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20 Ways to Find the Motivation to Exercise

If you’re not married to your treadmill, finding the motivation to exercise can be tough. The first four weeks of a new fitness plan are the worst, but I promise it gets easier once you establish a routine.

When I was growing up, I was not athletic at all. I sat on my couch and played on my GameBoy for 10 hours a day when I wasn’t in school. I dreaded running the mile in P.E. because I was the #1 slowest kid on the field. When we formed teams in kickball, I always got picked last. I didn’t play any sports in high school. I mean, I REALLY was not athletic.

However, in my early adulthood, I have learned to love working out. Looking back on my childhood, it’s crazy to think I used to hate it. Now, I get up at 4 or 5 a.m. every day just to go to the gym. It’s like I’m a whole different person.

My point is that anyone, regardless of background or level of experience, can enjoy exercise in some way. If I learned to love it, so can you! Especially if you’re starting a new workout routine, it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise. I wanted to write this post to share some tips on how you can incorporate fitness into your lifestyle in a way that works for you.

Here are 20 ways to find the motivation to exercise:

1. Find an activity you enjoy.

Especially if you’re new to working out, I think this tip is super important. It’s easy to get turned off by running miles on the treadmill if you hate doing cardio. If you find an activity you enjoy doing, you will learn to love working out from the very beginning, and it will fit more naturally with your lifestyle.

Here are some ideas:

  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Zumba
  • Rock climbing
  • Kickboxing
  • Ice skating
  • Surfing
  • Scuba diving
  • Kayaking
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Hiking
  • Skiing
  • …and so many more!

If you don’t see anything you like on the list, try doing your own research to find an activity that interests you. You will have something to look forward to!

2. Switch it up!

If you’ve been following the same exact workout plan for days, weeks, or months, try something different! Routines are great, but they can get boring. Even just adding one new activity into your routine, like a class, could make you more excited to get off the couch and exercise.

3. Try to work out at the same time every day.

If you block off a specific time of day for your workout, you can’t make excuses because you “don’t have time for it.” I used to have an irregular schedule, and I found it difficult to keep my workouts consistent because something always came up.

Now, I always work out first thing in the morning. I set an alarm, and I don’t hit snooze. For me, early morning is the perfect time to exercise because no one is bothering me, and I don’t have anything pressing to do. Your schedule might look different, but the important thing is that you find a time block that you can dedicate entirely to exercise.

4. Write down your workouts in a planner or calendar.

To schedule fitness into your busy life, try writing your workouts down in your planner or calendar. That way, you will have a visual reminder to exercise, and you can hold yourself accountable.

5. Make exercise a priority in your life.

If you want to see real results, you have to be consistent with your workouts. I know life gets busy and things come up, but you must make fitness a priority. If you put exercise at the top of your to-do list, and you show up to the gym to get the job done, you will be rewarded.

6. Set realistic goals for yourself.

When I first started working out as an adult, I got discouraged after a week when I wasn’t seeing any results. Looking back, I was being WAY too hard on myself. As you’re setting goals for yourself, it’s important to make sure they’re attainable. You’ll get burned out quickly if you set unrealistic goals for yourself.

7. Get cute workout clothes.

It probably sounds silly, but I feel way more motivated to work out when I’m wearing cute athletic clothes. I’m also more likely to work out if just bought new exercise clothes recently. So go shopping for some new athletic wear, and consider your purchases an investment in yourself. Then, it’s time to hit the gym!

8. Make a playlist filled with motivational songs.

I love listening to music no matter what I’m doing, and it’s safe to say I could never exercise without my headphones in. Create a playlist filled with songs you love. Listen to it the next time you work out, and you’ll feel hyped up!

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9. Watch Netflix or your favorite TV show while you do cardio.

Watching TV makes time on the treadmill fly by! If you really want to feel motivated, make a rule for yourself that you can’t watch your favorite show unless you’re at the gym. Then, you’ll look forward to working out and getting those miles in!

