The best ways to motivate yourself to work out, according to the experts

This is how to motivate yourself to workout if you're struggling get active, according to a fitness expert...

How to motivate yourself to workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've all been there. Those moments where you're wondering how to motivate yourself to work out, while it feels like every part of your body is reluctant. We'd be lying if we said it didn't happen more often than we'd like, but sometimes, getting up to exercise feels like the hardest task in the world. So what can you do about it? 

While we enjoy the health benefits of working out as well as the cute sustainable workout brands we get our gear from, the actual act of getting ourselves to the gym or simply rolling out the yoga mat at home is where the problem often begins. 

We're aware that inspiration and motivation varies from person to person, with some finding it easier to get themselves in the spirit whilst others look to peers or their surroundings for that extra push to get off the sofa and in their gym leggings. But to help you either way, we spoke to some fitness experts who advised us on what we can actually do to get out of our exercise ruts whenever they appear. 

David Osgathorp, Performance Director at Pro Sport Lab and My Fitness Trainer's David Souter both had some wise words to share on the matter. Here are their top tips for motivating yourself to work out... 

How to motivate yourself to workout

(Image credit: Getty Images)


How to motivate yourself to work out

1.  Set yourself a goal

"Working out without having a real purpose for doing it, is like going on a journey without a destination to head towards," says Osgathorp. "Be really clear on exactly what you want to achieve. Keep that image really clear in your mind and work towards it each day." 

Souter agrees, saying: "Understand why you're going to the gym. Your reasons why. Is it to simply live longer and healthier? Do you want to look and feel better?" 

Once you've nailed down your purpose, it should be easier to motivate yourself. 

2. Create a plan and add to your calendar 

You know what they say, failing to plan is planning to fail and that's definitely the case when it comes to working out, explains Osgathorp. "If you know what you want to achieve, then you need a plan for how to get there. Whether it's running 5km, losing two stone or getting six-pack abs, there are some great (easily accessible and often free) fitness plans out there. Find one and follow it!"

Writing it down in your calendar can also make a big difference. "Stop thinking will I or won't I. Make it part of your routine. It will be hard but after a few weeks you will find yourself on autopilot and driving to the gym rather than looking for excuses not too," adds Souter. 

3. Have a gym buddy

Teenage martial arts students doing sit ups to build strong core muscles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having a gym buddy can make all the difference. Especially because it means that if you set up times to meet, it's harder not to show up. "There will always be times when you don't feel like training and it's easy to let yourself down, but when you know you're going to let a friend down, it's amazing how your motivation can change," says Osgathorp. "Find someone with a similar goal to you and work with each other to maintain your motivation."

Plus, as Souter points out, a little friendly competition is always fun!

4. Do something you enjoy

There's nothing worse than going to a gym class that you dread. Instead, pick an exercise class or something active that you actually enjoy doing. "It's amazing how many people hate the process of training... I often hear 'I hate running, but it's the only thing that gets me in shape.' So wrong! If you hate the process then you'll never maintain the motivation to keep training," explains Osgathorp. 

"Find something that brings you joy, something that challenges and excites you. Working out is a gift for your body, that should be enjoyed, not a punishment that has to be endured." 

Woman doing yoga at home

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Track your progress

Nothing is more motivating than seeing your hard work paying off. Tracking your process will ensure you don't miss any of those well-deserved gains, which will ultimately inspire you to stick to your workout plan. 

"Whether you're trying to run further, lift heavier, lose body fat or rebuild your body, there's an app for it, or a good old-fashioned pen and paper to record your progress," says Osgathorp. "There may be a few little bumps along the road, but being able to see where you've come from and where you're heading to is an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding process.”

Sagal Mohammed
Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.