How to Motivate Yourself to Workout – The Ultimate Guide

tips for motivating yourself to go to the gym and workout

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Trying to learn how to motivate yourself to workout? This article has you covered!

Going to the gym can be incredibly difficult for some people, and unfortunately, it’s not easy for everyone to motivate themselves to workout.

Everyone has their own reasons for exercising. For me, as a professional basketball player, it is literally a part of my job.

For others, working out and going to the gym is not only about getting an aesthetic body.

Physical activity and exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Exercise can also have quicker and more immediate health benefits as well. Simply put, working out on a regular basis can improve the quality of your life.

However, even for me, motivation is not always easy to find.

Unfortunately, often times, one of the hardest parts of any fitness program or workout is just finding the motivation to get out the door.

In a recent study, around 42% of Americans made New Year’s resolutions for 2017 that all had to do with being more physically active and healthy.

But in another study, only around 8% of those people will actually follow through and achieve their goals. So how can you stay motivated on those days when you just feel like giving up?

Keep reading below to learn some of my favorite tips that will teach you how to use mind persuasion and tactics such as covert influence to get results and motivate yourself to workout! I hope you read each part thoroughly because I promise I have some of my best advice in this article!

The Most Effective Tips for Motivating Yourself to Workout

I feel like I’m an expert in helping people find motivation to workout because my whole basketball career has been based off of having a better work ethic than other players. Seeing as I have severe exercise-induced asthma and was never a natural athlete, I had to will my way to becoming a professional athlete.

In college, I used to sleep in our locker room so I could workout until 1am, and then wake up at 7am to get another workout in before class. I have tons of other stories just like that as well, but I just wanted you to know that finding motivation to workout is one of my specialties!

Some days, you’ll feel energized, excited and motivated to get going. On those days, just waking up and getting out of bed will be enough to get you to the gym or get you into your normal workout routine.

However, on those days when you just don’t feel like working out, there are a lot of ways you can trick yourself into finding some motivation.

No matter how you feel, there are techniques that you can use to shift your attitude towards your daily workout. Here are a few of my favorites:

Set Realistic Goals

the best ways to motivate yourself to hit the gym

For me, the most important part of finding motivation even on days when I already feel motivated to work out is remembering about my goals.

Remembering my goals starts from the time I wake up, until the time I go to sleep. What I mean by that is, when I set my alarm for the night, I have written a note on my alarm with my “goal”, so I see it as the first thing in the morning when I wake up. On my alarm, I have the simple phrase “20-15-3”.

When I go to sleep and when I wake up each day, I want to remember I am training to have a game with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks. This was my goal since I was a Division One basketball player, and it has remained my goal as a professional basketball player at some of the highest levels of professional basketball. I have had a few games in my career with these stats, but I am always striving to get there as much as possible.

Why are you working out in the first place? Having a specific set goal that you are working towards will give every workout purpose.

When your workout gets tough or you are sore and unmotivated getting out of bed, it is helpful to know that you are on a journey and not simply struggling for nothing.

There are a lot of ways you can remind yourself about your goals.

You can do what I do with your alarm, you can write your workout goals on sticky notes and then put them on a highly visible place, or whatever works for you. This will provide a passive reminder on what you’re going to accomplish with your workouts.

Even a simple goal like losing 5 lbs in a month can be good enough to improve your likelihood of working out.

People often give up on their workout schedule as they are not able to achieve the unrealistic goals they have set. Unless you want to spend money on expensive procedures such as cryolipolysis, programs such as “getting six-pack abs in a month” are not possible.

According to a study published in Applied & Preventative Psychology,

“We have noted that specific, challenging goals given in the absence of relevant expertise may undermine the discovery of useful task strategies. Goals that are set too high can be demoralizing; there is a fine line between stretching people and discouraging them.”

Set goals which you can achieve in the time frame you have set, and you will feel proud and more motivated every time you achieve one. Go for smaller goals first, and then eventually increase the intensity as you progress.

You will feel confident as you are able to achieve the first milestone you had set, and this will motivate you to cover the entire path to achieving a better version of yourself.

