Stay motivated during workout header image

25 Ways to Stay Motivated During Workouts (That Actually Work)

Stay motivated during workouts header image

motivation quote sylvester staloneLet’s be honest. We all hit a wall. Staying motivated all the time is challenging.

To help you I have put together my 25 favorite techniques to stay motivated during workouts.

No matter how to fit you are, there are going to be times during your workouts that you’ll feel like quitting mid-workout.

I’m sharing so many techniques because there is no one-size-fits-all formula for working out. Everyone has their own preferences and fitness goals.

By learning many ways to stay motivated during workouts you will have a great deal of knowledge at your disposal if you do ever hit the wall and want to break through.

Overview of how to stay motivated during workouts:

motivation info

1. Have a long-term goal

A long-term goal is necessary to stay motivated during workouts. Exercising without a goal in mind leads to less consistency and effort when compared to people who have clear goals.
I know of many people who decide to go to the gym without any goals. Just going to the gym is a good start. Going without a plan it is difficult to make progress because their mind isn’t set on a long-term improvement.

2. Reach for many small goals

When it comes to fitness nothing happens overnight and big goals take a lot of time, energy, and effort.

Break down big goals into smaller goals and go after them in short periods of time. This can help you see progress quicker and be more motivated to push yourself to reach small goals every single day.

3. Routine

Having a clear workout plan for every workout will help with motivation. When you know what you’re going to do you will be less likely to become unmotivated in the middle of a workout.

Tips when creating workout plan:
•    Create a routine for each week
Plan what exercises to do on each day with time slots for each exercise. (My days typically include 5 minutes of stretching, 30 minutes’ lift, 45-50 minutes’ cardio and abs.)
•    Write down your small goals and keep track of how you progress
•    Be realistic and make it stick to your life schedule

4. Change pace

When planning workouts make sure to change up what you’re doing. Changing things up can allow you to rest a previously worked part of the body and maintain yourself for longer workouts.

I often mix up the order or change the times I do the workouts. If I know I have a busy day I will do cardio in the morning then lift and do abs later.

Sometimes a long workout of the same thing is straight up boring. I urge you to change it up and it will help motivate you while working out.

5. Do not burn out

If you go hard at the gym at the beginning of a workout you may burn out quick.

Common mistakes that people make is that they do one exercise for too long and burn out or they do too many exercises too quickly. This causes exhaustion. If you’re exhausted, you might not be reaching your full potential while losing motivation to keep working out.

Taking small breaks or longer ones if needed can help motivate you to push through and get a better workout in.

One of the best ways to burn fat and train for athleticism is interval training. Quick bursts of exercises followed by a short rest period. Rest is key.

6. Enjoy it

Nobody is motivated to complete a workout they completely hate. To be motivated during a workout you need to find an activity or exercises that you find enjoyable.

It is not true that to make progress that you have to be stuck to certain exercises. There is a multitude of other ways you can work out that you may enjoy more! It never hurts to try something new.

7. Put the phone away

Using a phone during a workout can only be good for music or workout videos or learning new workout technique. However, many people get distracted and do not focus on their workout with all of the distractions from their phones. Use it wisely.

When I workout I use a wireless headset and leave my phone in my bag while I workout. Sometimes if I do not feel like listening to music I will not even bring my phone to the gym.

8. Count reps/use timers

Keeping track of numbers can help some people stay motivated. By counting reps or timing certain exercises it allows you to know if you’re progressing and reach for new personal bests.

I write down personal bests for weight lifting including the number of reps. Another thing I do is write down the estimated calories burnt if I am on the treadmill or bike machine. Then in the future, I try to beat the previous number.

9. Stretching and rolling

Nobody wants to work out if they are always stiff or sore!
Stretching in between exercises will increase blood flow to muscles and help to release tension and soreness.

Another amazing thing to do along with stretching is to roll out your muscles. A quality roller before a leg exercise releases a ton of tension you might not even realize is there. This will help boost your productivity on leg day.

These result in less fatigue during your workout and the ability to do more reps. All contributing to increased motivation to crush your goals.

10. Reward yourself AFTER workout

Having a reward ready for yourself after a workout can really help you push through a tough workout.

One of my favorite rewards is a piece of an 85% cocoa bean dark chocolate bar after a workout.
Fun fact: Dark chocolate contains beneficial fat and if you eat it around the same time as a protein shake it will help your body better digest the protein.

11. Inspiring fitness quotes

Exercising with someone could challenge yourself in ways you may have never thought of. Many people that go to the gym together carve out time and create a habit. During a workout having someone encouraging and supporting you through can be motivating.

12. Videos

Working out alongside a video is like having a personal trainer that will not be breathing down your neck. I am constantly finding new videos and exercises to switch things up in my routines.

An example video of one of my favorite ab exercises is right here:

This, in particular, is one of my favorite ones. I contribute a lot of my ab progress lately on this video alone. I find that once you start the video and make that small commitment, you’re naturally inclined to finish off the workout in the video.

