If maintaining our workout motivation level was easy, we’d all look as fit as celebrities. Instead, we come home from work after a long day of sitting and unwind with… well, more sitting. We end up stuck on the inevitable hamster wheel of needing to exercise to boost our energy, yet not having enough energy to exercise (or so we tell ourselves). Oy.
If the usual workout motivation methods aren’t cutting it for you, below are 14 unorthodox strategies and mind hacks that will:
1. Instill the Five Minute Rule
When your workout motivation is less than stellar, convince yourself to exercise for just five minutes – no big deal, right? Once you get started, you’ll feel motivated to keep going. (You’ve come this far, so why not?)
2. Terrify Yourself
“Trying to get someone to realize the impact poor health has can be a powerful motivator,” says Mercy Medical Center’s Dr. Marc Leavy, M.D. “It’s all about finding an emotional trigger that helps motivate them into action.” If you need workout motivation, just look up all of the horrible health problems that comes with a sedentary lifestyle – the plank position doesn’t look so bad now, does it?
3. Bring on the Guilt
Let’s face facts: there’s no excuse for not exercising, no matter how low your workout motivation level is. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself what you’re losing by staying on the counch. That’s why I’m always armed and ready with the latest Victoria’s Secret catalogue. Suddenly, poof! I’m magically wearing my yoga tights and ready to practice.
4. Use Your Anger
Take every bad day, every bad date, and every annoying work colleague and create a highlight reel of frustrations for workout motivation. You’d be surprised at how much you’ll accomplish with that initial burst of adrenaline!
5. Do It “For” Someone Else
Exercise for your friends and family – when you accomplish goals for reasons outside of yourself, you’ll find it easier to maintain your workout motivation.
6. Find Inspiring Before and Afters
If you know someone who’s gone through an amazing transformation or have met others online who have stellar workout motivation, consider them your exercise Yodas – channel their energy to make your transformation a reality.
7. Lie to Yourself
There’s clearly an emotional cycle of moans and groans holding you back, so switch things up a bit: Pretend you’re someone who never lacks workout motivation and is always on the ball. Eventually, you will be. “You don’t need motivation to brush your teeth or shower, do you? You just do it!” says personal trainer and author Michelle Bridges. “Use the same mentality for exercise.”
8. Wear Your Exercise Clothes to Bed
If I don’t exercise in the morning, the rest of my day is filled with one dreadful workout attempt after another. Until you fully adjust to your morning workout routine, I highly recommend sleeping in your workout clothes – you’ll be much less likely to hit the snooze button.
9. Bribe Yourself
Are Prada pumps calling your name? Do you want to take a trip with your hubby this year and look fabulous doing it? Vow to put a certain amount of money away every time you exercise – the bigger the prize at the end of the rainbow, the harder you’ll try.
10. Humiliate Yourself
Broadcast a public service announcement that says if you don’t reach your workout goal in X number of days/months, you’ll do something completely humiliating… and post it on YouTube. Then, watch your workout motivation skyrocket.
11. Watch TV
Make yourself a deal: If you want to watch Scandal, you have to watch it while working out. You’ll bust out your exercise gear faster than you can say, “Gladiator.”
12. Bargain with Yourself
If your lack of workout motivation is making you groan like you’ve been poisoned, it’s time to bargain: You don’t feel like going to the gym, but what would you be willing to do? Go for a brisk walk? Learn the new workout your BFF’s been raving about? Make your workouts fun instead of an obligation.
13. Make It Quick
If not having enough time’s your go-to excuse for not exercising, then choose the mother of all workouts: High intensity interval training is a super-efficient, crazy-fast workout you can do in 20 minutes or less. In fact, you’ll be done the workout before you have time to talk yourself out of it!
Face off with your problem areas like it’s high noon, then picture your body toned and healthy. How does it make you feel? Grab onto this feeling every time the workout motivation blues hit you as you say goodbye to your “before picture” self.
What tricks do you use to amp up your workout motivation level?
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