10. Sign up for a group fitness class.

Working out in a group is often more motivating than exercising alone. Find a class near you that looks fun, and give it a shot! You will get to try something new, and you might make friends in the process.

11. Hang out with like-minded people.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, and you will feel more motivated to achieve your goals. Support systems are invaluable.

12. Get addicted to the endorphin rush.

I always feel amazing during and after a workout. I’ve definitely fallen in love with the natural high I get from it. Once you learn to enjoy the endorphin rush, you will crave it every day.

13. Realize that getting in shape is a marathon, not a sprint.

Fitness is a lifestyle change. It’s not supposed to be a sprint from point A to point B. You will see amazing results over time, but only if you remain consistent with your workouts. Since I started my latest workout program 7 weeks ago, I’ve seen slow results, but it’s been incredibly rewarding. It’s worth the time, effort, and patience.

14. Cut down on sugar and unhealthy food.

Regardless of what your fitness goals are, diet is crucial. Even if you’re not trying to lose or gain weight, it’s important to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to perform.

When I cut sugar out of my diet, I noticed a huge difference in my mood and energy level. I didn’t feel tired all the time like I used to. Instead of craving junk, my body started wanting healthy food. I used to eat fast food all the time when I was younger, so eating healthy and actually enjoying it was a breakthrough for me.

In starting new workout plans, I think many people don’t pay enough attention to how they eat. But for me, improving my diet was a game changer. I think it will be for you, too.

15. Consider supplements.

I know there’s a huge debate about which supplements are “good” and which are “bad.” In my opinion, you should take the supplements that work for you and forget about what everyone else says. (Or, just don’t take any at all!)

I’m going to share one of my favorite supplements for working out. Please note that the links below are affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase. All opinions are mine alone, and I only ever recommend products that I personally use and love.

OK, so I take this Amino Energy blend by Optimum Nutrition. 

Like the name implies, it contains both an amino blend and an energy blend, which means it helps with muscle recovery and it gives you an energy boost. It contains caffeine, which helps me get up in the morning to work out. (If you were wondering how the heck I work out at 4 a.m., this is the secret.)

It’s in a powder form, which is nice because you can customize the amount based on your needs. Each serving contains 100mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to a cup of coffee. I don’t like the taste of coffee, so I actually take the Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy throughout the day instead. It gives me the mental focus I need.

They have a bunch of flavors, but I like the Watermelon and Green Apple the best. I just mix it with water and drink it when I need a pick-me-up.

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you might not like this product. But otherwise, I highly recommend it! Let me know what you think in the comments below if you end up trying it.

16. View exercise as a form of self-care.

If you view exercise as a punishment for eating, you’re doing it wrong. Fitness should be part of your self-care routine, and you should exercise out of love for yourself, not out of hatred for your body. Make sure you are working out for the right reasons, and you will enjoy it a lot more.

17. Be kind to yourself.

Your workouts should challenge you, but they’re not supposed to be torture. Listen to your body. If you’re too sore to move, take a day off! Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t push yourself to the point of injury. As you embark on your fitness journey, treat your body with respect.

18. Don’t compare yourself to other people.

The comparison game is one of the biggest motivation killers. Instead of comparing your results to other people’s, you should take ownership of your body and realize that everyone’s fitness journey is different. You are unique, and that is worth celebrating!

19. Think of your workout as “me time.”

One of the main reasons I love working out is because I get time to myself. When I’m at the gym, I don’t have to deal with people. In recent months, I’ve cherished my “me time.” When you program your mindset to view exercise as “me time,” it will become more special.

20. Get in the mindset of a winner.

This past year, I learned an important lesson: in order to be a winner, you have to think like a winner. If you have a self-pitying attitude, you won’t make any progress. I think a lot of people overlook the importance of mindset. When you show up for yourself and hold yourself accountable, magical things happen—I’m being serious.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you found this post helpful in some way. 🙂 If you want some tools to help you keep track of your workouts and fitness goals, enter your email in the box below to gain access to my library of FREE personal development printables.

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