How to stay motivated to work out?
“No, it’s cold outside, I don’t have any space at home”, “I don’t feel like working out today!”, “How to stay motivated to work out?” or the half-knowledge: “How do I manage to be less lazy?” – Are you familiar with that?
You got through the summer highly motivated, but now with lockdown, closed fitness studios and bad weather you don’t feel like going on, keeping fit? Plus: You know from experience: After a few weeks, the fun of your workout will escape like the air from an old balloon. How to stay motivated to work out? The thirst for action is gone.
That is bitter, because: It is known from sports science that you can maintain your level of training with just one (!) Workout per week. If you can bench press 100 kilos, you can maintain this performance with just one intensive bench press unit per week. Yes, you heard right. And that means for you: Every training counts. This is how you can put your fitness goals into action
Don’t worry, we know the shortcut to iron discipline: With these 10 tips you are guaranteed to get yourself new motivation for training – after a few weeks the routine will take over by itself. Have fun sweating!
1. This is how music drives you to peak performance
Whoever wants to crank up sports has to crank up – namely the music. “Creatine Peak Performance using Music” is how the author and sports scientist Costas Karageorghis, aka The Music Doctor, (“Applying Music in Exercise and Sport”, 2015) describes this phenomenon. With the right playlist, you can do one more repetition. Do not you think? But that’s how it is. Have you ever wondered why you bob your feet and head and your fingers drum piano chords to music you like?
Because music speaks to the reward center in the brain. In addition to happiness hormones, the motivational hormone dopamine is released – this gives the movement center impulses and stimulates your motor skills. Studies also show that not only will you perform better, exhaustion will also occur later. Karageorghis has found that music can increase performance by up to 15 percent.
2. This is how you can boost motivation with rewards
Just as music can be a push during exercise, rewards help maintain motivation and thus the fun of training. However, vague rewards like better health or weight loss will only keep the toughest of people motivated. Everyone else has to outsmart their weaker self. Experts also speak of a so-called neurological “habit loop” that one should build up. A trigger, like your sports shoes next to the TV couch, prompts you to be active, the “hunger” for the reward makes you storm out the door and take a lap. After a few weeks, this process becomes a habit: trigger, reward, routine.
But: the reward must be strong enough. Means: Your desire for it should continue after the 3rd or 4th time. Why? Because the reward increases the chances of the training becoming routine, writes Charles Duhigg (“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do”, Piper Paperback, 2013, for 12 euros). The brain then associates sweat and running with the positive feeling that you feel when you treat yourself to your reward. Sounds like classic conditioning? It is. But it works. You will train with new motivation.
3. You shouldn’t train that hard to stay motivated
Take things a little more relaxed. This is an effective way to find fun in training again. Expectations and pressure that are too high, for example after a long break in sports, can be demotivating. The motto is therefore: start slowly and keep calm. Don’t compare yourself to buddies or fitness influencers. Instead, focus on having fun exercising. “If the pressure is too great, many people stop moving at all,” explains the psychologist. So: Shift down 1 gear, then the motivation increases.
4. These goals motivate you to be at your best
A challenge can give you the motivation you need. Challenge yourself by setting specific training goals. On the one hand, they can concentrate on exact muscle groups, for example: finally a broad chest in 8 weeks. On the other hand, holistic challenges also work, for example: reducing the body fat percentage by at least 3 percent. And: Make your own progress clear with a training diary. Track and document your times.
Have you already got it all behind you, but your training mill is still rusty? Then comes the next level: Get an experienced coach. The effect: The creative ideas of a professional will help you to diversify, he will challenge muscles that you have not yet known and you will see results faster. This gives the training the necessary freshness kick so that you can finally roll yourself off the greasy couch again.
5. How do I find the perfect training time?
Do you also feel that you have absolutely no energy left for the early morning session? This may be because you are not listening to your natural biorhythm. Scientists differentiate between two (chrono) types of people – the owls and the larks: While some people only become active in the second half of the day, others are already productive with the first ray of sunlight. “In some people, the brain only wakes up at 1 p.m., before that they cannot even open the curtains,” says the expert. Try exercising at a different time. For example, move your morning yoga ritual to the afternoon.
6. Where should I train? At home in the gym or outside?
Dare to go outside. Find a fitness trail (nature course) near you, go jogging in the forest and do a few pull-ups. This is healthy for the airways and makes you happier – yes, even in the cold season. “Doing sport outside is definitely recommended. Nevertheless, there are some people who prefer to train indoors. Find out for yourself what makes you have more fun,” advises psychologist and motivation expert Dr. Martin Krengel.
7. These routines help with motivation
Sometimes it makes sense to follow your internal clock. But: Occasionally it can also help to establish routines. Example: When you organize your appointments, your calendar makes the decision for you whether or not to go to training. This means: You prepare for the subsequent sports unit before work. Put your gym bag in your bag, pack your sportswear – and leave no excuse. Make a goal of exercising right after your job.
8. Do I have to change my training regularly?
If something gets stuck, it needs a new impulse. This is the only way to get the cart out of the dirt or you down from the armchair. Enjoy the freedom to try it out: Whether you want to try a new training plan, an unknown running route or an innovative method – that’s up to you. Turn a few screws and give your training a new coat of paint.
Do you want to try your luck in a completely different sport? Then the expert recommends the following: “Choose a sport that suits you and work on your motivation. Otherwise, the fascination of the new can fizzle out very quickly.” For example, a long-time footballer looking for a new challenge can do training at an athletics club. Skills that are important in dynamic ball sports are also required for a sprint or when jumping into the sand pit.
Speaking of variety: Regardless of whether you decide to do something new or stay true to your old passion: Learn as much as possible about your favorite sport. Leaf through old MEN’S HEALTH issues, watch YouTube clips, films and series on the topic. Additional knowledge about your favorite sport opens up new perspectives and in this way helps you to be fresh for action.
Conclusion: find your personal motivation
Even a single training session has a training effect – if this knowledge does not motivate you to workout enough, choose your personal favorites from our 10 motivational tips for training, or try them all right away. I hope I could’ve answered your question: how to stay motivated to work out?