We’ve all been there; the alarm rings for an early morning workout, but we hit snooze and promise ourselves we’ll do it later. Or, we have every intention of going to the gym after work, but when the time comes, we’re just too drained.
Contrary to popular belief, lacking motivation to exercise doesn’t mean you’re lazy or lack discipline. There’s actually a scientific reason behind it: our brains are inherently designed to conserve energy, often choosing rest overexertion (4). Understanding this can help us devise our own biohacks.
We’ve compiled nine personal trainer-inspired hacks to reignite your workout motivation, challenge your brain’s default setting, and get you excited about fitness again. Let’s get into it.
Why Can’t I Stay Motivated to Workout?
It’s not as straightforward as simply having the willpower to do or not do. According to research our brains are naturally wired to conserve energy, often opting for rest overexertion (4). This biological predisposition, coupled with psychological, physiological, and environmental factors can determine how motivated you are to exercise daily.
If you can’t bring yourself to stick to a routine, it may be because:
You’re Overwhelmed by Your Fitness Goals
Often, we set grand fitness goals for ourselves that require a significant change in our physical activity level. This drastic change can be overwhelming and intimidating, leading to a lack of motivation.
It’s important to set small, achievable goals initially and gradually increase the intensity or duration of your workouts. This makes the process feel less daunting and increases the likelihood of maintaining your motivation to exercise after work or in the morning.
Lack of workout motivation is a common issue that can be rooted in our brain’s predilection for energy conservation.
When given a choice between exertion and rest, our brains often choose the latter, a leftover mechanism from our evolutionary past. This can make maintaining a regular exercise routine challenging. However, understanding the root of this problem can help us find solutions.
You Don’t See Immediate Results
One of the reasons you might struggle with motivation to exercise in the morning or after work is that the results of physical activity are not always immediately visible.
Fitness improvements happen gradually and can be hard to measure on a day-to-day basis. This lack of instant gratification can make it feel like your hard work isn’t paying off.
Keep in mind that working out has numerous unseen benefits like improved heart health, enhanced mood, and better sleep quality. Also, the journey to fitness isn’t a race but rather a lifelong commitment to your health.
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Your Routine is Monotonous
Repeating the same exercises over and over can lead to boredom, which is a motivation-killer. Adding variety to your workouts by trying new motivational techniques for physical activity can keep things fresh and exciting.
For example, you might alternate between yoga, cardio, and strength training, or try a new sport like rock climbing or paddleboarding.
You’re Overwhelmed by Long Workouts
The thought of a long workout can be daunting, especially if you’re trying to find motivation to exercise when tired. But remember, even short workouts can be effective.
Breaking up your workout into smaller, manageable sessions might make the task seem less overwhelming, and you might find it easier to motivate yourself for a 15-minute workout rather than an hour-long session.
You’re Not Getting Enough Rest
It’s challenging to maintain motivation to exercise when tired. Quality sleep and adequate rest are as important to your fitness regimen as the workouts themselves (8). If you’re pushing yourself too hard without giving your body time to recover, you might feel constantly tired and lack motivation.
Low-intensity workouts such as yoga or walking can often be performed even when you’re feeling a little tired and can boost your energy levels.
You’re Not Setting Realistic Goals
Setting unrealistic or vague fitness goals can lead to disappointment and loss of motivation. Instead, set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). This approach can help you track your progress and celebrate your achievements, which in turn can fuel your motivation.
How Can I Motivate Myself To Workout?
Motivation is a psychological state that drives us to accomplish our goals. It’s not a fixed trait, rather, it’s a “muscle” that can be developed and strengthened over time.
To develop this “muscle”, you must understand that motivation is primarily driven by the reward system of our brain. When we achieve a goal, our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction (7). This dopamine “rush” can propel us to repeat the activity that led to its release, thus creating a cycle of reward and repetition.
How does this apply to working out? Well, the reward of exercising is not immediate. Unlike other activities that give us an instant dopamine fix (such as eating our favorite food or scrolling through social media), the benefits of working out take time to manifest. This delay in gratification can make it difficult for most people to stay motivated and consistent with their workout routine.
That said, how can we motivate ourselves to work out when the reward isn’t immediate? Here are some tips:
You Need to Set Clear Goals
Understanding workout motivation for ladies is the initial step, but to truly get yourself moving, it’s important to set clear, achievable goals. These goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). Defining and writing your goals down gives you a clear direction and makes your workout plans more tangible. For instance, instead of vaguely aiming to “get in shape”, commit to something more specific like “I want to lose 10 pounds in 3 months.”
You Must Create a Workout Routine You Enjoy
To sustain motivation, it helps to create a workout routine that you genuinely enjoy. If you dread your workout session, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick with it. Explore different forms of exercise like dancing, swimming, hiking, or yoga until you find what you love. The more enjoyable the activity, the more you’ll look forward to doing it.
You Should Reward Yourself
Remember how motivation is linked to the reward system in our brain? In addition to the natural dopamine release, you can further boost this by rewarding yourself after your workouts (5). It could be something as simple as a healthy post-workout smoothie, a relaxing bath, or an episode of your favorite TV show.
