We all need a little motivation for our workouts sometimes. Pushing through a workout isn’t always easy. I’ve had tons of days in the gym when I just haven’t felt totally connected to what I was doing. I didn’t feel like putting in my best effort, I didn’t feel strong or I didn’t feel motivated. If I gave in to those feelings every time, I’d rarely get in a good workout and I certainly wouldn’t be able to build much strength, endurance or mental toughness. When I’m not feeling like putting in the hard work, I have a few steps I work through to get my mind in the right place and bust out a killer workout.
If my issue is that I don’t want to go to the gym in general, I don’t even listen to that voice in my head. It’s not an option (unless I’m injured or it’s a rest day). I will, however, tell myself just to go and get started. If I need to change plans once I get there and do something other than what I’ve planned, that’s OK. But rule number 1 for me is just get there. There will always be reasons not to go, but what will make the difference in whether or not I reach my goals is my ability to follow through. I follow through. I get to the gym.
Sometimes, though, even when I’m there I just don’t really feel it. Maybe I’m tired or feeling frustrated and the last thing I want to do is push through a hard workout. Here are some tricks that have worked for me.
- Pick a motivating scenario and play it through in your head. Do you have a class reunion coming up or maybe a friend’s wedding? Imagine exactly what you’ll wear and how flawless you’ll look in it. Imagine how people will react when they see what a transformation you’ve made. Think about how proud you’ll be and how excited you’ll feel. Think about every single detail and truly dive into the moment. Oftentimes this is the strategy I’ll use when I’m doing bike or rowing sprints and I want to quit. Not only does it really motivate me but it also helps distract me and the time flies by more quickly.
- Play a song that really speaks to you. When Katy Perry’s “Roar” first came out, I think I kept it on repeat during my workouts (not really, but almost!). It can’t just be a song that you like or that energizes you. It has to be a song that really tugs at that person you want to be or that goal you know you can reach. Lose yourself in that song for a moment. This is usually enough to trigger me to remember that the ONLY way to my goals is through pushing myself. If I’m comfortable all the time, I won’t be stretched enough to get where I need to go.
- Imagine what is happening inside your body as you push yourself. I do this all the time. Maybe it’s my inner dork, but it really works for me. For example, I hate burpees. They’re hard. They make me sweat and they make me breathless. But damn do they work. Usually when I do them, I want to quit within a minute. Instead, I imagine what’s happening in my body as I work so hard. I imagine fat being released from cells. I imagine it being carried through my body (thanks to the increased blood flow from those damn burpees) and entering another cell to be burned. I imagine my legs or my belly getting leaner as I push myself to the max.
I don’t know what will work for you but I do know this: giving up won’t work. Never pushing past your comfort zone is not what it will take to get you to your goals. It’s not supposed to be comfortable. Embrace the discomfort because it’s what is required to transform you into what you’re trying to become.