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How to Stay Motivated to Workout

Get a workout buddy

There’s nothing like a workout partner to kick your ass on those less-than-energetic days. Likewise, you can kick his (or hers!) on days he or she feels sluggish.A good training partner knows when to push you a little bit harder and when to give you slack.The two of you can have mini competitions. At the very least you’ll have someone to keep you focused on training, and not worried about work or something distracting in your home life.

Fit yourself in

As crazy as it sounds, you may have to add your name to your day planner. If it takes making your workout one of your daily appointments, then so be it. The benefit of this is that it helps you balance your workouts with other daily activities such as family, work or school. You will be more successful and bound to stick with it if you make working out part of your lifestyle. 

How to Stay Motivated to Workout

Pace yourself

Don’t think that you’re going to develop the body you want overnight. It probably took you years to get out of shape. A couple of weeks of all-out training will do nothing but make you incredibly stiff and sore, unwilling to work out and hating the sight of a dumbell or barbell. It’s far better to train only two or three days a week year after year than to train seven days a week for one month and then quit because you’re burned out. Remember,consistency is the key. 

Rise and shine and work out!

The last thing you may want to do bright and early in the morning is hit the gym. But if you find yourself going home after work or school and flopping on the couch, give it a try. By working out early in the morning you’ll be sure of getting it done, you’ll feel energized throughout the day, and your morning workout will prevent everything else in life from getting in the way of your all-important health and fitness goals.

Pick a role model

There’s nothing like having someone to look up to, to keep you focused on your goals. Literally millions of people look up to Arnold Schwarzenegger for this reason. From a naive 19-year-old who stepped off a plane in 1968 speaking no English to world’s greatest bodybuilder, top Hollywood star and governor of California, Arnold knows a thing or two about motivation and staying focused. We’re sure there are many “mini-Arnolds” in your life. They could be teachers, co-workers or someone in the gym who overcame horrendous odds to get where he is. On those days you don’t feel like working out or doing that extra set, ask yourself what would your role model do? We thought so. Now do that extra set!

Keep track of your success

One of the best ways to know where you’re going is to know where you’ve been. For a few dollars you can pick up a training journal and start recording such things as the amount of cardio, the exercises, the reps, sets and weight used on each exercise, and how you feel and why. Were you up late the night before? Did you eat a heavy meal before coming to the gym? Forget to eat altogether?

Periodically looking in your journal will give you plenty of insight. You can see how different exercises and routines affect you, and you can see just how far you’ve come. Your present warm up weights were once your workout weights. Those 20-minute cardio sessions two or three times per week have been replaced by four 45-minute high-intensity workouts. So even if sometimes you feel you’re going nowhere, your workout journal is telling you otherwise. Keep at it!

Get back on track

Missing a workout is not that big a deal. In fact, if you’ve been working out consistently an extra day off every month or so is recommended. But for many people, one day off becomes two days off, two becomes three, and before long they’re skipping weeks on end. The gym becomes just a memory. This is similar to the dieter who,because she’s eaten a cookie, eats the entire bag of cookies and a quart of chocolate ice cream.

Setbacks and missed workouts are perfectly normal. But the quicker you get back on track, the quicker you will reach your fitness goals. Try to remember that health and fitness is not about being perfect. It is a way of life. Don’t view your workouts as being all or none. Just be consistent.

Get to the gym

We all have days when we just don’t want to work out. We’d sooner go home and lie back on the couch with a soda or beer. But don’t. Force yourself to go to the gym. Tell yourself you will just do the first exercise then go home. Odds are that within the first10 to 15 minutes you’ll start feeling energized and have a great workout. Sometimes the days when you have the least energy to begin with end up being the days you have your best workouts. You’ll feel especially great about it, because you had originally planned to skip the gym, remember?

Robert Kennedy: Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, The Complete A-Z Book On Muscle Building. 2008
Nick Evans: Bodybuilding Anatomy. 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger: The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, 2013

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