How to stay motivated to exercise when it gets hard

It doesn’t matter how long we exercise, sooner or later we’ll have one of those days when we think we can’t take it anymore. Sometimes our everyday life problems will overwhelm us, sometimes we’ll be going through an emotional rollercoaster and sometimes we just won’t be able to hang in there. In these moments all we can think about is a box of ice-cream and our favorite TV Shows on Netflix. Sounds familiar?

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

Just imagine it – you are drowsing on the couch next to your husband or wife, spilling chocolate flavor ice-cream all over your white T-shirt and you are laughing out loud while binge watching that comedy you love so much, but never had the time to see it. In other words, you are having the time of your life while you are completely and utterly relaxed! Every bone and muscle in your body is grateful you decided to skip the gym today. Or at least, that’s what you think.

In this crazy world we live in, we all need days or at least, nights like this. But you can’t sacrifice your workout, even for this little moments of relaxation, because if you are not careful, it can become a slippery slope. And your body will suffer the consequences.

In moments like this, you need to just do it. It’s OK if you slow down, or if you take it down a notch. At the end of your workout you’ll feel better and you’ll be proud of yourself because you didn’t give up. The main question here is how to stay motivated to exercise regularly? Find out the answer in these simple tips from Lifestyle Updated.

How to stay motivated to exercise

If staying motivated to workout was easy, we’d all have rock-hard abs! Unfortunately, sometimes our inner couch potato is stronger, so we have to fight with ourselves to get back on our feet. But don’t worry, because winning this war is much easier than you thought. This simple tricks could be the extra nudge you need!

1. Set realistic goals

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

The first step is probably the least complicated one. All you need to do is set realistic goals with clear milestones. For example, my latest goal was to get in shape for my wedding day. I have always been way too skinny, but I wanted a naked back dress – so, I needed some weight training. I went to the gym 8 months prior to the wedding and focused on working the muscles in my back. I had a realistic goal (toned back) with a clear milestone (8 months).

Your goal can be absolutely anything, from simply getting into shape to running a marathon. And the closer you get to the end, the more motivated you’ll be to reach it. This can have positive effect on every aspect of your life, not just for your workout.

2. Schedule a regular workout time

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

First choose the days you are going to exercise and then decide the exact time. Try to choose the days when you’ll have less distractions. The same goes for time. For example, my workout schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday (so I can have the weekends off) at exactly 5 p.m. (right after work).

This will help you develop a routine and after just a few weeks your body will adapt to it. In case your mind is trying to convince you to skip the gym, then your body itself will start craving it. And trust me – you can’t go against your body!

So when you ask yourself how to stay motivated to work out, it really comes down to developing a routine.

And if you need a little help with this, a structured workout will do wonders – especially if you can start sweating from the comfort of your own home. If you want to try a bodyweight program, you should definitely check Beachbody on demand! With a daily schedule, and trainers to motivate you, it is really easy to continue working out day after day, and week after week.

3. Create a reward system

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

For some people the thoughts like “better health” or “weight control” can do the trick. But, if you are more like me, than you’ll probably need something stronger! For example, I always make myself a coffee and cocoa smoothie (I simply can’t live without coffee) after my workout session. Be creative when designing your reward system, but keep in mind that you’ll have to think along the lines of the “healthy box”. That means no junk food!

This rewards are very powerful because you’ll convince your brain that the exercise is a worthwhile. You’ll even start to look forward to each session, making your entire workout much more effective because you’ll try harder.

Conditioning yourself regularly, you’ll create different neural pathways, and the whole thing becomes much easier.

Many of my friends swear by this little trick, and it gets them going even when they are on the edge of giving up. Want to know how to stay motivated to exercise in winter or whenever the going gets rough – build a solid reward system, set it in place, and you’ll see improvements right away.

4. Write down how you feel after every workout

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

This can be an excellent way to remind yourself that exercising is making you feel better, healthier and stronger. I used to do this every time I started a new type of workout, and it helped me stay motivated long enough to reach my exercise goal.

For some people it is really hard to develop awareness, but all you need to do is to start writing.

And when there are days when you feel like it’s not worth it, just read what you wrote and you’ll feel a motivational build-up. Literally that simple!

5. Find a workout buddy

How To Stay Motivated To Exercise

Your workout buddy will make sure that you are not skipping your training. And you’ll do the same, returning the favor. The best part? Talking while exercising can make time fly, especially in the gym. For example, I never managed to stay motivated to exercise for a longer period of time until I started working out with my husband (at the time, he was my boyfriend). On one hand, he made sure I didn’t skip sets and repetitions, regardless of how lazy I was. On the other hand, we started spending a lot more time together and that helped us become closer than ever.

Your workout buddy can be anyone in your life, but it’s preferable that he is someone with experience and some kind of an exercise routine. This will make the entire process of creating a workout habit much easier.

So, how to stay motivated to workout? If you manage to implement all these tips into your workout schedule, even when it gets way too hard, you’ll find the much needed motivation to bite the bullet and continue. Because there is nothing you won’t do for your body.

Motivational quotes for exercise

And of course, I can’t end this article without a few motivational quotes for athletes! You can even write them down and put them above your desk or on the fridge so you can read them every day…

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

“Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Ghandi

“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.” – Frank Ocean

“Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.” – Unknown author

“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” – Marvin Phillips

“Fitness is like a relationship. You can’t cheat and expect it to work.” – Unknown author

We have a whole bunch of these at Lifestyle Updated, so make sure to check our collection of motivational quotes for athletes.

If you want to know how to stay motivated to exercise, first realise that it is a question with million answers. Making a system takes time and effort, but once in place it empowers you to stay on track. We are also working on a couple of articles trying to answer the question on how to get motivated to exercise in the first place, so hang in there if you are yet to start with your program.

How did you manage to stay motivated so far? Share your tips and tricks with our readers in the comment section below.

What's your opinion?

  • (will not be published)

Please note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Certain content that appears on this site comes from AMAZON SERVICES LLC. This content is provided ‘AS IS’ and is subject to change or removal at any time.