That image in your head of what you want to look like after you’re done with all of those gym sessions, or how much weight you will lift after months of exercising, or simply how healthy you will feel, is what’s going to get you out of bed and push you to get to the gym every day!

Find Yourself a Gym Buddy

Going with friends and family members can make going to workout much more enjoyable. Although sometimes you just want to put some headphones in and train by yourself, having a good training partner can make a huge difference!

I always enjoy training with my teammates, and when I am at home in the summer, I do all my 5:30 am workouts with my best friend since childhood because it makes waking up that early much easier!

Not only will you probably enjoy your workout more if you are with someone else, mutual accountability can be everything when it comes to doing things you do not want to do. Studies show that roughly half of gym members prefer to work out with other people instead of alone.

However, you also need to make sure that they don’t distract you from your workout. You want to find someone who has the same type of goals and desire to workout as you do!

If you are trying to get into a routine, you may not feel the need to go to the gym some days, and will instead prefer to turn off your alarm and get an hour more of sleep.

However, if you have a friend or family member who will workout with you, chances are that you won’t like bailing out on them.

There is nothing more motivating than the idea of knowing someone is eagerly waiting for you!

Besides helping you to avoid skipping exercise sessions when you are feeling unmotivated, a workout partner will also help you to work even harder than you might have on your own! Partnering up for a work out can completely change your perception of going to the gym that day.

“I have to go to the gym” can easily be substituted to, “I get to see my friend.” Often times, neither of you will want to be the one who actually breaks the plans.

When personal willpower isn’t enough, support and encouragement from a friend can make all the difference.

Regardless of what tactic your workout partner uses to get you out the door, your chances of sticking with your fitness goals are much higher.

Ask one of your friends or family members to be your partner (sometimes my wife is my workout partner as well), and schedule workout times in advance that work for each of your schedules on a weekly basis. This will help to establish consistency, which will build good habits for the two of you!

Go to a Gym You Like

There are plenty of gyms and fitness centers open in every area, but you have to choose the one which is right for you. It might be a bit more expensive, but going to a gym you like will act as motivation for you to come and workout every day.

Going to a cheap gym with less equipment or equipment you don’t enjoy using will eventually spoil your mood and you will not feel like going every day. Especially in the last couple years, fitness clubs have grown dramatically in numbers as well as in specialties, price ranges, and styles.

Everything from boutique fitness clubs to budget 24 hour gyms will provide a different user experience that speaks to your wants and preferences.

As fitness technology is constantly advancing, gyms are responsible for keeping up in order to deliver the best experience possible for their clients. Whether it’s providing the latest gym equipment, renovated facilities, or club management software to make your visits as easy and smooth as possible, fitness have evolved to prioritize pleasing the client above all else.

If you find yourself unhappy or unmotivated at your gym, it’s probably time to move on and purchase a gym membership somewhere else!

Choosing to pay for a gym membership from a gym you enjoy going to will make a big difference for you!

Maintain a Progress Report

Maintaining a progress report or workout log book is something which most people don’t do or make when working out, and in my opinion that’s a big mistake.

If you think that they aren’t making any progress, that will lead to de-motivation and eventually quitting your workout routien.

Try maintaining a progress report for the workout program or routine you are following, and any change that it is having on your body.

You can track your progress by weighing yourself everyday, as well as monitoring how much weight you can lift, and how well conditioned your body is.

Whatever your routine is, keep track of the important pointers in your workout schedule. For example, if you are doing the One Punch Man Workout Routine, keep track of how long it takes you to complete the workout program each day.

This is the only way to know if you’re progressing.

Don’t think of any change as being too small to keep track of. Anything from a decrease in body fat or increase in muscle mass, to bench pressing more weight should be accounted for.

You can also download applications that available in the Google Play Store and App store which will help you to keep track of your progress easily.

It’s important for you to track your progress!

Don’t Think of it as a Punishment

Many people think about going to the gym as some sort of punishment.

You might not have gone to the gym all of your life, or you might not have eaten as healthy as you should have, and now you may feel like going to the gym is your punishment for that.

