you find the negative self-talk creeping in regularly, writing it down might help.</p> <p>A 2018 study found that consistently journaling your thoughts can help improve well-being and reduce psychological distress. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305886/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></p> <p>Over time, journaling can help you uncover the negative patterns. For many people, it's the same one or two underlying beliefs (fear of failure, for example) that cause us to lose motivation or get frustrated.</p> <p>Seeing the thought on paper helps get it out of your head, and again, makes it something you can tangibly see and set goals around.</p> <h3>5. Focus on building habits</h3> <p>It's a simple truth in fitness and in life: consistency is the key to results.</p> <p>Science confirms this. A 2017 study found that people who focus on forming habits around their exercise routine wind up being more physically active long-term. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28188586" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></p> <p>Building habits around your routine helps you build momentum and confidence in the early stages, and eventually puts your actions on autopilot. </p> <p>For example: if you always workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, eventually you won't have to think about it. You'll just do it. </p> <p>And it doesn't have to be as difficult as you might think. A 2019 study found that exercising three times per week for 30 minutes is enough to get results. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30558493" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></p> <h3>6. Don't overthink the number on the scale</h3> <p>A scale tells you how much you weigh, but doesn't measure body composition.</p> <p>Your body composition is the distribution of your bodyweight—the total weight of your lean muscle, body-fat, and other tissues like bones and organs. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2082845/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">11</a></p> <p>This means that if you're exercising (and therefore adding lean muscle) a scale can't accurately determine whether or not you're getting results.</p> <p>You might not be losing "scale" weight, but could be adding lean muscle, which means major major improvements to your body composition and overall health.</p> <p>In fact, you might be better off ditching the scale number altogether. </p> <p>A 2015 study found no difference in terms of weight loss results for those that weighed themselves daily and those that didn't. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4846305/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">12</a></p> <p>The study goes on to say that since many people experience "potent" adverse psychological side-effects, it might <i>not</i> be helpful to weigh yourself on a regular basis at all.</p> <h3>7. Make time-management a priority</h3> <p>Organization and time management help simplify your schedule and life, and ensure you find time to workout each day.</p> <p>Most people are awake for about 16 hours each day. This means a one-hour workout is only about six percent of your waking day.</p> <p>Let this perspective empower you, and think of that six percent of your day as a reward to your health and vitality.</p> <p>At the beginning of each week, or each night before you go to bed, plan what time you'll workout. Perhaps even set out clothes and a water bottle ahead of time.</p> <p>This way when you show up to work out, the only thing you have to do is get going.</p> <h3>8. Exercise first thing in the morning</h3> <p>Exercising right when you wake up helps you start the day off with a positive habit. It also eliminates the possibility of work or something else preventing you from working out later.</p> <p>And because exercise has a natural mood-boosting effect, you'll be motivated and energized to tackle the rest of your day. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">13</a></p> <p>If you need a little motivation to work out early, consider that people who workout first thing tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day, and lose more weight than people who exercise in the evening. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28343364" rel="nofollow noreferrer">14</a></p> <p>(But keep in mind: if your schedule really limits you from working out in the AM, whenever you can find time to exercise is great. Consistency is the most important thing!)</p> <h3>9. Accumulate 3 more 'wins' within the first hour of your day</h3> <p>If you really want to prime your intrinsic motivation pump, enlist a bunch of healthy habits back to back.</p> <p>Aim to get three or more 'wins" under your belt before 7am (or whenever you have to be out the door). A 'win' can mean:</p> <ul> <li>An early AM workout</li> <li>A quick stretch before work</li> <li>A <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/hydration-how-much-water-should-you-be-drinking/" rel="noreferrer">big glass of water</a></li> <li>A <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-breakfast-ideas/" rel="noreferrer">healthy breakfast</a></li> <li>A few quality minutes with loved ones</li> </ul> <p>Morning routines have been shown to increase self-efficacy and make you more productive throughout the day.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6406620/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">15</a></sup> Basically, when you win the morning, you win the day.