We’ve all been there: the alarm goes off, and your gym bag is packed, but somehow, you just can’t muster the energy to step out the door. Sound familiar?
Why does this happen, even when we know hitting the gym is good for us?
Finding the right gym motivation can be a struggle, especially on those days when the couch looks so inviting. But don’t worry; we’re about to dive into five actionable tips that’ll light a fire under you. So let’s get moving, shall we?
Why Is Gym Motivation So Hard to Find?
First off, let’s ask the big question: Why is it so tough to find the motivation to exercise? It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Maybe you had a long day at work. Perhaps you’re bored of your routine. Or maybe the gym intimidates you. The reasons could be endless, but the good news? So are the solutions!
Note: Your reason for lacking motivation is unique to you. Identifying the reason is the first step in overcoming it.
5 Ways to Find Gym Motivation (When You Don’t Want to Go)
1. Consume Something That Excites You
Music, Videos, and Quotes
Ever noticed how a killer playlist can instantly lift your mood? Music has the power to ignite your soul and propel you into action. Create a playlist that fires you up, or turn to YouTube for some motivational workout videos. Just type “gym motivation,” and you’ll find a plethora of content aimed to get you moving.
Why stop there? Reading motivational quotes can also provide that nudge. You could even set these quotes as your phone wallpaper, so every time you look at your screen, you’re reminded to keep pushing. Have you ever tried this? If not, you’re missing out on an easy gym motivation hack.
Note: Music and motivational content can act as your instant pick-me-up. Make it a pre-gym ritual for best results.
2. Set Fitness-Linked Future Goals
Vacation, Reunion, Marathon
Imagine sipping a cocktail on a sun-soaked beach. Feels good, right? Wouldn’t it feel even better if you were in the best shape of your life? Planning a future event that demands you to be in better shape can be incredibly motivating. It could be a beach vacation, a high school reunion, or even a marathon you want to run. The thought of that future event can be a constant reminder to get off that couch. What future plans could you make that would need you to be in shape?
Note: The key is to make a plan that’s sufficiently far in the future to allow time for improvement, but also close enough to create a sense of urgency.
3. A Blast from the Past
Old Photos as Motivation
You’ve come a long way, haven’t you? Even if you’re not where you want to be yet, you’re far from where you used to be. Looking at older photos can serve as a great motivation booster. They remind you of your journey and how far you’ve come. The last thing you’d want is to slide back into old habits, right?
Note: Keep some of these ‘before’ photos easily accessible. They serve as a powerful visual motivator, reminding you why you started this journey in the first place.
4. Make It a Social Commitment
Gym Plans With Friends
Friends don’t let friends skip gym day, do they? When you plan to go to the gym with someone, it becomes an appointment—a commitment that’s harder to break. Plus, workouts become more fun and less of a chore when you have company. Who could you rope into being your gym buddy?
Note: Choose a friend who’s as committed to their fitness goals as you are. Their dedication can be contagious!
5. A Support Network You Can’t Let Down
It’s one thing to disappoint ourselves, but disappointing someone we love? That’s a whole new level of guilt we don’t want to experience. Telling your plans to people you trust creates an external form of accountability. It’s a great motivator because you won’t just let yourself down if you don’t follow through—you’d be letting them down, too.
Note: Make sure you choose people who will actually hold you accountable. This is not the time for yes-men or yes-women!
Even As a CPT, Motivation Still Requires Work
One of the keys that I learned early in my fitness journey was to realize that sometimes motivation doesn’t come naturally. It needs to be manufactured. Even as a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, sometimes motivation doesn’t come as easily as I would like. Some of the steps below help to remedy that.
Conclusion: It’s Time to Get Moving!
Mark Della Vedova, former Division 2 collegiate athlete turned basketball coach and owner of markdellavedova.com knows a thing or two about motivation when it comes to staying fit.
“A lot of times, motivation is hard to find because we may not see the results we expected as fast as we wanted,” he says. “We set a goal to lose however much weight or to look like Captain America in 30 days, only to see little difference on the scale or in the mirror. Curbing expectations and focusing on consistency can allow us to push through and get a workout in when the motivation isn’t there.”
There’s no magic pill for gym motivation. Sometimes, you just have to dig deep and find that inner spark. Whether it’s a future beach holiday, an inspiring playlist, or the fear of letting down someone you love, your motivation is out there—you’ve just got to find it. What’s stopping you? Get out there and reclaim your love for the gym!
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape to better himself and those around him, focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.