However, you should be thinking of going to the gym as a way to improve your life, a form of positive self improvement, and something you which can help you feel better about yourself. If you rearrange your mindset and think of exercising as a “bright spot” in your day, it won’t be as difficult to go workout!

Reward Yourself

It’s important to treat yourself, even when you’re going to the gym!

One of the hurdles to regularly working out is the mere fact that the ultimate goal (for instance losing weight, getting stronger, or looking fitter) is far removed from the workout itself. Results usually take time, and you might just get impatient. That’s the reason why it’s so important to build rewards that will offer instant gratification after your workouts.

Now, you don’t want to stuff your face with bad foods right after the gym, but if you treat yourself with a nice, long bubble bath or something else that you enjoy, you’re going to be more likely to get to the gym.

After a heavy week of workouts, treat yourself with some delicious food and a complete rest day. Treating yourself with a cup of tea or a relaxing bath after working out can be a great way to appreciate your hard work. Even small rewards can be good enough motivation to get an exercise done on those days when you don’t feel like working out at all.

However, if you don’t go to the gym, make sure that you don’t do that treatment – it’s all about training yourself.

Purchase Some New Gym Gear!

One of the most simplistic ways to motivate yourself to get to the gym is to purchase some new gym gear. Whether it is new clothing, a new fitness watch, or anything in between- buying yourself something new and useful can have an incredible impact on your desire to get to the gym and workout.

Having some new clothes to wear or some new equipment to use will help you think that what you are doing truly is valuable, and it will give you a little bit of a smile when you are on the way to the gym!

Even as a professional athlete I’m not immune to wanting to wear something cool to the gym!

Pump Up the Music

When you are not feeling motivated to workout, the right kind of music can make all the difference! Music is full of motivational quotes, and the sound itself can have an enormous impact on your workouts.

Music can help brighten your mood, focus on your goals, keep your energy levels up, and help you crush your workouts!

They can also distract your mind from other things as you concentrate on your workout.

According to a study published in Ergonomics,

“Measures of running speed, heart rate, perceived exertion and affect were taken. Significant effects and interactions were found for running speed and heart rate across the different music tempo and loudness levels. More positive affect was observed during the music condition in comparison to the ‘no music’ condition. No significant differences for perceived exertion were found across conditions. These results confirm that fast, loud music might be played to enhance optimal exercising, and show how loudness and tempo interact.”

Create a playlist of your favorite songs which motivate you or make you want to move. Remember, faster beats are the perfect mental distraction and they will subconsciously push you to keep up with the pace.

As such, your workout session will feel a lot easier and you’ll even end up working harder. However, whatever music you enjoy to listen to will work! On my playlist, I have rap music, classic rock, some random pop songs, and even some Russian and Polish music I have learned from my basketball career! If I had to choose one musical artist as my favorite thought, I would choose Meek Mill without a doubt.

You can check out my Spotify playlist here:

If you don’t have a pair of quality workout headphones, check out this list of the top 10 wireless headphones that you can with your mp3 player or phone to stream your favorite workout motivation music!

Visualize Your Workout

Visualization is a method used by most athletes to improve their performance. I use visualization all season, and I swear that it works. It works when preparing for competitions, but it works when preparing for workouts as well.

Athletes usually picture themselves scoring a goal or winning a race, and when doing so, they’re then more inclined to be successful.

The same principle will work for you as well.

All you have to do is create a mental picture of the things that you’ll do in your workout, be it running, taking part in yoga classes, or lifting weights. This process will increase your desire and urge to make that particular exercise or workout happen.

If you’re really interested in improving your visualization skills and using your mind to workout more often and more effectively, I suggest you read the book Mind Gym. Mind Gym is one of the best books I’ve read on the impact of visualization.

Find a Fitness Tribe

Let’s just face it: there’s no person who can pay you just to lift heavier loads, rack up a few more miles or do more squats — and science has proven it.

Research in a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economics found that rewarding gym members with $30 or $60 gift card to exercise made little impact on their motivation to work out.

