Whether you’re a marathoner, triathlete or a newbie who is looking to get back into shape, everyone is bound to get into an exercise rut. You’ll skip a workout and blame it on vacation, a nagging cold, or a hectic work schedule. Or, maybe you’re stuck in a vicious spiral of negative body image and talked your way out of working out. But that’s no reason to give up on yourself or your health.
No matter where you get stuck, we’ve got the formula to help you get back on course. Maybe that means adopting a more realistic plan, building out an accountability team or getting good at positive visualization. There are countless ways to set yourself up for workout success! Here are some ways you can fuel the fire that keeps you moving toward your goals.
33 Resources for Major Workout Motivation
Get Your Mind on Board
1. Determine Your “Why”
Before you start any new workout routine, ask yourself why you took a hiatus in the first place. Maybe you were recovering from an injury or sickness. Late nights in the office and family or social obligations can also sidetrack you. Here’s where to start.
2. Find Meaning
Aside from having stronger arms and dropping pant sizes, exercise has other amazing benefits. You feel more energized, have better body confidence and have improved your overall health. Ask yourself: Why do I work out?
3. Switch to Positive Mode
When you envision a goal, it becomes your reality, according to science. Identify your obstacles and come up with strategies on how to overcome them. This resource shows you how.
4. Appreciate Your Body
The human body is a pretty awe-inspiring machine. So don’t limit your exercise expectations to just the stuff you can and can’t see (ahem, abs). Here are 19 reasons to think outside the bod.
5. Quit the Negative Self-Talk
Chances are, you’re harder on yourself than anyone else in your life. But it’s time to reframe those negative thoughts. If you slipped up and had a donut for breakfast, don’t think, “I’m a failure.” Acknowledge that while you may have gone off course today, you will do better tomorrow.
6. Avoid Social Media Comparisons
As great as it is to find inspiration and support on Facebook and Instagram, seeing photos and status updates can trigger unhealthy thoughts or comparisons. Here are other sneaky habits that may sabotage your mental health.
Create a Plan
7. Start Small
Jumping into an intense routine can lead to disappointment (or worse, injury) when you can’t keep up. These tips show you step-by-step how to put a smart plan together — that you can actually stick to.
8. Put It to Paper
If you want a fun, productive and inspiring way to organize your goals, consider bullet journaling. A classic “BuJo” includes an overview of your yearly goals, a monthly log, a daily log and an index to organize everything. Here’s how.
9. Stay Accountable
If you want it, share it. Talking to your partner, a friend or family member about your goals will make you more likely to follow through. You’ll also have a friendly ear to share your progress and your struggles. Hugs and high fives, FTW.
10. Land a Swole Mate
Whether you’re a member of a running group, a CrossFit box or a yoga tribe, working out with a friend or a group of like-minded people has the benefit of making exercise infinitely more fun. Here are classic signs you’ve found your ride-or-die fitness bestie.
11. Hit DIY Mode
Surrounding yourself with things that remind you of your successes can give you the boost of inspiration you need. And we’re pretty obsessed with these vision boards, banana messages and homemade tea bag quotes you can make at home.
12. Pull Out the Stick
While some people are motivated through rewards, others thrive on avoiding punishment. Learn which motivates you best, the carrot or the stick, so you can pursue your healthy habits accordingly.
Focus on Small Goals
13. Let Go of Bad Habits
Want to turn your 3 p.m. diet coke addiction into a matcha latte routine? Bad habits can diet hard with the right strategies in place. Follow these expert tips from Keri Glassman, MS, RDN, founder of Nutritious Life.
14. Become a Morning Person
Not to reprimand evening exercisers (squeezing in a workout anytime is awesome!), but being an a.m. fitness buff has its perks. Trust us, you’re going to want to steal these morning routines straight from the pros.
15. Enlist a Task-Master
It can be gratifying to win a bet, especially a healthy one! To help you stay accountable to your goals, make a deal with someone who will help you stick with it. For example, if you lose a certain amount of weight, you’ll get a free facial or massage. Material motivators aren’t a bad thing, especially if they work!
