10 ways to maintain fitness motivation

Woman holding arms up in victory silhouetted by the sun
Barbara Wilson
Fri 18 Oct

Some of the exercise affirmations you read or hear are ‘sore today, strong tomorrow!’ Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? Let’s be truthful, sustaining motivation to exercise is difficult at times. So, what drives people to exercise? What can you do to keep motivated?

Ask yourself, what are your reasons to exercise? Lack of energy, clothes don’t fit, celebration coming up, holiday, summer, overweight, health concerns…. As entrepreneurial business people it is not always easy with work and travel commitments, long hours, encroaching deadlines, family, friendships commitments etc where you are stretched on a daily and weekend basis. Then, how do we maintain motivation to exercise? Here are the 10 best ways to stay motivated to exercise.

  1. Start progressively – there is no reason you should be signing up to a marathon if you haven’t gone for a run since year ten P.E. Make sure you pick an activity which reflects where you are at on your exercise journey. Don’t go hell for leather straight up. Choose an activity which you know you’ll enjoy and you’re reasonably good at – this will allow you to build confidence over time and gear up to the big stuff!
  2. Make a commitment! Get a training buddy, gym membership, attend group exercise classes, book a personal trainer - make a time and date and stick to it! Something like a 30 minute around the local park, at a certain time, with a certain person, or attend a group exercise class (for example, Tuesday Cardio Boxing 6.30pm at your local gym) with a friend. The recipe: date + activity + accountability (for example a friend). Once you start putting a routine together, it will become exactly that, a routine.
  3. Look the part. Okay, so work out gear can be expensive and at times superfluous, but if you look the part, you’ll more likely feel the part. Be the method actor in this situation. Put the gear on and affect the attitude. It will help! Above all though, make sure it’s comfortable, the most demotivating thing in the world is wearing something that digs in at your sides, or gives you a wedgy while you’re running.
  4. Motivational chit chat equates to results. The encouragement and support that comes with training with a trainer, friend, group exercise class etc is astronomical. Those words of inspiration such as ‘just one squat to go’, ‘last rep…you’ve got it,’ work wonders. Try saying no to the trainer, it’s tougher than you think!
  5. A view to what is ahead. We’re only human - we want to know what is coming up, how long do we do this for, why, how many reps…this is where a trainer, friend, App, YouTube clip etc can help. You will do this (model) for x amount of time. Then comes the countdown. 10 seconds to go and you would have climbed that mountain. Yes, we are incredibly regimented specimens!
  6. Find a workout that fits you! Running groups, step class, Pump, cardio box, weight training, walking…solo, pair or group. Try all sorts of workouts. Outdoor yoga, TRX, Aqua…Check out for promotions, new classes, venues etc.
  7. Keep a diary of your workouts. No, not like Jane Austen, but a social diary of snaps, quotes, meals, km’s, classes…Use Instagram or Facebook to document. I know I love taking a good selfie during my Friday night gym sesh.
  8. Surround yourself with positive minded people. Make exercise friends. They will inspire you, you will inspire them! I know of many friendships that have started in exercise classes, clubs and groups that have resulted in having a coffee after the session, dinners and even dates!  It becomes a fantastic social activity, which doesn’t require you to be clutching a champagne flute to participate!
  9. Seeing results!! Yaaaassss! You’re here! It’s actually working! You might regain mobility, flexibility, stamina and versatility. You might feel less bloated, fit into your fave pair of jeans, friends may make positive comments noticing a change in you or you’re not having to catch your breath as you walk up a set of stairs. Results vary, be an utter individual when it comes to them!
  10. Ultimately overtime it will start feeling like a must-do. Your exercise activity, coupled with the social activity will produce endorphins which will make you feel good. Exercise will become intrinsically linked with a feeling of wellbeing, wellness and happiness, and of course you, as a result you will want to do more. Take this as a new beginning, journey and discovery! It’s all in the journey, enjoy it! See you at the next Spartan competition or Group exercise class!