5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for Exercise

Five ways, that I’ve learned through experience, to maintain motivation for exercise. Nobody is perfect, but these are tips that I’ve found to work for me.

5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for Exercise

Imagine a world where everything we wanted was magically granted to us, with zero effort on our part. Of course, I’m sure we would all be initially ecstatic at the gesture. We wished for something and were granted exactly what we’d hoped for.

But no effort was exhausted to get there. We did nothing but accept something handed to us on a silver platter. Oh, what a world that would be.

If you ask me, this world doesn’t sound appealing at all. Because to me, most of the allure in something I want lives in that feeling of accomplishment. The opportunity to say “I did it.” is unlike any other.

“You want a rare diamond? Here. I just gave one to everyone around you, too”.

Would we even find worth in anything if it was just handed to us all?

Well, as we know, the aforementioned world is non-existent. We have to actually exert energy to get to what we want in this world. Which brings me to my main point: it ain’t easy to maintain motivation momentum on a regular basis for something we are working toward.

This applies to anything. Whether you’re trying to get a promotion at work, saving money for a car, building a business… it’s not easy. But it’s worth it.

And something that is especially hard to stay motivated for? Fitness. It’s like a double whammy: you have to have drive AND physical energy to exert yourself. Additionally, fitness has no peak. It’s a lifestyle; something that we need to maintain motivation for, for a lifetime.

And as someone who works in the fitness industry, the most prominent excuse I hear from the community on why they are not exercising is this: “I don’t have time”. And when I hear this, what I am really hearing is “it’s not a priority for me”. And before you yell at me, hear me out. I totally get it – I have been there. I have been at that point of exhaustion from work and life and obligations that I had zero desire to go sweat. While, yes, it does feel like you don’t have time, if you viewed it as something you absolutely needed to do to survive (which, it kinda is, if ya think about it), you would make time for it.

So, if you’re riding the motivation struggle bus, look no further – here are some tips, derived from my own experience, for how to stay motivated for fitness:


Nothing gets me motivated to exercise like someone counting on me. Having a workout buddy is a great way to hold you accountable. Plus, group fitness has become the new happy hour. It’s something to look forward to. It allows you to switch up your workouts, as opposed to the same gym routine you’re probably doing at your Planet Fitness. The boutique fitness industry has established itself as a strong subset of the fitness industry and I highly recommend jumping on the bandwagon. Determining a fitness routine that contains some group fitness classes will help keep you accountable because, after forming relationships with studio owners, instructors, and class-goers alike, you will be emerged into a whole other community that cheers you on. How can you say no to that?

5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for Exercise


Something I like to do when I’m feeling discouraged from exercising is turn up some jams and dance around my room. Yeah… seriously. It works. If you’re in a “meh” mood, pick a playlist and get moving. Your mood will instantly change and you’ll be ready to take on your workout. Here are a couple of my favorite playlists that hype me up:



It’s 2016 – we’re all looking at some sort of mobile device most of the time. I’ve found that it helps me to surround myself with reminders for motivation. What I mean is, think about what you are looking at most of the time. Your phone? Your iPad? Your computer? Set a background on your devices that reminds you of what your goals are. Something that reminds you to work hard, to hustle. I even add little motivational quotes to my alarm clocks in my phone.

5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for Exercise


The ‘after’ is what keeps me going. No, not the ‘after’ as in ‘before and after’. I’m talking about the feeling of after. Knowing that you just kicked ass in that spin class and the sun isn’t even up. Feeling that sweat drip down your face because you gave it your all. Feeling energized and empowered and confident to take on your day. That’s the ‘after’. And it’s what drives me.

5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for Exercise


Understanding that nobody is perfect, and sometimes life does get in the way, is a way to take pressure off of yourself. Pressure can make us less likely to do something, and if we understand that whether we exercise once in a week, or five times in a week, each of them are better than zero. And heck, sometimes we can’t exercise in a week at all. As long as you get back to it, you’re a champion. Like I said, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a marathon, it’s a journey. It’s progress, not perfection. 


Join the conversation:
How do you stay motivated to workout?


5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for Exercise

Photos by Bryan Angelo. View him on Instagram here.


  1. says

    You look freaking incredible in these photos. Hearing people say “I don’t have time” is a pet peeve, but then again I do understand. Waking up first thing and recruiting a buddy (oh hey!) are two things that help me keep at it.

