5 ways to motivate yourself to exercise

How can you motivate yourself to exercise – even on those days you really want don’t want to? Read my top tips right here…

I may not be the most dedicated runner in the world. I might not track my workouts or be particularly bothered about lifting heavy at the gym. What I am really good at, however, is motivating myself to work out several times a week. I’m not someone who loves exercise. However, I am someone who recognises its value and knows how good it makes me feel when I do it. That’s what gets me out of bed when that little voice in my head is whispering at me to just hit the snooze button and lie in.

Let me give you an example. I didn’t work out on Saturday. I woke up feeling sluggish, tired and like I didn’t even want to get out of bed, let alone do anything. I eventually migrated from the bed to the sofa but even then I spent the rest of the day, unwashed, slumped under a blanket. Compare that to Sunday. I got up, went for a run, and then came back and had a super productive day of ordering frames for some prints I bought ages ago, wrapping a birthday present for my friend, and blogging. But most of all, my mind just felt a lot clearer. I wasn’t beating myself up for not exercising. I wasn’t prodding my stomach with my finger and feeling like I’d put on weight. I just felt lighter and brighter and healthier over the course of the day. That’s what exercise does. That’s the power it holds.

I can’t remember where I read it, but I remember someone saying that using energy creates energy. So when you expend energy during exercise that in turn creates energy, leaving you feeling fresh, invigorated, and ready to face the day. I know we’re all struggling with having to be inside all the time during this social distancing thing; it feels like the days are starting to blend into one. However, it’s more important than ever to try and get some exercise in every day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block. Here are my top tips for motivating yourself to work out during quarantine…

1. Do it first thing in the morning

My rationale is this: the longer the day goes on, the longer you have to talk yourself out of it, and that’s certainly what happens when I put it off and tell myself that I’ll go later. I just don’t end up going. My advice is to get up, have a cup of tea or coffee first if you like, and then get up and go.

2. Remember how good you’ll feel afterwards

Taking that first step out the door or pressing play on that workout video is always the hardest part. However, like I’ve talked about above, you just have to remind yourself how amazing you’ll feel afterwards. You’ll feel more awake, alert, energised and ready to get on with the rest of your day.

3. Save different workout videos on your phone

Some days I’ll bounce out of bed and be perfectly happy to do a 5km run and other days its feels like a struggle to get up at all. That’s why I have a number of different workouts I can choose from all bookmarked on my phone. On those days when I’m really not feeling it I do a five minute arm workout video, which seems a lot more manageable when I’m trying to get myself up. Although trust me, you can still sweat in five minutes! If you want to do more then you can just do it twice, right?

4. Have a good podcast series on the go

I’m pretty new to podcasts and I’m even newer to having them as an accompaniment to running. What I’ve found, though, is that they take your mind of what you’re actually doing even more so than music. My personal favourite is How to Fail with Elizabeth Day as she always has such honest conversations with her guests (Marian Keyes was a recent favourite) and I always come away so inspired. Love it.

5. Reward yourself with a tasty breakfast

Remind yourself that as soon as you get back from your run or workout you can have a hot shower and a tasty breakfast. For me, that’s another cup of tea served with porridge and blueberries, a bagel, or poached eggs on toast. It all sounds very carrot and donkey I know, but if that’s what works that’s what works! What do you like to have for breakfast after you workout?

Like this post? You might also like this post on the five health and fitness fads I want to cancel

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13 responses to “5 ways to motivate yourself to exercise”

  1. I have been having a hard time finding motivation to work out during this quarantine! Thanks for the great tips.

  2. This is just what I needed to hear. Thanks for the tips- I am already feeling more motivated. Guess I’ll go ahead and get up to do this yoga video I’ve been putting off …

    1. Thanks so much, glad it was useful. I actually want to try and do some yoga during the quarantine, which one is it you’re doing?

  3. Love these tips! I’ve done all, except listening to a podcast. Will definitely try it this week!

    1. Thank you! Yeah podcasts have been a game changer for me, and didn’t think I would enjoy it but it’s been good – anything to take my mind off running! 😂

  4. I don’t know why it’s so hard to stay motivated to exercise right now, but I agree that when I do it first thing in the morning I feel great all day long! Looking forward to a yummy breakfast is a great idea!

    1. It’s so hard isn’t it? If I didn’t make myself get up I feel like I could just lie on the couch all day! Glad the mornings are working for you 😊

  5. Such a helpful post! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much! Glad it was helpful 😊

  6. Nice Lucy, I like it. I am not at all a morning person and for years I fought exercising in the morning. But I finally gave in and tried it, and now I always do it . I think there’s a kind of hidden benefit to still being partially asleep, which is that I’m not awake enough to talk myself out of working out. I treat it like a job. Maybe I don’t want to go to my job in the morning, but I don’t wake up every morning and say, am I going to work today? Somehow exercising in the morning has the same effect for me. I don’t wake up and say do I feel like exercising or not, I just do it. I’m not sure why, but it works. Plus eafter my workout I feel so awake and ready to go!

    1. I totally agree, when you exercise first thing it’s like your brain doesn’t catch up to what your body is doing until afterwards or something. And yes, the less time you have for your brain to convince you that you don’t need to do it the better – it’s all in the mental battle! Like you say, once it becomes a non-negotiable part of your day, like going to work, you just do it. I also love just being outside at 7am when the light is all hazy and it feels like the rest of the world isn’t up yet 😊

  7. WOW I swear I needed to read this. Thank you for your tip to do it as first thing in the morning and that’s what I am gonna do now. I have gained few extra pounds in the quarantine and I am gonna start working out now after reading your post.

    1. Aw thanks so much, glad it popped up at a good time for you! I think we’ve all gained a few pounds from quarantine but working out is definitely helping to keep me feeling motivated and productive! All the best with your new routine 💪😊

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