While this might appear like a good deal just for sweating, what ultimately inspires you to get moving is yourself, and having a strong and supportive community. The high fives, words of encouragement, and laughs from the bonds that people make are priceless things that you can’t get anywhere else.

From run clubs, fitness bootcamp services, yogi circles, to CrossFit boxes, there’s always a fitness squad that suits each and every person. Find a workout plan that will make you feel good while at the same time surrounding yourself with people who will help build your strength and confidence.

Professional athletes always have a team around them, even if they compete in singles sports like golf or tennis. Those athletes always have a team of coaches, and other athletes always have a team of coaches and teammates. If they can’t do it alone, you shouldn’t think you can either! Find a way to surround yourself with positive support, and you will see the difference it makes!

Try New Classes

Just like with anything, falling into a routine can get stale and boring.

Many gym-goers can lose motivation because their workouts lack variety or become repetitive. Forming habits at the gym is not necessarily bad; everyone has their preferred types of workouts, as well as exercises they may try to avoid for various reasons.

However, becoming too comfortable with your workouts IS a big problem in terms of keeping you mentally and physically engaged. If your workout routine lacks diversity, our muscles adapt to the stimulus and do not work as hard, which of course will stymie your progress and cause you to hit a plateau.

On the same wavelength, our interest in working out depends on feeling challenged, seeing results, and endorphin highs.

Classes force us to try new exercises we would probably otherwise shy away from, or maybe have never even heard of before. Great instructors or high energy atmospheres can also be that extra push you need finish a difficult set that you probably would have given up on during your own workout.

If you don’t want to go to a gym to try workout classes, you can always try online classes or other workouts at home. I personally love the yoga videos from Yoga Download. Feel free to check them out!

Join a Fitness Challenge

Fitness challenges are a great way to keep you committed, focused, and motivated towards a particular goal. They can also be great for helping you refocus on a goal that you have gotten distracted from, as well as give you an opportunity to track your progress.

Challenges can come in all shapes and sizes; they can often be sponsored by your gym, from online communities, or social media channels.

Fitness challenges are without a doubt one of the best ways to lose weight fast for men or women!

The sense of community fitness challenges will allow you to meet like-minded participants for any type of fitness goal, whether it is to lose weight, consistently check into the gym, or track completed miles run.

Do Fun Exercises at the Gym

You don’t have to do exercises that are boring or that absolutely kill you when you do them.

Do some research and see what fun exercises you can pick up that are going to make your time at the gym more enjoyable. For example, when I don’t want to do a specific workout routine or a complex variety of workouts for the day, pushing the prowler sled with a variety of weights is a fun way for me to get a great workout in, and let my mind relax a bit.

Listen to an Audio Personal Trainer or Motivational Podcast

There’s a reason that celebrities look so good all the time: personal trainers.

The positive effect a personal trainer can have on your fitness goals really cannot be understated.

While having them on hand to craft a personal workout for you is going to get you good results, the motivational aspect of a personal trainer is where you really see the big difference.

Having someone to keep you going, keep you pushing past your comfort zone, and perhaps most importantly getting you to do the workout in the first place, is hugely beneficial.

The fact of the matter is we can’t all afford to have a real life personal trainer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a motivation boost during your workout. Instead of a flesh and blood trainer, why not try the audio version?

Listening to a motivational podcast or audio book can help keep you on track and give you the head-space to go further for longer, or get through a particular repetitious series of reps.

What you listen to doesn’t need to be overtly fitness focused, although if you do want to mirror a personal trainer to the max, you could try “The Abs Diet” or “The 90 Day Home Work Out Guide” for a guided workout that will keep you engaged.

The other option is to choose a motivational story such as “Never Give Up”.

However, my personal favorite is Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. This is the story of the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and a Air Force Tactical Air Controller! After his military career, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, and he inspired Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America!