</p> <h3>10. Get a good night's sleep</h3> <p>People who get a good night's rest are more likely to make positive choices the next day, especially about the foods they eat. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15967514" rel="nofollow noreferrer">16</a></sup></p> <p>If you're struggling to find motivation, make it a priority to get to bed an hour earlier than normal. </p> <p>It can also help to enlist an evening routine.</p> <p>Unwind with a book and some tea, or perform light stretches before bed. And avoid watching television, as the blue light from the screen can mess with your circadian rhythm (which affects how deeply you sleep). <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734149/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">17</a></sup></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-sleep/" rel="noreferrer">Getting quality sleep</a> increases the chance that you'll make good choices and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-energy/" rel="noreferrer">have the energy</a> to workout more often than not.</p> <h3>11. Set goals</h3> <p>It's hard to find motivation if you don't know where you're going or what you're working towards. </p> <p>Science shows that people who set goals live healthier lives, especially <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/fit-after-40/" rel="noreferrer">as they age</a>.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5942145/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">18</a></sup> </p> <p>But it really doesn't matter how old you are—creating goals for yourself is like putting together a roadmap for your life. They show you where you need to go.</p> <p>A simple method you can use is the 'SMART' goal system. This stands for:</p> <ul> <li>Specific</li> <li>Measurable</li> <li>Achievable</li> <li>Realistic</li> <li>Time-sensitive</li> </ul> <p>An example: Instead of saying "I want to lose weight", say "I want to lose 15lbs by December 31 of this year. To do this, I'll exercise three times per week and follow a healthy diet."</p> <p>SMART goals shift the power into your hands, because you know exactly when and how you'll achieve your goals.</p> <h3>12. Find an accountability partner</h3> <p>It's a simple fact: you're more likely to workout if you have a supportive friend that's right there beside you sweating it out, too. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6571838/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">19</a></sup></p> <p>But having a friend who's going to encourage you toward your goal or an <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">online accountability group</a> can be just as effective. </p> <p>And having friends or a partner that checks in does more for you than just help you stick with your exercise program. </p> <p>It will also surround you with more positive energy, which will help you feel better and more connected as you both strive towards your goals.</p> <p>Associate those positive feelings with your workout routine, and you'll definitely be more apt to show up ready to work.</p> <h3>13. Practice visualization</h3> <p>Some simple mental imagery can go a long way towards helping you find the motivation you need to succeed. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6416378/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">20</a></sup></p> <p>Visualization sounds like a complicated thing, but it's really just spending a few quiet moments throughout the day picturing exactly what you hope to achieve. </p> <p>Like goal-setting, this practice helps you clarify the direction you'll head. It can also cut away negative thinking.</p> <p>And it's easy to do. Start right now by picturing—seeing, hearing, and feeling—what it'll feel like to accomplish your goals, and how all the hard work was so worth it.</p> <p>(Remember: external things aren't inherently bad; it's just good to have intrinsic goals, too. The former may even help you generate more of the latter.)</p> <h3>14. Focus on how you feel, not how you look</h3> <p>As mentioned above, feeling in control of our goals is an essential component of motivation. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23288323" rel="nofollow noreferrer">21</a></sup></p> <p>If you're not feeling your routine, take a moment to identify what your metric of success is.</p> <p>For many of us, the metric of success is what we look like. And until things start to tangibly change (i.e. the mirror starts showing results) from our fitness routine, motivation is hard to come by.</p> <p>Here's a simple shift you can make: focus on how you <i>feel</i>, not what you look like.</p> <p>Do you feel stronger? Healthier? More capable of performing tasks than before? Allow these positive feelings to become the center of your attention, and let go of the external ones that cause strife or anxiety.</p> <p>Because the truth is, you can't coax a mirror into showing you what you want. </p> <p>But you can always come back to these intrinsic feelings to find motivation. </p> <p>When you feel yourself entering that excuse-laden mindset, remember this: You're always only one workout, one healthy meal, or one positive interaction with your accountability partner/group away from finding the drive to keep it all going.</p> <p>Since lifelong fitness is a journey, this type of thinking will put you exactly where you should be—motivated to continue down this road for the sake of it, because you enjoy it, and because you want the best for yourself.</p> </section> </article>

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