3 Easy Steps to Get Motivation to Work Out

get motivation to work out

We’ve all been there. It’s about 2 minutes before you have to leave the house in order to make it to your training session and you’re still sitting on the couch debating if you’re going to go or not.

Wearing your sweats, surfing through the channels, contemplating your options.

Go to the gym and do a hard workout. Who knows what you’re trainer has in store.

Or sit at home, relax and catch up on Scandal.

Obviously, you know what you should be doing. But you just don’t want to.

And then you look at the clock – it’s one minute passed the time you were supposed to leave. No way you’ll make it in time. Guess today you’ll just skip…

You’re not alone in this battle. We’ve all struggled to find the motivation to work out. We convince ourselves that we need a break, that skipping a workout isn’t that bad.

But the problem is – the more we skip those training sessions, the more likely we will skip again in the future. And again and again and again.  And before you realize, actually doing a workout is a rare occurrence.  Not a good plan for our health, our waistlines or our fitness goals. 

So here’s the trick.

Here’s the 3 step formula to get yourself the motivation to work out when you really don’t feel like it.


Step 1: Start with something SUPER easy

Put on your workout clothes.  

Or slip on your socks and gym shoes.

That’s all I’m asking.

Just get dressed.

It’s too easy not to say sure, fine whatever.

In order to get moving in the right direction, you have to start somewhere. You might as well make that first step so easy you can’t refuse it.

I didn’t ask you to commit to an hour long strength day or 100 burpees. Just put your shoes on.  Simple.  Anyone can do that.

Just that tiny act of getting prepared for the gym can spark something inside you.

Action fuels momentum – no matter how small the action. So if the hardest part is that first step, do everything you can to simplify it and make it as easy as possible.


Step 2: Get Moving

Awesome – you made it through step 1.  On to the next step: move just a little bit.

It’s hard to just think your way into motivation. Because our minds actually follow our physical movement.  So we have to get our bodies moving, even if it’s minimal. 

Try this:

And yes – you’ll feel like a crazy fool, but it’s going to prove my point.

Get out your phone and set a timer for 2 minutes. Start smiling.

Hold that smile for 2 minutes – no wavering, no taking a break – a straight smile hold for 120 seconds.

At the end of those 2 minutes, tell me how you feel?

Research has shown that holding the action of holding a smile actually increases your positive mood by about 150%.  

And our minds can even be manipulated by something we don’t know we’re doing.

motivation to work outCheck this out: researchers asked some folks to hold a pencil in their teeth and to keep their lips from touching that pencil. Then they held that for a minute or 2.  

This weird pencil trick sorta, kinda mimics a smile, but really isn’t one.  But it still boosted the positive moods 10 fold.

Yep, your body can play tricks on your mind. Thoughts follow physical actions. So use it to your advantage to get yourself to the gym.

After you’ve put your shoes on or your gym clothes – walk around. It doesn’t have to be much and you certainly don’t have to start doing pushups or squats – but a small amount of physical movement can get your blood flowing and give fresh oxygen to your muscles and brain.

Not to mention start releasing some feel good chemicals in the ol’ noggin.

Even small movements are one step in the momentum course for getting yourself out of the house and heading toward the gym.  So keep yourself moving. 


Step 3: Do the Minimum 

Now the last step.

After you’ve started and got moving, the final step should be ‘get your butt to the gym and start working out,’ right?

But it’s not always that simple, I get it. Steps 1 and 2 are your momentum preppers. Step 3 is your ‘minimum’ workout.

If you aren’t motivated to workout, you’re going to make it harder if you set yourself up with an over the top workout plan.

Instead, give yourself the bare minimum workout you’d need to do to feel ‘okay’ with the day. 

Maybe it’s 50 pushups.

Maybe just 25 pull ups.

Pick 3 exercise, 3 sets of 10.  Then done.

Heck, maybe its just to finish the warm up.

Whatever it is – just get through your minimum. 

Chances are  – once you get yourself started, you’ll realize that you might as well go through a longer and more challenging workout than the minimum you had planned.  After all, you’re already dressed, at the gym and sweating.  Might as well keep going.

But even if you stop after you meet that minimum workout – you’ve still done some activity, and that is always better than nothing. 

Now if those 3 steps still don’t get you the motivation to work out you need – try one of these other ideas:

  • Ask yourself “will I regret skipping this workout?”
  • Review and write down your fitness goals
  • Read some inspirational fitness success stories
  • Look over old photos of yourself
  • Call up a friend to get you motivated
  • Try an active sport instead of a ‘workout’
  • Bargain with yourself – give yourself an instant reward for your sweat sesh

And if you have any other tips that work that boost your motivation to work out, share them in the comments below! 

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