Here’s a short clip of him for you:

View this post on Instagram

There is no one in the world who doesn’t have a hater- at least one person who doesn’t like them. In life, it is always about moving forward and taking that next step. A lot of us don’t take that next step because we failed on the step prior. So, taking that next step becomes very difficult not so much because of the one prior but because of the fear of what people might say. Haters will always be lurking out there somewhere in the dark, waiting for you to fall flat on your fucking ass. You could win the national championships in basketball and the haters will say it because of bad refs who missed the call! A lot of us allow these haters – jealous and insecure people- dominate our every thought. It’s not so much that we are afraid to fail, most of us are afraid of the judgement that comes with failure. It’s not just about failing in life- a whole bunch of people are lazy, insecure, underachieving, unwilling to grow, living in the past, bitter, spiteful and vengeful, etc. These are the very people who will always find something wrong with you and your success and achievements. These are the type of haters who would say that if you walked on water, it would be only because you can’t swim!!!! I have one finger for all of these people and I am guessing you all know exactly which finger that is! Stay hard! 🖕

A post shared by David Goggins (@davidgoggins) on

If you want some legit motivation, this is for you!

The great thing about audio-books and podcasts is the sheer variety and volume of them.

A fitness themed one for when you are taking your fitness seriously isn’t for everyone, so why not try a bit of escapism or comedy?

Let’s be honest, we all wish that we had a bit more time in the day, and multitasking is now pretty much a necessity of life. So, get your read on through your ears while you get your workout on!

If you want to add an audio boost to your routine you can get a free trial for audio-books by clicking here. You can try out a variety of different genres and options to find out what works best for you.

A word of caution: listening to audio, whatever it may be; music, books, commentary should only be used when you are in a safe place and are very confident and comfortable with your workout.

Being distracted while learning a new routine or trying out a different configuration of machines for the first time is not recommended.

Print Some of these Motivational Fitness Quotes and Read Them Each Day

Read some motivational quotes and post them on your wall or keep them in a folder to look at!

While these quotes might come off as cliche since you see them on every meme on social media, when you take the time to curate a list of your favorites, they do act as a spark to get you fired up.

Think of it like your music playlists that you use to power through your workouts.

Just like the music gets you pumped up, these positive words can trigger certain neurons in your brain that will give you the burst you need to push through that “blah” feeling so you can get the ball rolling.

  1. Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better. ― Jim Rohn
  2. Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t. — Jerry Rice
  3. Do something today your future self will thank you for. – Unknown
  4. “I don’t have time” is the grown-up version of “the dog ate my homework.”
  5. The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. — Tommy Lasorda
  6. It’s not about having time. It’s about making time. – Unknown
  7. The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow. – Unknown
  8. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. — Mahatma Gandhi
  9. You are only one workout away from a good mood. – Unknown
  10. Be stronger than your excuses. – Unknown
  11. If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied. – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  12. A one hour workout is 4% of your day. No excuses. – Unknown

Fitness Coaching Applications

In addition to any popular fitness application you may already use, like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal, new applications that focus on personal motivation and coaching have made waves in the fitness market.

Rather than simply logging or tracking your stats, mobile applications like FitWell and Lark, provide 24 hour support and encouragement while keeping you track of your fitness objectives.

These apps even go as far as creating customized meal plans based off your food preferences, in addition to creating individualized workout plans. This extra and always accessible motivation can be instrumental in getting you to the gym and to keep you on pace with your routine and schedule.

Hire a Personal Trainer to Fit Your Needs

Personal trainers such as John Welborn, who is a personal fitness coach and fat loss specialist in the Portland/Fairview Oregon area, can keep you motivated to workout whenever your energy levels are getting low.

Personal trainers specify in helping people ranging from professional athletes, to overweight and obese individuals, transform their bodies and lives, reclaim their freedom and confidence, and reach the best shape of their lives.

Remember That This is a Long Journey

Keep in mind that changes aren’t going to happen overnight!

This is a long journey that you’re on, and you need to have the stamina and the motivation to see it through to the end. Just imagine what you’re going to look after months of going to the gym!

Concluding Thoughts – Motivating Yourself to Go to The Gym

The benefits of consistently working out are just too many. From increasing your energy levels and improving muscle strength, to helping you to maintain a healthy weight, you’re certain to reap a lot from your workout plan. With the tips listed above, you’re sure to remain motivated for all your workout sessions!

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