Even the fittest people on the planet (who actually LOVE working out) have times when they’re not very motivated to exercise.
It’s a totally natural thing.
But changing your attitude and getting yourself in action anyway is what separates the people who have a body and life they love from those who don’t.
Right now I’m going to share 11 powerful exercise motivation tips that you can use anytime to get you fired up to create the body you deserve:
1. Watch exercise videos on YouTube – There’s something about watching other people doing the things that we want to do that really gets us motivated. It’s actually related to something in our brains called “mirror neurons”. These neurons basically simulate us doing whatever we are observing. For example, if we are watching a video of someone doing squats, certain systems in our brain are sort of visualizing us doing the same thing. Where the mind goes, the body will follow! So watch some cool exercise videos while you’re having your pre-workout nutrition to get you turned on.
2. Use music to get you pumped – When I played football we always had the music bumping while we were getting geared up for the game. You’ll find this today in pretty much any sporting event you can name. When you need to get pumped up to perform, play your favorite motivational workout music and you can’t help but be ready to crush it. Here’s one of my favorite playlist if you want to use it (just click play if you have Spotify):
3. Get an exercise partner – The accountability, the support, and the motivation is incredibly powerful when you know you’ve got someone counting on you. Now this one comes with a BIG warning. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT make an agreement with a training buddy that you know has a history of not following through. Sure, your friend may need to get in shape too, but if you two are at the same level, then it’s more likely that if one of you makes an excuse then the other person will gladly except it. “Girl, I had a long night, let’s just go out for breakfast…” “That’s cool, I wasn’t feeling it today anyway.” WTF. Don’t let this happen to you. Choose someone who will challenge you, and will consistently lift you up to the next level.
4. Get a coach or a trainer – If you don’t have any good options for training buddies right now, or if it’s your schedule, or your neighborhood is too far away, or if you just want to go it alone… An experienced trainer can be literal money-in-the-bank for you having the body you want.
Not only do good trainers have the specific knowledge you need to get you fit faster, they can actually plan things for you, drive you to get better, and hold you accountable when you try to fall off. I really don’t think there’s a better investment in the world than having a good trainer.
5. Read motivational exercise quotes – If you’re feeling like you have no motivation to exercise, then the right message can instantly get you back on track. Read exercise motivational quotes or empowering self-development quotes to remind you of how awesome you really are. You can print them out, write them in your journal, or stash them in places that you’ll automatically see them each day (like the fridge or the bathroom mirror). Here are some of my favorites that you can use 🙂
6. Review your WHY card (if you don’t have one, make one NOW!) – Something I do with my clients is help them get consciously connected to WHY they truly want to get the body and health they desire. Often times, people are operating on the surface level, and want to get in shape because of what I call an “uninspired fantasy”.
They’re not on fire for getting in shape, and they haven’t made a DECISION that they are going to do this no matter what. This is what separates those that fail from those that succeed. You have to be intimately connected to WHY you absolutely MUST make this happen. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to have a strong, healthy body?” And be 100% honest.
It could be ‘to be a better example for your kids’, or ‘to avoid a chronic illness that’s plagued your family’, or ‘to ensure that your spouse or significant other will always be attracted to you’. No matter what it is, it’s YOUR reason and you need to keep it close. It’s what will help push you through if any challenges come up along the way. Write it down on a card, and keep it where you can easily find it for a reminder.
7. Use exercise motivational pictures – This goes back to utilizing our “mirror neurons” like in tip #1. It’s also a powerful tool to use as a “map” so that you can feed your brain a destination or idea of what you want your body to look like. If you’re out-of-shape and your goal is healthy weight loss, then having an image in your mind of exactly how you want your body to look can make a huge difference.
You can use fitness magazines, or even images online of people with bodies that you aspire to have. If you want, you can even print out an image or tear out the magazine page and paste your face over the body of your dreams. It may sound crazy, but many people who’ve successfully transformed their body have used this trick to tap in to the power of their mind.
8. Use actual motivational EXERCISES – According to world renown success coach, Anthony Robbins, your “motion creates emotion”. This is built on the psychological understanding that how you move affects the way you think, feel, and behave. Your emotions affect the way you feel physically, but the opposite is also true.
Movements such as clapping, jumping up and down, and pumping your fist in celebration all change the chemistry of your body. It’s a built in neuro-association to positive feelings that you can tap in to at any time you want. Take control of how your body feels instantly by taking control of your physical posture and movements.
Jump up and down like your team just scored the winning point, raise your hands in the air and celebrate and I guarantee you’ll instantly feel recharged. You might want to take an example from Olympic Hurdler Michelle Jenneke if you want to see how it’s done. Oh, and by the way, she’s won a lot of races like this… just sayin’. 😉
9. Use social accountability – As human beings, it’s programmed in to us to stay congruent with the ideas we have about ourselves. One of the ideas we tend to carry is that we want to keep our word so that we don’t look like someone who doesn’t do what they say and face the label of being the dirty L-word… a liar.
Use this built-in psychological trigger to your advantage. If you’ve got plans to workout, then let EVERYONE you can know them (especially if you know you might break them). Post it on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media you frequent. This is going all in and letting the world know that you’re going to do what you said. Post something like: “Gotta hit the sack. I’ve gotta have my butt in the gym at 6 a.m.!” Unless you want to be a liar, I bet you’ll have your behind in that gym tomorrow morning. If you want to take a less vocal approach, you can just let your family or friends know your plans. But if you have kids, and you’ve ever told your child that you were going to do something and you don’t do it, you’re going to wish you used the social media instead!
10. O.K., have some caffeine 🙂 – If it’s just a lack of energy to begin with, obviously you want to get your nutrition and lifestyle in order so that you feel good all the time (that’s what the information in here at The Shawn Stevenson Model is all about!) But if you need a kick in the pants, and you don’t want to stress your body with ridiculous artificial energy drinks, then having a cup or 2 of your favorite caffeinated beverage before your workout is like magic.
Having caffeine pre-workout does some really amazing things for fat loss anyway (if that is your goal). So you get even more bang for your buck by doing this. I go in detail about how it works and how to use it for the best results in The Fat Loss Code. But for your basic intents and purposes, if you want to kick on that energy, have some high quality green tea or coffee pre-workout and you’ll get the edge you need to get going.
11. Just go!!! – This is the easiest, but most overlooked tactic of all. Award winning actor and director Woody Allen is famous for saying “80% of success is just showing up.” This quote has permeated the health and personal development field because many of the successful people believe it’s totally accurate.
So if 80% of success is just showing up, don’t you need to just SHOW UP at the gym and let everything else fall in to place?
A lot of times people are not motivated to exercise because they attach too many other things to it. They have to have the right shoes, the right outfit, get there at this specific time to get everything done, make sure they have their water bottle, special towel, a new playlist, shaker bottle, gloves, pre and post workout supplements, and on and on…
The reality is you don’t need ANY of that stuff to exercise and take care of your body. If you’re always waiting for the perfect conditions, then you’ll never get anything done. Just follow these simple instructions: Insert your butt into your car seat and drive yourself to the gym. That alone will get you 80% of the way.
Please leave your feedback in the comments section and let me know if any of these tips have been helpful to you. If you’ve got anything to add, I’d love to hear about that too! Thanks so much for reading.