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how to stay motivated to exercise

Unsplash: Jonathan Borba

Knowing how to stay motivated to exercise can be challenging, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel yourself losing motivation. It’s normal to have days where you’re excited to work out and motivated to do it and others where you can’t get yourself going!

If you lack workout motivation and it’s preventing you from being consistent, you’re not alone. Losing motivation often happens to everyone – even professional athletes. It’s human nature not always to want to do what we need to do. But, the reality is that the biggest results come from the consistency of working out.

But how do you stay motivated to get yourself going back to exercising time and time again? Let’s dive into how to stay consistent with working out to keep your body in the calorie deficit it needs to lose weight sustainably.

1. Find an exercise you enjoy

I can’t stress this enough: this is arguably one of the most important factors regarding workout motivation. If you don’t enjoy your exercise, you probably won’t stick with it too long and will find it harder to get yourself to do it once time goes on.

This is the same as eating – if you’ve ever followed a diet you hated to lose weight, did it last? You probably couldn’t stick to that diet for more than a few months because you couldn’t get yourself to eat bland or unappealing food. 

So, instead of choosing an exercise based on the number of calories you’ll burn, focus on one you look forward to. This could be going to a dance or barre class, running by the beach, or doing a HIIT workout like CrossFit, where you feel powerful. Whatever it is, make sure you like it!

2. Create a routine

When it comes to workout consistency, building a rinse-and-repeat routine is key. This means trying to exercise at the same time each day or on the same days every week. If doing both isn’t always feasible, try to commit to at least one of these two routines. 

Doing this will help build the habit more quickly, so it becomes more automatic. This will make it harder to say no to because, eventually, it will become engrained in you. Then, it will automatically be part of your schedule during that time or that day to do some sort of physical activity during that time.

Once you establish a routine, you’ll see that your days without motivation will naturally decrease.

3. Track your progress

Are you keeping track of your exercise wins – such as the ability to lift more weight or run faster? Keeping track of your progress regularly is critical to staying motivated. You can do this by using an app such as Strava or Nike Training Club on your phone or a wearable tracker like Fitbit or Apple Watch.

I have my clients do this, and it helps boost confidence and motivation. When you see your progress from week to week or month to month, you’ll be reminded of how far you’ve come. You’ll also remember that the time you spend working out brings you countless benefits. 

This can be particularly helpful on weeks when you’re not seeing weight loss, and you’re seeking some non-scale victories.

4. Work out with a friend or group

how to stay motivated to lose weight with group exercise

Unsplash: Dylan Gillis

Sometimes, learning how to stay motivated to exercise is simply about seeking community. If you’re not motivated to work out alone, try doing it with a friend. Scheduling a time to meet someone, whether it’s for a walk or a scheduled gym class, can help you stay accountable when the time comes. 

You’ll be much less likely to bail when you know someone is counting on you!

Plus, working out with other people can be more enjoyable, motivating, and push you harder than you would yourself. When I go for runs with friends who are naturally faster than me, I tend to be speedier on those days without realizing it to keep up with them. 

So if you’re veering off course, enlist a health-conscious friend or sign up for a workout class so it’s in your schedule. You know you’ll never regret it once you do it.

5. Mix your routine up

Sometimes, your workout routine may just be getting stale. Even if you like your workouts, it can get boring if you’re always doing the same thing.

When I see my clients always doing the same workouts, I check in with them every month or so to see if it’s still working for them. If not, we can change things up! Ask yourself if you still like what you’re doing and if it still feels challenging enough. 

If not, trying something new, like a new workout app or gym class, can ignite your motivation again.

6. Visualize success

If you’ve never done visualization before, it can be a powerful tool in achieving your goals. When you visualize success, you can focus on what you want yourself to be doing to push you to work out. 

Here are a few examples – 

  • You’re training for a 5K, and you visualize yourself coming toward the finish line strong with everyone cheering you on.
  • You can picture yourself playing on the beach with your kids and having the strength and energy to lift them with ease.

Picturing what success looks like to you (the ultimate goal you’re trying to achieve) can give you the kick in the butt to get going again.

7. Take the focus off of weight loss

Last, don’t use weight loss as your main motivator to exercise. As a weight loss dietitian, I know this sounds counterintuitive, but focusing on weight loss alone will not give you consistent exercise motivation. This is because sometimes you’ll have weeks you won’t lose weight, or you’ll hit your weight loss goal. Does this mean you stop exercising? 

Definitely not! This is why, instead, I recommend focusing on strength and performance for motivation. When you focus on these factors, you’ll be more inclined to exercise no matter what. This is because you’ll want to feel strong and energized in your daily life. 

And no matter what you weigh that day, doing this alone will increase your confidence.

Bottom Line

Learning how to stay motivated to exercise regularly can help you see faster results. It also helps keep you consistent and makes it easier to come back over and over to workouts you love.

Incorporate strategies like engaging in exercise you enjoy, partnering up with a friend, and taking the focus off of weight loss. This will keep you going, and you’ll be on your way to more workout consistency.

Remember that you don’t have to be perfect with your workout routine; it’s what you do most days that counts. If you fall out of routine, just back on track as soon as possible to minimize gaps in your workout schedule. 

This will help ensure you keep your health and fitness goals front of mind. This will help build the momentum you need to want to keep going.

If you need more help staying motivated and accountable in your healthy weight loss journey, contact me to schedule a free call to learn more about my sustainable weight loss program. 

Now, go ahead and schedule your next week of workouts! 🙂