Another great resource I use is a YouTube channel called Athlean X. In my opinion, this resource is the best overall workout guidance on the internet by leaps and bounds.

13. Music

While working out to music you enjoy or that can hype you up can help you stay motivated. It can allow you to focus on the task at hand instead of having your mind wander in the middle of a workout.

I have found that in my workouts I work the best when I listen to music about half of the time. For me, taking a break from the music on certain exercises increases my concentration. Whereas on other exercises the music helps boost my energy and blank out to bang out reps.

14. New exercises

Learning and testing out new exercises is a great way to stay motivated. By taking on a new challenge and learning something new it makes you want to complete the workout to see the results.
Recently I have been using resistant bands. Adding them to my routines has added a new layer of difficulty.

15. Positive thinking

Negatives need to go. When you think negative thoughts, you disregard everything positive from an experience. The power of positive thinking is an incredible tool to help push you through workouts and strive for better.

16. Work with a pro

Working with a personal trainer can be very beneficial for some people. By learning from them and following a specific plan you are able to stay focused and motivated during a workout. Trainers will urge you on to train harder and faster. The constant pressure from a trainer can help your mental toughness to help stay motivated during workouts.

17. Getting Positive feedback

Getting feedback is a great way to track progress. Additionally, seeing what you have achieved can help you to stay focused.

Here are some great forms of feedback to boost motivation:
•    Reaching top speed on treadmill
•    Number of calories burnt on a machine
•    Moving up weight
•    Compliments from other people
•    Technology like a FitBit which can collect data on steps, sleep, and other features.
Feedback can also work in the other direction. If you become slower or cannot lift as much, it motivates you to get it back.
Some of my hardest workouts are after I feel that I may have lost progress over a vacation or holiday break.

18. Stay accountable

People who share their fitness goals and know what they want in life are usually more driven during workouts. Many people want to impress and gain satisfaction.

Trying not to appear incapable in the eyes of even a friend you told your goals to can act as h3 motivation for some people.

Methods to stay accountable include:
•    Share goals with friends and family
•    Post goals on social media
•    Write down your goals somewhere you will look every day

19. Multitask

Getting distracted during passive exercises can be beneficial. Exercises like a treadmill or a bike machine.
I am on a bike machine right now writing this post!

As I write this sentence I am burning calories.  I am able to stay motivated during workouts while at the same time be productive.

Some great forms of distractions include:
•    Reading
•    Music
•    Writing
•    App games
•    Anything you enjoy! Get creative

20. Focus on specific muscles

By focusing on specific muscle groups in your workouts you will not be as tired or sore from previous workouts.

I like being able to go all day on chest day knowing that the next day I am doing legs and can rest my arms. This motivates me to get through the workout and perform to my fullest. Every day I switch muscle groups so I can get the most out of every workout.

21. Outdoor workouts

Who doesn’t get sick of the same old gym sometimes? Our natural environment is outdoors. If you find yourself getting sick of the gym change things up and try to do exercises outdoors.
I personally love swimming, jogging, sprinting, swimming, sports, and other activities to get my daily exercise in. It does not all have to be at the gym!

22. Proper rest

I am guilty of not sleeping enough before workouts sometimes and if I am tired enough I burn out fast.
The best time frame for an amount of sleep for an active adult is anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep. I urge you to get enough sleep. Take the tiredness factor out of the equation which I know hinders my progress from time to time.

23. Healthy pre-workout meal

Having healthy food like a salad or a superfood juice about an hour before a workout is a great way to prepare.

One major mistake people make is using pre-workout supplements. Yes, you may get through a workout on the energy alone. However, the long term the side effects to your health may be detrimental with some of the supplements. Many gym goers are dependent on pre-workout supplements. Without the pre-workout, they will have next to no energy.

My natural energy levels are high when I eat quality food. I have never taken a pre-workout and I never will. If I eat processed foods I will feel sluggish and less motivated to get the job done in the gym. Eating healthily beforehand followed by a h3 workout will help you eat clean after the workout as well to keep consistency and help you reach your goals with proper nutrition.

24. Do not make excuses

a 1 hour workout is 4% of your day, no excuses There is always a way to fit in a workout even in the busiest of days. There is no excuse to give in when you can physically still make it through a workout. You can always find a way to stay motivated during workouts.

25. Financial commitment

Nobody wants hard earned money to go to waste. Any commitment to supplements, new foods, a trainer, or even a nice gym will make you more likely to stay motivated throughout workouts.

You are investing in yourself with your precious money and time. You need to put in the work to get the return. If you do not stay motivated during workouts you are taking a double loss.

That’s not all:

Having the right mentality and the knowledge of knowing how to motivate yourself is vital to anyone seeking health goals. Working out is a journey.

In conclusion, I hope this list can help you stay motivated during workouts.  I recommend picking some of the tips that appealed to you and test them out. Everyone utilizes different tactics to stay motivated during workouts and you have to find what works for you.

Good luck on your fitness journey and make sure you always think big.

If you found this article useful or if you know of a friend that needs help to stay motivated during workouts please share!  If you have any questions please comment!

– Ray


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