Use a Buddy System
Working out with a friend can significantly boost your motivation. The buddy system has two primary benefits: accountability and social enjoyment. When you make a gym date with a friend, you’re less likely to skip it (1). Plus, that social aspect can make the workout seem more enjoyable.
Visualize Your Success
Visualization is a powerful tool for motivation. Spend a few minutes each day visualizing yourself achieving your workout goals. This mental imagery will help reinforce your commitment to your workout routine and can help give you a motivational boost.
Track Your Progress
Finally, keep track of your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come can be a powerful motivator. Use a fitness app, a workout journal, or even photographs to record your journey. Tangible evidence of your hard work is a great way to keep you inspired and motivated to continue.
How Do I Get Mentally Motivated To Exercise?
Mental motivation to exercise is grounded in the alignment of your workout regimen with your personal values, interests, and goals. Building a compelling “why” behind your fitness journey is essential.
For instance, your motivation could stem from the desire to lead a healthier lifestyle, to improve mental well-being, or perhaps to set a positive example for your children. Once you’ve identified your “why”, keep it at the forefront of your mind, especially during moments when motivation is low.
Don’t underestimate the power of positive self-talk. The way we speak to ourselves can dramatically influence our mood and actions. Replace negative thoughts like “I can’t do this” with positive affirmations such as “I am capable and strong.”
It’s equally important to manage expectations and to acknowledge that progress may be slow and nonlinear. Remember, fitness is a lifelong journey, not a destination. Even small improvements are steps in the right direction, so celebrate them!
Lastly, consider seeking professional guidance if you’re struggling with motivation. A certified personal trainer or a coach can provide the structure, accountability, and expertise to help you stay committed to your fitness journey.
What Is a Good Fitness Quote?
Quotes can help you refocus your mind and persevere even when the going gets tough:
They can be the best workout motivation for females, or indeed anyone, just when they need that extra push to get off the couch and into the gym – even if that gym is in the comfort of their own home.
Here are some potent fitness quotes to inspire your next workout:
- “The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.”
- “Fitness is not about being better than someone else… It’s about being better than you used to be.”
- “Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.”
- “You are stronger than you think.”
- “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.”
- “The body achieves what the mind believes.”
- “Don’t wish for a good body, work for it.”
- “Sore today, strong tomorrow.”
- “Train like a beast, look like a beauty.”
- “Sweat is magic. Cover yourself in it daily to grant your wishes.”
- “Strong is the new pretty.”
- “The only limit to reach the top is the sky.”
- “Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.”
- “A one-hour workout is 4% of your day. No excuses.”
- “Exercise is like telling your body ‘you’re gonna hate me for this, but you’ll thank me later.'”
- “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.”
- “Wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction.”
- “Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle.”
- “Fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life.”
- “Every workout is progress.”
- “Results happen over time, not overnight. Work hard, stay consistent, and be patient.”
These gym girl quotes and strong woman fitness quotes reinforce that a workout isn’t just an activity but an embodiment of a woman’s strength and determination.
Whether it’s workout motivation for females at home or gym motivation for women, these empowering quotes can fuel the fire within, making every sweat-drenched session a step towards becoming the best version of oneself.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Workout as a Woman?
As a woman, your workout should be balanced and holistic, including both cardio and strength training exercises. Cardio exercises like running, cycling, or swimming are great for improving cardiovascular health and burning calories (2).
On the other hand, strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, pilates, or resistance band exercises, can help build muscle, boost metabolism, and strengthen bones (6). It’s also beneficial to incorporate flexibility and balance exercises, such as yoga or Tai Chi, into your routine.
How Often Should a Female Workout?
The frequency of workouts for a woman largely depends on her fitness goals, current health status, and availability of time. However, as a general guideline, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, ideally spread throughout the week (3).
You should also incorporate strength training exercises into your routine at least two days per week.
How Long Should a Woman Workout Daily?
The duration of a woman’s daily workout can vary based on her fitness level and goals. However, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every day. For strength training, a session might last anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the number of muscles being worked.
Workout consistency is better than duration. Even short bouts of physical activity can add up over the course of a day and contribute to overall health and fitness.
The Bottom Line
Getting workout motivation for females may seem challenging at times, but by finding your personal “why”, you can stay motivated and committed to your fitness journey. Finding that ‘why’ often involves practicing positive self-talk, managing expectations, and seeking professional guidance as needed. Remember that every workout is progress towards a healthier and stronger version of yourself.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 3 Reasons to Work Out With a Friend (2022, cdc gov)
- Aerobic exercise: Top 10 reasons to get physical (2018, mayoclinic.org) c
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids (2018, heart.org)
- Avoiding sedentary behaviors requires more cortical resources than avoiding physical activity: An EEG study (2018, sciencedirect.com)
- Dopamine in motivational control: rewarding, aversive, and alerting (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Strength training builds more than muscles (2021, health.havard.edu)
- The role of dopamine in reward and pleasure behaviour–review of data from preclinical research (2005, pubmed.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Sleep and Recovery Practices of Athletes (2021, mdpi.com)