How To Stay Motivated To Workout – 3 Tips

I’ve had many ups and downs in my training life.

russ howe ptiAnd today I want to show you how to stay motivated to workout with 3 tips I always pass on to clients as they start out on their journey to a better body.

Check out this email from website member Alexa:

“Hi Russ,

I want to ask about motivation – I’ve always struggled to keep up my training more than a couple of months at a time!

I’ve been overweight my entire life and my family have always put me down about it, I feel like such a failure, but I want to get in shape so badly! I usually start off well, but I seem to quit on myself very easily. All it takes is for me to have one bad day, or for a workmate to say it looks like I’ve put on a few pounds.

Just little things, I know, but they always seem to throw me off track and this time I want to do it the right way. Can you give me some pointers?”

I sure can.

But before I get to the tips, I want to say one thing – you should never start a weight loss journey to seek the approval of someone else.

You see, there is a fitness saying that’s always bugged the life out of me – “Haters are my motivators!”

I believe that you should never, ever place your potential results in the hands of someone else. Never make impressing them the key to your happiness. Further still, hate is a bad motive for anything, period. And you know why?

Because they don’t fucking hate you, they hate themselves.

They are taking it out on you, putting you down to make themselves feel good, but their hate isn’t really about you.

I’ve seen this with so many female clients over the years, bullied about their weight and always hearing snide comments from so-called friends and family. But when the individual in question begins to power through and actually starts seeing a positive change, do you know what tends to happen?

Their “haters” fall in line quicker than a Herbalife rep can say “pyramid scheme“.

You see, people who are motivated by seeing others fail, well, they are some of the weakest-willed motherfuckers I have ever met in my lifetime.

When they see you getting results, they’ll try to become your best fucking friend.

But here’s the thing – if you’re using their hatred as your primary motivation, you will find yourself without anybody to “prove wrong” and it becomes incredibly easy to lose your motivation to work as hard.

how to stay motivated to workout

1. You Need A Training Goal

If you look around any gym, you can see who has a training goal and who does not.

You see, we live in a world where most people go to the gym just to “tick the box”. And they don’t even know they’re doing it.

You can find these girls sitting on the recumbent bicycle reading a gossip magazine and talking about everywhere else they’d rather be. But every night, they come back and do it all over again. That’s what I call “tick the box” training.

Sure, they went to the gym. But their heart wasn’t in it.

Then there’s the woman in the corner of the free weights section who is out-squatting her partner.

She seems unbothered by the busy atmosphere. She hasn’t checked her phone. She has just pummeled her body with a nightmarish workout. This woman usually has a crazy look in her eye, too, it’s almost like she’s enjoying it.

That lady has a training goal.

And whatever it may be, something tells me she’s going to achieve it.

Because when we are training for something, as opposed to going through the motions, we unlock another level of intensity and dedication.

how to stay motivated to workout

Your goal will be specific to your ambitions, it needs to come from within you – what do you want to achieve by going to the gym?

Do you want to get to a particular dress size? Do you want to lift a certain weight? Perhaps you want to see definition in your abs for the first time?

It’s up to you to decide why you want to train, but it should never, ever be to impress somebody else.

Once you have your goal it’s simply about tracking your progress.

This is best done via taking regular pictures, recording your progress in a diary, and surrounding yourself with other people who share your drive and enthusiasm. That last one is key. They might not be trying to achieve the same end goal as you, but by surrounding yourself with others who are also on a journey, you will begin to feed off each other and spur each other to greatness. Got it?

how to stay motivated to workout

2. Ignore Fitness Douchebags

You are not a machine.

Heck, even Rocky had some downtime.

There is this false belief out there that living a fitness lifestyle is about being “100% hardcore, 100% of the time”.

The whole “100% or nothing” idea makes people self conscious about ever having a bad day.

It’s the same reason I tell my clients to stay away from rigid clean eating diets. One slip up and you’re supposed to beat yourself up for the rest of the day for “failing”?


That’s precisely why those people have one piece of cake then binge eat all weekend.

Let me tell you something – the people who post that kind of bullshit are the people you should never take advice from. They spout that nonsense just to get plaudits from their pals about how great they are and how we all wish we could be like them, but in truth, they’re fucking empty inside.

They crave praise in order to justify why they are so obsessed with their self image.

They don’t live the life they claim.

A real athlete learns how to factor in the bad days, not pretend like they never happen! Life is not a fitness meme, and it’s not about being hooked on training or constantly obsessing over your diet.

It’s all about balance.

Some days you will squat a new PB, and some days you’ll sit at home in your underpants eating chocolate.

Who gives a fuck.

how to stay motivated to workout

3. Seriously, Stop Giving A Fuck

I mentioned earlier that your training objective should never revolve around gaining the approval of people who put you down. My final tip is to drive that home.

It’s very important to remember that you are doing this for you.

It’s your picture on the fridge door and it was your reasons for going to the gym for the very first time.

So somewhere along the line, you’re going to have to stop caring what people think about you.

But learning that can be hard, because we are naturally programmed to seek out praise when we feel we have worked hard for something.

Heck, we’ve all felt our heads grow when we catch a colleague looking us up and down, or when someone who used to mock us suddenly asked us for advice.

But with the good comes the bad, and you cannot have it both ways.

For if you seek out approval, you will also take criticism in the absolute worst possible way.

When you are having tough times – and you will have them at some stage – a piece of criticism can literally take the sun out of your sky, and despite the fact that you felt great about your body just yesterday, today you feel like you are back at square one.

It’s a horrible way to live.

The “trick” here is to learn how to not give a fuck.

fitness motivation

Like I said, the only thing which should matter is your quest and your reasons for being on said quest. Every outside comment which arrives along the way has absolutely no power.

Just focus on doing your best and moving yourself towards your end goal.

If somebody puts you down, so be it. It doesn’t change the fact that you are on your journey and you are at the controls of the ship.

Likewise – and this is the bit most people have difficulty with – if somebody says you have inspired them to make a positive change, so be it. Take the compliment, but then move right along on your journey. It’s okay to feel good and appreciative, but don’t become a douche, don’t lose focus.

Because while it’s nice to hear good things about yourself, you’re not doing this to get praise. If that person never complimented you, you’d still be on your journey.

And that’s the art of truly not caring what anyone else thinks. It takes some work, particularly if you are a naturally shy person, but once you get it, it’s very freeing.

But whatever you do, don’t post about it on social media.

That is a sure sign that you absolutely do give a fuck.

how to stay motivated to workout

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably like this one too.

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