Motivation to exercise is one of the biggest struggles women face when trying to follow a fitness program.
Even when we initially muster the determination to get started with a new workout plan, finding the motivation to be consistent with our exercise can be difficult, ESPECIALLY with all the excuses and interruptions that life throws at us.
Personally, I can remember years of looking around at the diligent exercisers of the world and wondering: "Where do they find their tireless motivation and when is mine going to spontaneously appear?"
I took me years to learn that they didn't find it, they created it.
They made a decision in their mind to do something and employed mental and logistical strategies to make fitness a regular component of their life.
These diehard fitness freaks (which is how I thought of them at the time) were just regular people that had recognized the numerous benefits of engaging in regular movement.
Like the rest of us, they would lose inspiration, get sick, miss workouts, and feel discouraged, but they had systems in place and a mindset that helped keep them going.
You can do that too! You can make the decision to become a more active version of yourself.
You too can find your own personal reasons for working out.
You too can cultivate a mindset for maintaining your commitment to fitness.
You too can implement motivational tools to generate inspiration to workout!
Because there are numerous approaches to getting motivated,
I decided to reach out to some of my favorite respected fitness experts to ask them:
What motivates you? How do you maintain motivation?
What tips and tricks do you use for yourself and your clients to spark motivation?
Their answers were so diverse, insightful, and doable that I had to share them with you all!!
"The key to getting motivated to exercise is to start easy and commit to consistency. Start so easy that you cannot not do it. This could be 5 minute workout session, walk around the block, fun dance class if that is something you enjoy. Our bodies are designed to move so just getting started with something enjoyable is going to have you wanting more.
-Ink Young Ink Young Life
Using goals and habits to help maintain motivation
Motivation is like a muscle. I think it’s something that needs to be exercised, used and cultivated over time. Knowing your "Why" is key and building your habits over time because you won't always be motivated. Habits – help you reach your goals when the motivation isn’t there. Motivation is what gets you started but habits will keep you going when you just don't feel like it.
-Candace Smith Beauty of Strength
My number one tip for motivation is set a small goal and NOT a number on the scale goal. This could be lifting a certain amount of weight in a certain exercise, running a certain distance without stopping, making it through so many rounds in a HIIT workout, or doing so many workouts in a week. Make the goal small enough that it’s actually achievable in the next 4-6weeks.
-Krissy Gillay Gillay Nutritional Gym
Motivation is a tricky thing because I believe it's so deeply personal. What motivates each person is vastly different. For me, it's goal setting. When I have a specific goal to work towards, I'm more likely to stick to it, even on the toughest days.
-Denise Schulz Raleigh Kettlebell Company
Practical strategies to try to spark your motivation!
I believe there is inherent motivation to checking small, actionable items off a list and gaining momentum from the feeling of “Hey! I can actually DO this!”: When we have a taste of success, we want more. In order to tap into this motivation tool I recommend setting small but achievable goals. Ideas to try: start with 5 minutes of exercise 5 out of 7 days of the week, or aiming for at least 20 days out of a month. It sets the expectation that you will try to get it in at least some exercise almost every day and also gives you some grace for those crazy days when it’s just not happening.
-Carolyn Banner Body by Banner
Many busy women struggle with workout motivation, not with getting the motivation to start working out, but to maintain the motivation to KEEP working out. I encourage my clients to rid themselves of the perfectionist conversation happening in their heads which says, "If it can't be perfect, it's not worth doing". When work projects pile up or kids get sick, I encourage her to use my “Power-Up” tool to remain consistent when time is limited. Try it out! Get your heart rate up and muscles burning with this Power-Up: 1 min push-ups*, 1 minute static lunges (30 seconds on each side), 1 minute fast toe-taps on a step or curb, 1 minute squat jumps, 1 minute alternating knee-to-elbow plank. These short, intense workouts serve as a reminder that perfect isn’t necessary and all the little decisions do add up for a lifetime of consistent health.
Jess Matthews Be PowerFULL
For me staying motivated for a workout is keeping the workouts, short, fast, fun and efficient. For example, today for Halloween I did 31 reps of each exercise.
Chelsea Stewart Ambassador of Bliss
My coaching ladies love it when I set up challenges for them to keep the motivation going. Such as timer workouts, stickers on their bulletin board when they complete a workout and accountability partners.
These little adjustments really spark the interest.
-Kim Schaper Kim Schaper Fitness
The Mindset component of motivation...
I think it's key to keep your eye on the big picture and don't let little setbacks crumple you. Knowing where I want to be long term is the most motivating thing for me. I don't want to look back at my life when I'm 90 and not know if I reached my full potential. This really helps keep the journey in perspective. Progress no matter how slow is still progress.
Heather Coracini Raleigh Kettlebell Company
I love the feeling of getting stronger and seeing myself progress. It gives me confidence and has helped me become stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally and allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin. Developing strength in the gym has helped me become stronger for LIFE. My motivation comes from a place of wanting to be strong for my family, strong for my future kids, and just strong in general so that I can tackle anything life throws at me.
-Chrissy King Chrissy King Fitness
Motivation is a tricky topic!
Motivation to workout tends to come and go for most people. You must have an underlying commitment to your health or strong purpose that trumps motivation! Motivation is a feeling. Commitment is a decision. I commit to train (exercise) because I view my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. and because I need to be in shape and feel great to be the best wife and mom I can be. Motherhood requires athleticism! :)
Whenever I personally lack motivation to workout, I remind myself of my commitment and then simply plan my day to make exercise the easiest choice when I wake up.
I lay out my workout clothes the night before, set my alarm, and commit to not hitting snooze. As soon as I get up, I have my quiet time with coffee then head to my basement gym to exercise. I choose a workout program that makes me feel good and is enjoyable. Most of all, I don’t exercise because I hate my body, to be skinny, or to punish myself for a poor eating choice. I do it because I love and appreciate my body and all that it does for me!
Jill Jacobs Jill Jacobs
My main motivation to stay fit is to be a happier, calmer, and stronger mom. Life is so much better when I can give my kids piggyback rides without pain, feel energetic instead of lethargic, and relaxed from releasing pent up stress. Plus my husband definitely notices the difference when I haven't worked out. "Have you gone for a run lately?" is usually the cue he gives me to tell me that I've been cranky.
As the saying goes, "Happy wife = happy life."
Rachel-Flanagan Rachel Flanagan Fitness