top of page

6 Ways to Motivate Yourself When You Don’t Feel Like Working Out

I saw her enter the gym, her bag on her shoulders, and walking with no sense of urgency. Looking at my watch, I realized that my client who we’ll call “Julie”, was five minutes late, and she was never tardy for our sessions. When I approached and asked her what was wrong, she told me that she contemplated skipping the workout, and that she just “wasn’t in the mood”. Honestly, as she was confiding in me, she seemed to be still deciding whether to stay and workout, or just go home. I asked her a few simple questions, and was able to determine that it wasn’t fatigue from overtraining, or pain from an injury that was the issue. The fact is Julie was experiencing something that most of us who exercise regularly experience. She simply was not mentally in the mood to workout. Since at least 50% of working out is mental, and the mind and body work together, this will present a dilemma. I’ve found that this can happen from time to time, and I approach this debacle with my clients the way I deal with it when it happens to me. I know that if I can make it to the gym, than that is half the battle! Julie had made it to the gym, it would have been a waste for her not to do something, but I knew I had my work cut out for me. I was determined to make sure her efforts would not be wasted. I find myself having to do this more and more with clients, and it prompted me to prescribe these 6 simple tips for motivating yourself when you don’t feel like working out!

1. Develop a regular plan and commit to it: Have a planned routine, or program designed by a personal trainer, or even yourself for everyday that you intend to workout. Know what your split will be (which body parts you will work each day). Many people approach their workout by simply saying, “I’m going to the gym to workout”. Once there, they begin to look at machines, weights, etc., and then think about the exercises they want to do. While getting to the gym is half the battle, you must go in with a plan, especially if you have very specific goals (i.e. weight loss, toning, etc.) This will keep you on track, and take the guesswork out of it. A large part of working out is mental, and having to think about what your workout will be, will seem like a chore, especially if you’re already feeling a little “blah” about getting it done.

2. Find an accountability partner: Many of us, if left to our own devices will slack off every now and then when it comes to working towards any goal, fitness or otherwise. Having someone like a workout partner or personal trainer can add another level of accountability, because now we have someone else to answer to when we think about slacking off. As a personal trainer, I do accountability calls with all of my clients, whether they do in-person or on-line training. An online coach is great for holding one accountable with regard to their fitness goals. I also do couples training, because I find that it not only strengthens relationships, but it increases potential for success in reaching their fitness goals.

[50Grand Health and Fitness offers On-line fitness training/coaching.]

3. Visualize how it feels when a workout is completed: Remember that feeling you had after your last workout? Working out increases dopamine and other hormones that give us a feeling of euphoria. It also gives you a major feeling of accomplishment. Recall those feelings, visualize yourself completing your exercise routine, and experiencing it again. I personally don’t always like working out, but I love having worked out!

4. Play your best "pump-up" music: Create your best workout playlist, and pump up the volume! It will not only power you through your workout in the gym, but playing it in your car or your mp3 player on the way to the gym, will get you psyched up for the challenge ahead.

5. Make sure you nourish your body properly: Eating several small meals throughout the day, and drinking plenty of water will help to keep your energy levels up and your body sufficiently hydrated. A good mini meal is comprised of a protein, a carb and a good fat. It is especially important to have the proper meal or supplement within 45 mins. to an hour prior to your workout. I expand on the topic of pre and post workout nutrition in my S.M.A.RT. Goals Guide and Fitness Planner.

[50Grand Health and Fitness offers the "S.M.A.R.T. Goals Fitness Planner & Action Guide" free for download at]

And finally…

6. Make the decision to push yourself: It is true for myself, as well as many of my clients; you will likely have your best workouts on the days you didn’t feel like working out at all. As I’ve said, getting to the gym (or wherever you exercise) is half the battle. On those days you feel tired, mentally exhausted, or just unmotivated, push yourself to get there. Then tell yourself that if after 20 minutes or so you still feel the same way, you can leave. I’ve used this logic, and I recommend this to my clients as well. Most people end up completing their entire workout, and feel glad that they didn’t give in to their “inner slacker”. The only time that I would not recommend pushing yourself is if your fatigue is due to overtraining or illness, otherwise, there’s nothing to it, but to do it!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • YouTube Social  Icon
bottom of page