Stick with the Program: 7 Clever Ways to Stay Motivated for Workouts

How do fit people do it — keep working out day after day after day? They must not have day jobs, you’re thinking. Maybe they’re pod people and simply do things automatically. Or maybe, the sheer god-like, sculpted, toned, and wicked sexy bodies they get after working out gives them enough motivation to do it unfailingly.

Meanwhile, you’re still lying there on the couch, clutching your second glass of wine, bottle of beer, or pint of praline pecan drizzled with chocolate syrup and cookie crumble. It’s tough to get off and out of a very comfortable set up so you can go for a run or take out the mat and do your crunches.

Bad Habits

I’ve tried out so many workout routines in my life and have so far not been able to maintain one long enough to look like one of those fit people in magazines.

While I’m not looking to get ripped and toned like some Hollywood hotshot, I do want to get healthy. I do want to feel energetic. I do want to feel good and look good. I don’t want to get old, get into accidents so fast because I’m weak and my bones are just too brittle from lack of activity.

If you have the same sort of goals, you know that ordinary, sheer force of will isn’t going to cut it. You need a plan like I need a plan. And I’ve come up with a few clever strategies to staying motivated for a workout.

So here are seven clever (if I should say so myself) ways to stay motivated for workouts:

1. Buy workout clothes.

Right off the bat, it’s a solid motivator: shopping. This works because you can’t make up an excuse to not work out, with your tank tops and yoga pants in the laundry. Also, if you just scored fabulous training wear, you will want to “show off” at the gym or at the park when you go for a run.

2. Wear trainers when you head out.

When you need to walk the dog or do an errand, put on those trainers. It’s a sneaky way to condition your mind that working out should be part of your life. Think of it as a visual cue for your brain.

3. Modify your diet.

What you eat is a big part of what motivates you to do what you do. Eat more refined, processed stuff and you will stay couch-bound for days. Eat more whole foods and your mind and body will respond with energy.

4. Work out with a friend.

Arrange a time and place to workout with a friend. Unless you’re a real bastard, you’re going to have to show up. But pick that workout buddy who has a similar motivation level; you do not want to go to the gym with a friend who has achieved Jillian Michaels-like fitness motivation.

5. Make “it” stare you right in the face — every day.

By “it” I mean an exercise machine. Invest in one for your home. Gym Pros recommends reading fitness equipment reviews before choosing one. The leading supplier of fitness equipment adds that with the wide range of machines in the market, you need to make sure you’re putting money into something you’ll actually use.

ideally, you’ll want to go for machines that target all areas of concern, e.g., abs, legs, butt, and so on. Do a research on fitness machines and figure out which ones are best for your goals.

6. Create a soundtrack to your workouts.

Music is the definitive motivator. And whatever kind floats your boat, put it in your iPod, and get moving.

7. Reward thyself.

Finally, what is more motivating than getting a soothing massage after a week of working out? But it doesn’t have to be just a massage. You can reward yourself with any indulgent thing, from a simple mani and pedi at a spa to an overnight stay at a world-class resort.