Hate Working Out? These Tips May Help Change Your MindsetBy Stephanie E - Jenny Craig Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, R.D. Science-Backed
Has this ever happened to you? It’s Monday night and you’re ready to settle in at home after a long day at work. Maybe you haven’t been to the gym in weeks, so you feel like what’s the point of starting now? Plus, your couch is looking real comfortable. Where’s your fitness motivation when you need it?
Resist the urge to pull on your pj’s! If you’re having a hard time finding the motivation to work out, we’ve got your back.
Feeling naturally motivated to work out can seem difficult, especially if exercise isn’t your favorite pastime … but that might not be the only reason. Research suggests being naturally motivated to exercise may be linked to your DNA.1 Knowing if you’re naturally driven (or not) to exercise can help you to develop strategies to stay on track. Getting into your groove might feel a little intimidating at first, but these six workout motivation tips will have you back on track in no time.
Remember to always consult your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
1. Don’t give up before you’ve gotten started.
Whether your exercise hiatus has spanned two weeks or two years, it’s never a bad time to get back into the swing of things. Planning is key: If you feel too busy, tired or stressed, will you really take the time to work out? A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to committing to a more active lifestyle. Set yourself up for workout success with a little prep!
For a morning workout, try these tips:
- Put your running shoes near your bed. Get up and go without searching for your sneakers.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. The most important meal of the day is the fuel you’ll need for your workout. If you’re an early riser and don’t feel hungry when you wake, just make sure to refuel after your workout — the key is to listen to your body!
- Don’t hit the snooze button. As tempting as it may be to slumber a few extra minutes, you may be more likely to skip your workout. Try placing your alarm clock across the room so you have to get up to turn it off!
- Place a water bottle by the door. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
- Wear your workout clothes to sleep. Roll out of bed and crush your workout first thing in the morning. Or, lay them near your bed so they’re easy to slip on once you wake up!
- Plan your meals for the week in advance. If your lunch is already packed, you’ll have more time in the morning to squeeze in a workout. Learn how to meal prep for weight loss with our helpful tips!
If you prefer afternoon or evening workouts, try these:
- Pack a bag the night before. Toss your gym clothes, sneakers, water bottle, towel and a healthy snack into a bag and leave it by the door so you can grab it on your way out.
- Change into your gym clothes at work. Avoid the temptation of trading your sneakers for slippers at home and head right into your workout once you’ve wrapped up your day.
- Take advantage of your commute. Put on some music and crank up the volume! Choose an energetic playlist to pump yourself up for your workout or a more mellow playlist to unwind after a long day.
2. Ready, set, go(al)!
Any effort you make to exercise — no matter how small it might seem — is something worth celebrating. You don’t have to settle for an all or nothing attitude: Set yourself up for success by creating small daily goals and aim to reach them each day. If your goal is to participate in a 5K, going for a brisk five-minute walk is a good place to start. Once you feel comfortable with a certain level of activity, gradually increase it. Turn that five-minute walk into a ten-minute one, and try walking faster than you did before. Give your walk a little extra boost by trading your loop around the block for a few flights of stairs, or a steep hill. By creating micro habits,2 you’re breaking down a larger goal into several of them, making them easier to accomplish. Remember: Every bit counts! Over time, you might not even notice you’ve been exercising for longer periods with more intensity.
3. Change it up.
There are plenty of ways to fit in your workout for the day (and some don’t even feel like exercise!). If you’re not sure where to start, our Beginner’s Guide to Exercise will teach you some basics that you can use at any time during your fitness journey.
Switch up your same-old workout routine to keep things fresh and exciting. Increase the difficulty of your workout by upping your speed, test out a new workout class, or try adding lightweight dumbbells.
If you’re short on time, try interval training, where you’ll switch between short, intense periods of activity and taking brief rests. You can apply interval training to practically any form of exercise: walking, swimming and cycling are all great options to try.3 To start, do a minute of high-intensity activity, rest (by stopping completely or slowing your pace) and repeat.
4. Put healthy habits into practice.
What’s keeping you from working out? Take a moment to identify some of your biggest hurdles and look for productive ways to move past them, like these:
- If you’re feeling too tired to exercise: Try out these 10 tips to improve your sleeping habits.
- If you’re distracted by your hectic schedule: Check out these helpful organization hints.
- If you don’t have time to cook a meal and complete a workout: Try these fast meal-planning hacks.
Developing healthier habits helps build a foundation for a healthier lifestyle. Once those are in place, it’ll be easier to add more activity into your day, whether that’s squeezing in a quick jog, making a trip to the gym, or talking walks during your breaks at work.
5. Find your #fitfam.
Need a little extra fitness motivation? Phone a friend! Exercising with your peers has great benefits:
- Committing to a workout with friends helps keep everyone accountable, which means you may be more likely to stick with your chosen activity.4
- Researchers say people who exercise with friends, a spouse or coworkers enjoy their workouts more than those who exercise solo — and who doesn’t want to make a workout more fun?5
- For a less intense activity, consider getting a group together: Participating in an outdoor walking group may help improve body fat, total cholesterol and quality of life.6
If your fitness motivation is lacking, getting a friend to join in could give you the boost you need to start — and finish — your workout. Take this fun quiz to find the perfect workout buddy!
6. Give your mindset a makeover.
Try to push aside any negative thoughts you might have around working out and losing weight — they might actually be affecting your goals. Instead, lift yourself up!
It’s not all about how you’ll look at the gym or how long you’ve been absent from your fitness class. Consider the bigger picture: your overall health.
These are just a few of the amazing benefits of exercise: weight loss, better management of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels, and even maintaining your muscles as you age. When you engage in physical activity, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to get stronger, work efficiently and maintain its functions, all of which are great for your health.
Plus, if your job involves physical activity, your mindset could also make a difference. In a small study of 84 hotel room attendants, 44 participants were told their housekeeping work met the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) guidelines for a healthy lifestyle.7 Exercise was explained as something that didn’t need to be painful or difficult to be beneficial. These participants were also told their work was a good form of exercise and they received a breakdown of how many calories they’d burn per task (for example, vacuuming for 15 minutes would burn 50 calories). The remaining 40 participants received the same information as the previous group, but weren’t given information about how their work qualified as a form of exercise.
By the end of the study, the better-informed group of 44 hotel employees lowered their blood pressure by 10 points, lost an average of two pounds, and had healthier BMI readings in just four weeks! Because participants didn’t report any changes in their workloads, diet or exercise during the study’s four-week duration, researchers concluded that their mindset — and not a change in their behavior — was the driving force behind improvements in their health.
By taking the time to exercise, you’re making an investment in your health, physically and mentally. A positive mindset can take you far — and help boost your motivation!
If you’re struggling to start working out, taking that first step can seem daunting. We’ve all been there! Sometimes all you need is to find the right motivation. We hope these tips will help make your workouts easier and more fun — and we can’t wait to see your progress.
If losing weight is part of your inspiration to begin working out, we’d love to help! Jenny Craig’s DNA Decoder Plan identifies 15 unique genetic markers that may change the way you think about weight loss. Your DNA Decoder results will reveal everything from your likelihood of having a sweet tooth to your likelihood of being intrinsically motivated to workout, plus helpful tips you can use to support your goals. Your DNA markers are expertly paired with a delicious meal plan that’s tailored to your results.
Want to learn more about your DNA’s impact on your weight loss? Get early access to the DNA Decoder Plan by signing up today!
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including a scientific, peer-reviewed paper. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Edited by Stephanie E - Jenny Craig