16. Reinforce Healthy Pursuits
Reminding yourself about the rewards and health benefits that come along with keeping up good habits will help you overcome obstacles and triggers. Follow this simple formula for success.
17. Make Your Workouts Mindful
As much as sports and exercise is about physical and technical training, 90 percent of it is actually mental. Visualizations, positive affirmations and mindfulness meditation can help strengthen your training regimen. Permission to get nerdy for a better physique.
18. Never Miss a Monday
Studies have shown that people think about and do healthy activities more on Mondays than any other day of the week. So hop on the bandwagon and make it happen! Here’s why it will be all worth it.
19. Or a Friday
You know how you want to give into every craving because it’s Friday? Well, it turns out a little sweat session can help you curve those rumblings and keep your weekend eating in check.
Give Yourself a Break
20. Practice Self-Care
We all value productivity in our everyday lives, but sometimes, we just need to Netflix and chill — alone. From coloring to taking a hot bath, here are other some ways you can unwind.
21. Take a Rest Day When You Need To
Some muscle soreness is totally normal after an intense workout, but if you’re feeling stiff all the time and are constantly in a bad mood (FYI, exercise is supposed to make you feel good), it might be time to take a rest day or two. Here are the signs you’re due.
22. Take a Mental Health Day, Too
Have you been feeling extremely stressed or overwhelmed? It’s no different than fighting the flu or food poisoning. Here’s why it’s just as important to take a day for yourself if you need to.
23. Pay Attention to Workout Burnout
A workout routine that you can stick with is the best kind. But if it’s taking away from your quality of life (like always choosing to hit the gym versus meeting a friend), then is it really working out for you?
Find Inspiration in Others
24. Get Instant Blogger Inspo
It might be hard to imagine, but despite their very public, high-profile lives, fitness bloggers are just like us. They have bad days when they’ll eat French fries and a burger for dinner (and you guessed it, that’s OK!). Follow their health journey to help you along yours.
25. Learn from Others’ Missteps
It isn’t easy to realize your own weaknesses, and that’s true for these men and women who desperately needed a lifestyle makeover. Reading their “wake-up calls” might just inspire you to make changes in your own routine.
26. Know That Success Can Happen
Whether you’re looking to drop 10 pant sizes or two, these weight loss success stories will inspire you take the first step in your journey to better health. After incorporating Daily Burn workouts and a clean eating routine into their lifestyles, they reached their goals (and then some!).
27. Follow the Fitness Pros
If you need an extra motivational push, head over the Snapchat to get a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the most inspiring fitness fanatics stay on top of their meal prep and training.
28. Take a Wanderlust Detour
These breathtaking runspo pictures from Instagram will not only inspire you to get out the door, but maybe some wanderlust, too!
29. Focus On Non-Scale Victories
Sure, watching the pounds drop on the scale is always rewarding, but there are other ways you can measure success. Whether it’s glowing skin or feeling better in your jeans, these off-the-scale victories show you just how far you’ve come.
Tap Into Your Inner Warrior
30. Think Like a Marathoner
From hilly terrain to extreme cold or rising temps, you’ll come up against a lot of challenges during a marathon. But persevering through 26.2 miles will make you feel stronger and prouder in the end. Here are the best tips from marathoners when you need a little sprint to the finish.
31. Repeat Positive Mantras
These uplifting and empowering messages give you a little tough love when you’re thinking of sleeping in instead of hitting the gym. Save your favorites to your phone for those days when you just feel like giving up.
32. Step Back and Let the Universe Take the Lead
Need a lesson in manifesting? Take it from the mindfulness guru herself, Gabrielle Bernstein. Repeat these positive mantras every day to help you learn and accept what the universe has in store for you.
33. Keep Excuses in Check
We all know that having a swole mate and planning your workouts can help you stay accountable, but what if you schedule is constantly in flux? Here’s how the top trainers, sports psychologists and bloggers stick to their fitness commitments.