How To Create Fitness Motivation That Lasts
One of the things I get asked about a lot is an important topic in health and fitness: motivation.
Finding fitness motivation might be easy when you are starting a new workout program, but many women in the #SweatwithKayla Community (formerly BBG Community) are curious about how to sustain high levels of motivation over time.
The good news? You don’t always have to feel highly motivated to stick with an exercise program such as High Intensity with Kayla Itsines (formerly BBG). I want to share with you my tips on how to make the most of your fitness motivation, and what you can do to keep working out even on the days when you might feel less motivated.
What is fitness motivation?
Fitness motivation is what drives you to exercise and focus on your health and wellbeing.
However, it can be expressed in many different ways. Motivation might help to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. You may associate motivation with the excitement of buying new exercise gear, stocking your kitchen with healthy food, or creating a workout planner.
You might think of a conversation you had with a friend when you promised: “this time, we are going to stick with our workouts!”. At the time you feel excited about making some healthy changes.
Then, reality hits. You might have had a long day with work or family, or you’re tired and just want a day off.
Whatever the reason, there is often a point where you lose your workout motivation. Your inner critic and the realities of life make it more and more difficult to get out of bed and go work out.
This is where the healthy habits you set up when you felt motivated need to kick in. As Jim Ryun said: “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.”
Many people that start a new fitness program quit within a few weeks. While it’s great to feel excited and ready to start something new, you have to be realistic about how long the feeling will last!
Motivation can be affected by many different things, so there may be challenges or obstacles that affect your motivation to work out.
That is why it’s important you form healthy habits, rather than relying on feeling motivated. This is one of my biggest tips to reach your fitness goals: create healthy lifestyle habits that you can follow. These habits will kick in when your motivation levels dip because working out or preparing healthy meals will be a part of your everyday routine.
Developing habits for healthy eating or working out can help you to follow these behaviours, even when your motivation is low.
My workout motivation tips
Here are my best tips for creating healthy habits and achieving your fitness goals:
Don’t rely on how you feel — follow a plan
I totally understand there are some moments in life where you just don’t want to do anything, let alone get up and work out.
While it’s okay to have a rest day and to recognise there are some signs you shouldn’t exercise that day, try not to skip your workouts just because you “don’t feel like it”. One great thing about exercise is it can release feel-good endorphins, so you almost always feel better after it.
If you’re feeling a bit down or angry, you may be surprised as to how therapeutic a workout can be. By doing your workouts even on days you don’t feel like it, exercising can become second-nature to you and this can help to develop a habit.
You might try associating your training with something fun, like a workout playlist you really enjoy!
If you are due to work out but you really just want to be outside, try to get out for a walk! Or you could take your session outdoors if you have the space.
Once you learn how to use fitness motivation to your advantage, you’ll never look back!
Make small changes
Getting out of a fitness rut can be challenging. One of the biggest problems I see are girls trying to change multiple aspects of their life, like their diet and training routine, at the same time and feeling overwhelmed or giving up shortly after.
Instead, try making one or two small changes to start with. Once those behaviour changes start to feel like part of your routine, make one or two more. For example, if exercise isn’t a regular part of your week, then try starting small by going for a walk once or twice a week. Once you establish this as part of your routine, try adding in a resistance session once a week. Even short workouts will get you moving towards your fitness goals.
Don’t try to rush in and do everything at once, as it may become difficult to maintain in the beginning.
Make yourself accountable
Sharing your exercise routine with a friend or family member can help you to stay on track.
You might find a workout buddy to join you for training — you could do this via video chat — or perhaps you’ll create time each week for a family walk.
Involving others in your healthy habits will ensure that you stay on track, whether they join you or not. It will also help you to set achievable goals as your friend can do a “reality check” on your schedule.
When you measure your fitness progress, I encourage you to focus on how you feel and what you can do now that you couldn’t do when you started.
Making a conscious choice to put your health first is a huge step towards true body positivity!
Even small changes like adding a gentle walk into your day can improve how you feel. Keeping a fitness journal can help you to see how far you’ve come, even if you feel like your goal is still a long way off.
Think positive and be kind to yourself
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day". The same thing applies when establishing healthy lifestyle habits!
It can take lots of small changes to add up to big results. Be kind to yourself as you try to adjust.
If you have a bad week, that’s okay! Don’t focus on what you did “wrong” — choose a healthy mindset and focus on how you can improve the next week.
This is why it is so important to set realistic goals. Placing too much pressure on yourself can leave you feeling defeated, particularly if your efforts fall short. The trick is to aim for balance, not for perfection.
Setting smaller short-term goals can help you maintain a sense of progress along the way to your major goal. You can do this!
Motivation gets you started, healthy habits keep you going!
Adjusting to a healthy lifestyle can be challenging and you may find yourself going up and down.
While motivation can help you get started, it’s how you keep yourself motivated that really counts!
These tips for working out at home can help you create an environment that makes it easier to work out.
Start slowly and aim to establish a lifestyle that you are happy to continue in the long-term. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and try to enjoy the journey!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.