Are you glued to the couch after a long day at work with the dark cloud of guilt and failure looming over head because you…
JUST. DON’T. FEEL. LIKE. WORKING OUT?
I feel you. Believe me, I have been there.
Motivation is a tough commodity to come by some days.
Take heart! I have 9 tips, tricks and hacks to help unglue you from your sofa and get moving.
1. Just 5 Minutes
This sneaky hack is meant to psyche yourself out, but in a good way.
Don’t spend time thinking about how long or hard the workout will be.
Say to yourself, “I am going to give it just 5 minutes, and if I am still just not feeling it after 5 minutes, I can quit.”
I have heard someone say “Action creates motivation, not the other way around” and I believe there is truth to it. Once you are up working out, it just flows from there.
It would not make sense to quit once you start, but telling yourself you have permission to do so may just give you the boost you need to get up.
Odds are by the time you have invested 5 minutes and got your body warmed up, you will feel like continuing. Or at least not feel compelled to stop.
Put on some good music too, that helps.
If you still fell like shutting it down after 5 minutes, go ahead. After all, that is the agreement you made with yourself.
If this hack does not work after giving it a go a few times don’t quit or berate yourself. The next time try a new hack instead.
Maybe there is something about your timing, the routine, or environment that needs changing instead.
2. Put on your favorite workout tunes
Do not underestimate the power of a good workout playlist to get you going.
Create a playlist of positive, motivating music that you enjoy and load it into your iPhone, create a list on Spotify, heck, even make a mixed tape or CD if you want to go old school.
However you do it, “git er done” and gather a collection of music to have available for your workout.
According to research, the right music can improve your mood, increase your workout output and make you feel like the work is easier.
Pretty amazing right?
This tip is a no brainer. If you are feeling unmotivated, start by just turning the music on and listening for a bit and see if you don’t feel like getting to it.
3. Do what you love!
Personally, I believe this is the most important tip in this list. Your exercise must be an activity you love.
It’s like going on a diet, which I also hate BTW. If the diet is all fish and broccoli, and you HATE fish and broccoli, how long do you expect to be able to maintain that diet?
Nevermind if fish and broccoli works for others, if you hate it, it will eventually fail.
If you hate running, don’t make a treadmill your only workout option.
If you hate going to the gym or group classes, don’t force yourself to join one, because you have to work twice as hard to muster up the motivation to go do something you hate.
Find something you LOVE!
Hiking. Surfing. Lifting Weights. Swimming. Biking. Parkour. Water Ballet. Whatever.
Could be just about anything, as long as it’s “your thing”.
It is way easier to find the motivation to do things you enjoy.
Just ask me how hard it is to find the motivation to eat a slice of chocolate cake vs. a filet of halibut.
I hate fish and love chocolate so…..
4. Drink you pre-workout
This is another sneaky psychology hack I like to use from time to time.
If I am feeling like I just do not want to get moving, I tell myself, “let’s just drink the pre-workout, we don’t actually have to workout today.”
And then I drink it.
Then I feel silly if I don’t go and workout. After all, I just had my pre-workout, that’s my cue that its time to workout.
I have to workout now. I am committed now, because I drank my pre-workout.
It’s like showering and getting dressed for work and then crawling back into bed. Who does that? No one, right? Once they are out of bed and showered, they are up, and that’s that.
Just mix up that pre-workout and throw on a pair of great gym shoes, and there is no turning back. It just won’t feel right to plop back down on the couch. Besides, if you drink one of those energy type pre-workouts, you will probably be too buzzed to sit still anyways.
5. Reward Yourself
Give yourself a small treat for completing your workout, like watching an episode or your favorite mini-series, or treating yourself to a smoothie or some other healthy treat you really like.
Only allow yourself this favorite small treat if you get your workout in.
Another tactic if you use stationary equipment such as a recumbent bike, treadmill or stair climber to workout, is to set aside that time for indulging in your favorite show or book.
If you really want to watch the next episode of “Better Call Saul” or dig into a good Tom Clancy novel, then only allow yourself to do so while you are on the machine.
This tactic also benefits you by turning the “unproductive” time spent watching TV into something good for your health and fitness.
6. Publicize your Fitness and Nutrition
One tip I found on The Wolves Fitness Website is to join an online community and make your routine view-able to others.
MyFitnessPal allows you to log food and daily workouts and share those logs with friends or the public in general.
If you have a FitBit the app allows you to publish workouts too. This is an option for many other fitness trackers too.
This 2016 study says that the social sharing aspect gives users both support and a little friendly competition and can be very motivating.
Join an online community or forum where folks talk about goals and motivation. Find some support. If you work out alone, you can still benefit from having a community, at least online.
7. Watch a motivational Video
I use this hack myself, not just for fitness motivation, but to get myself out of a funk, or find the spark I need to get something done.
Search YouTube, or your favorite video site, for a short motivational video. I usually try to find a video that is 10 minutes or less because longer videos eat into your workout time and just become another excuse not to work out.
It is also a good idea to subscribe to a few channels that you find motivating, so you can get to them easily when you need a quick pick me up.
One of my favorite YouTube channels I go to for fitness motivation is Obese to Beast, because it shows how anyone can meet their fitness goals, regardless of where they start.
You should find what connects with you personally and subscribe so the videos are always just a phone tap or mouse click away.
8. Just 3 to 8 Weeks
Just give up on the idea of motivation!
Yeah. I said it!
Motivation is temporary and you have to muster it up every time you want to workout.
What you need is a habit. You need to make working out a habit.
The good news?
It only takes just 3 to 8 weeks to form a habit if you workout consistently. Once exercise is a habit, your need for motivation plummets.
According to this paper from the year 2000, making exercise a habit means it become an automatic routine, and the need for motivation is eliminated.
Habitual exercisers set their goal at some point in the past, worked to make it a habit, and now fly on autopilot.
And all it takes it 3 to 8 weeks of pushing through and intentionally creating the habit.
Just tell yourself, “all I need to do is stick this out for another 3 to 8 weeks, and it will get so much easier.”
9. Workout Habit loop
Speaking of habits, another workout hack is to create a habit loop.
What is a habit loop?
A habit loop is a path set up in your brain that starts with a cue, which leads to a routine and ends in a reward.
The Cue is what let’s your body know it’s time to workout.
Remember the tip above that said drink your pre-workout? The pre-workout shake or drink could be a cue for you to workout.
Cues can be involved in negative habits too. Think of the music played by the ice cream truck, motivating you to go get a cone.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, who salivate at the sound of a bell. You need an activity that cues you that it is time to exercise.
Workout Cues Might be:
- Drinking your pre-workout
- Setting out your workout clothes so they are ready when you wake up or get home to workout
- Setting a calendar reminder or alarm to remind you to workout
Basically, this is the routine set in motion once you experience the cue. In this case, it’s easy. The routine is your exercise plan.
If exercise is not a sufficiently motivating reward in and of itself for you, consider rewarding yourself, like I suggested in tip 5.
Bribe yourself if necessary.
A reward could be:
- Indulging in a new pair of gym shoes.
- Taking the weekend off to go to the movies (after a good week)
- Treat yourself to a weekend getaway (after a good month)
Whatever reward you choose, make sure it is one that rewards you back. In other words, make it a healthy or at least harmless reward. Don’t reward yourself by taking a week off from your exercise routine or treat yourself to an entire pizza.
I hope you found some motivation and tips here you can use. It was a pleasure to share them with you.
Until next time!
Michael is just regular guy who has found his true passion in fitness and travelling the world. He’s always up for challenging himself while travelling and is doing the same in the world of CrossFit. You can find Michael on his personal blog at: garagegympower.com