Tips from a Run Coach: 5 Ways to Stay Motivated Beyond New Year’s

As January Winds Down, the Gym Crowd is Already Thinning

I went to the gym tonight, and was selfishly relieved to see the New Year’s Resolutioners are already falling off the fitness wagon. Now I can actually get to my 50-lb. barbell. Hop on a working treadmill. And change in the locker room without falling into someone’s lap. As a running coach and longtime fitness fan, however, I realize motivation drops off fast for many people, and it’s a big problem.

Photos by Marques Jackson/Filles Garcons Photography.

Putting aside my selfish joy of half-empty gyms, I do want to encourage everyone to stay active, for physical and mental health. Here are my best workout tips for staying motivated to workout long into the cold winter months, and beyond:

  1. Make it fun. Usually the first tip people say is establish a routine. While yes that helps, the fact is, if you’re bored or struck by the monotony of complete repetition, you will burn out fast. So that sweaty guy on the treadmill every day is more likely to crash and burn than the person hitting weights one day, a class another and a run another.
No one wants the gym to feel like Groundhog Day.

Keep it fun by going with a friend or partner, varying your routine and making dope playlists. Which brings us to our next tip.

2. Vary your workouts. I know, I know, you may be a runner and the thought of weightlifting makes you want to run right out of the gym, but hear me out. Varying your workout will help prevent boredom (because who in their right mind really wants to run the same treadmill workout everyday), and gives you the added benefit of building strength that will help you become a stronger athlete. And strength training boosts your metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories, even when resting. So if you normally just do cardio, add some weightlifting, and vice versa. You can also add variety to your specific sport — for instance doing treadmill speed workouts twice a week with a few easy days in between.

3. Create an epic soundtrack. The most motivating workouts include a soundtrack. So create a pumped up beats playlist on Spotify, and your everyday gym workout will escalate to superhero proportions. Check out my Spotify Runner’s Speed Workout Playlist and Brooklyn Hip Hop Playlist for inspiration or to follow.

4. Set a performance-based goal. Don’t just decide you want “to lose weight” or “get flat abs,” instead create a goal based on what your body can perform: run your fastest mile, lift your body weight, do 3 pull-ups, or run a marathon. Performance goals will keep you motivated to train so you can achieve that big feat, and you will have a healthier body image. You’ll get stronger and faster in the process and there will be physical rewards, but the biggest will be staying motivated and working toward that goal.

5. Train with people. Whether you pick a gym buddy, join a running group, or sign up for some fitness classes, training with people will keep you accountable, especially on those cold winter days or when you’re tired. Fun events like an Art Run will spice up your workout routine and help you get in a workout while socializing and meeting new people.

What tricks do you use to stay motivated in your workout routine? Comment below.

A workout buddy will keep you accountable.

Marnie Kunz is a professional running coach, avid strength trainer, and creator of Runstreet Art Runs. Follow her fitness journey on @Runstreet Instagram.