    • says

      Thank you!!! Right, it annoys me if its a recurring excuse but sometimes I feel like I don’t have time, either. If I didn’t exercise in the morning, I most of the time won’t get it done because I’m too tired by like 4pm lol

  2. says

    Great tips – group fitness and scheduling my workouts (as I would an appointment or meeting) are key for me!
    I think the “I have no time” thing gets more complicated when you are married and have a child. I agree you have to make it a priority, but right now I work out less frequently than I’d like to because I feel bad leaving my husband to watch our son, since he rarely gets “me time” and has a more stressful job than I do. But… I could solve this problem by working out at home more often.

    • says

      Oh gosh yeah!! I definitely see what you’re saying and I think I would feel the same way. Home workouts are always the solution, but to be honest with you I am so bad at working out at home. I think the hardest part is just getting myself to do that. Once I am doing the workout usually I’m fine, but most of the time I need to either go run or get out of the house and go to a gym to be able to focus! I did the first month of Insanity in my living room everyday and that was a challenge!

  3. says

    Setting alarms is HUGE for me, especially changing the word alarm to something motivated that gets me out of bed. I set my alarm every morning to work out and make sure to get out of bed right when it goes off or I quickly go back to sleep. I also think group fitness is a great way to maintain motivation… whenever I am struggling with motivation to workout I like to go to a favorite group fitness class or try a new one to get back motivated!

    • says

      Ok we are the same person. Literally my alarm goes off and my feet are on the floor so fast bc I know if I don’t get up RIGHT away, I will knock back out. It used to be hard but once I got into the habit, I’m great at getting up in the morning.

  4. says

    These are great tips! I love the idea of changing your phone background. I change mine during all my races to say “Stronger with every mile” so that every time I look down at my phone, I get a boost of motivation. I am also motivated by short, effective workouts — I think that’s why I love the BBG program so much because it’s only 30 minutes and I can feel the effects the next day or two.

    • says

      That’s exactly what I do! I change it when I’m training for something to keep my mindset in check. Oh gosh, I tried BBG once a couple years ago… that stuff is TOUGH!! I remember just gasping for air in the first like 2 minutes haha. I’ll have to revisit it!

  5. says

    What gets me motivated is the knowledge that I have never regretted a run. No matter how tired or headache-y or sore or sad I am beforehand, no matter if it’s raining or snowing, I have always looked back once I’m inside again and been happy I got out there. That feeling is what keeps me going.

  6. says

    This is awesome! I’m just starting a new workout program so these tips witll definitley come in handy! I love music too, other than that I really need a program to keep my on track for the first couple of months, like help from a PT or a workout buddy who knows what they’re doing! otherwise I won’t stay on track!

  7. says

    10000% agree with group fitness classes. I go to a group yoga sculpt class with probably 60 people in it 3 times a week. I’ve made great friends and the instructor is so amazing he calls you out if you skip classes. Great post!

    • says

      Seriously group fitness kicks my ass when I need it to/when I don’t want to work out. If I am meeting someone at a class, most of the time I wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for the group aspect/having someone counting on me.

  8. says

    I felt like I was reading something pulled straight outta my brain! I couldn’t agree more. I definitely use music as motivation – I work in an office all day and don’t have the opportunity to listen to music, which I love, so I really look forward to plugging in at the gym. I am also motivated by the idea that gym time = my time, and I get to pop some headphones in, play really loud music, and blow off some steam. I look forward to it each day. I also use the reminders and have started using fun emoticons to get myself up and motivated. Finally, I use the iCalendar to plan out my workweek and incorporate activity each day based on my work/Court schedule.

    • says

      Oh man I would totally jam out if I couldn’t listen to music all day!! That’s so great that you look forward to it and view it as your “me” time because really, that’s what it is!! Love your tips! <3

  9. says

    Ummmm that last photos?!! BADASS. I’d say all of these tips are true, but especially the “think about the after” one. That’s the one that gets me out of bed the morning on days when I want to squeeze in an early morning workout. That “I did it and I feel awesome” kind of feeling. Though there are many days when I “don’t have time”. ….lies.

  10. says

    This is such a great post, Christina, and you’re so right! Having to work hard for something makes it so much better.

    I like Kellen’s idea (in the comments) about changing your phone background for ongoing motivation during a race! I’ll try that out with my next upcoming one :)

    I keep my phone background as a picture of me at my highest weight. Like you said, we’re on our phones all day long anyways! It’s a great reminder to myself of where I came from and where I don’t want to be again!

  11. says

    Hello Christina, I am a very lazy person to workout. But fitness is also an important issue. Thanks for sharing the tips. I must try these out.

  12. says

    i don’t usually write posts or comments on articles but your blog was so convincing and is written with such diligence i had to praise. great work !


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