Lost Motivation to Workout? Use These 6 Empowering Strategies

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If you’ve lost motivation to workout, you’re not alone.

Even though I like to think of myself as an exercise monkey, maintaining the desire to commit to a workout routine entirely isn’t always easy. Life gets busy; schedules change, events fill up your free time – it happens.

But more than all of this, it’s perhaps the frustration of not seeing “results” that dissuades me and so many others from continuing our workout journey. I mean, if I just take a minute to scroll through my social media feeds, the comparisons start to kick in.

The pressures of looking a certain way, configuring to society’s beauty standards, or even attempting to reach my version of the “ideal body” can be rough on my mental state. So, whenever these thoughts begin to percolate in my mind, I fight back with exercise. But not for the reason you might think.

It’s no surprise that the benefits of exercise on the body are infinite. But did you ever think of what it can do for your mind? Turns out, a lot.

Going for a quick walk or even lifting some weights can be powerful mood boosters. Exercise significantly improves mental health all around, including reducing anxiety and alleviating low self-esteem – which is the main reason I turn to it for an instant lift. It’s not to conform to expectations but to truly show my body some self-love – an act of self-respect if you will.

These empowering strategies are some of my favorites to follow, and they give me the much-needed motivation to workout when I’m stuck in an inactive state:

motivation to workout

1. Start Small  

If you’re not an intense gym rat or you’ve taken a break from exercise, your motivation to workout might not be high. And, that’s okay!  

It’s best to start with small goals rather than aim for an unlikely target. Opt for just 10 minutes a few times a week to focus on a workout routine:

  • A quick brisk walk outside
  • 5 yoga stretches
  • Skipping rope
  • Going for a bike ride

There are SO MANY choices available.

By starting like this, utilizing a small-time frame, you’ll be more likely to commit and propel forward. The goal is to keep your body moving, energized. As you become more comfortable with this setup, your motivation to workout will begin to increase, integrating nicely into your lifestyle. And by then, you can always amp up your routine.

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2. Shift Your Mindset 

I know it’s easier said than done, but trust me, shifting your mindset is one of the most extraordinary things you can do to improve your relationship with exercise. Rather than focusing on body goals like a weight-loss number or inches off your stomach, instead, turn to a fitness goal.

Maybe you want to run 10k in 6 months or compete in a triathlon next year? By emphasizing this type of goal, not only will you kick your motivation to exercise in high gear, but you’ll also maintain a more positive (and healthy) outlook on your body.

This is all about self-love.

Striving to reach a certain weight can lead to negative impacts, unhealthy thoughts. Plus, I think it’s actually counterproductive. You might begin obsessing over your eating habits or fuel body comparisons with others – it’s a downward spiral that’s best to avoid.

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3. Listen to Heart-Pumping, Energy-Inducing Music 

I refuse to exercise without popping in my air pods and listening to one of my saved playlists – tell me you can relate.

Music elevates the overall workout experience and, not to mention, improves my performance. I’m less distracted, hardly looking over to check the time, and find myself thoroughly engaged – giving my all to the workout.

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend creating a workout setlist, one that’s filled with fast-paced music to keep your energy and motivation flowing. My heavy rotation includes Beyonce (because, how could it not?), Drake (because we share major mutual love + respect for our homeland: Canada), and Black Eyed Peas (because nothing spells out “heart-pumping, energy-inducing” quite like a BEP hit).

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4. Stick to a Realistic Schedule 

Find what works for you.

Are you a morning person? Or can you carve out more time for yourself in the evening? Whatever the case may be, pick a time you can commit to so that your motivation to exercise runs at optimal levels.

My weekdays are pretty hectic, so finding the time to work out in the evening is next to impossible. And even on the odd occasion that I can take some time for myself, my energy levels are heavily depleted by the end of the day, making for a far-less effective workout.

Instead, I look to the mornings to get in a quick sweat session. By starting my day off like this, I have ample energy, which means fewer excuses, and my motivation to workout just skyrockets. Another huge bonus? I feel more alert throughout the day, avoiding that mid-day slump.

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5. Make it fun!

If you think of working out as a chore, it’s never going to be fun. Follow these tips to keep your enthusiasm up:

1. Identify the type of workout that gets you motivated

2. Does lifting weights get you fired up? Pilates? Swimming? Always pick an exercise you enjoy completing, one that doesn’t necessarily feel like “work.” It’ll make the process a lot more enjoyable.

3. Another factor to consider is a group vs. solo setting. Determine which method best motivates you. I personally prefer a solo routine but understand the power group classes can have on revving up the motivation to exercise.

4. If you find your current workout routine is getting a bit stale, you can always try something new. Plenty of digital studios exist which offer massive variety and cater to all fitness levels.

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6. Celebrate Your Wins 

No matter how big or small, it’s crucial to recognize your accomplishments. If you’re only able to do 20 push-ups one day and 5 on another day– there’s no need to discount or down-play this effort. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

Recognize the bigger picture – by celebrating these little wins, you’re well on your way to attaining larger goals. It’s all about instilling habits right now, which act as the foundation for your end goal: a healthier lifestyle.

So, how can you celebrate your wins?

1. Write your milestones down in a journal where you can reflect on your progress every now and then.

2. Tell your friends and family about your successes along your fitness journey. You’d be surprised at how powerful (and influential) words of encouragement can be for the mind.

3. Start a new ritual! Whether it’s treating your skin to a facial or spending an afternoon reading a book – these are all small acts of celebration you’ve earned.

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Final Thoughts 

Remember, your motivation to workout will gradually increase over time- it’s not an overnight occurrence. Always be kind to yourself, embrace your body, and avoid the comparisons. Find a type of workout you enjoy completing and stick with it.

You’ve got this.