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How To Self-Motivate to Work Out

Yesterday was just one of those days that I had absolutely no desire to work out. I had worked on the computer all morning, and then decided to clean out my closet and drawers, which was no easy feat, and it ended up taking about 4 hours to do so. Melinda and I are both working on putting a ton of clothes together to donate to both Goodwill and for the tornado relief down in Alabama, and we had no idea just how many clothes we had compiled over the past few years! What took so long wasn’t the clothes, though, but rather my issue with never throwing away anything and keeping just about every single document or letter that I’ve ever received! Apparently, I thought they were all important, so I stuck them in a bag and put it in the closet. When it was all said and done, I now have about 5 bags of documents to shred! On top of that, I just wasn’t feeling well. I’m not sure if I came down with a small bug or what, but I felt weak and shaky all day. The plan was to work out earlier in the evening, around 5 PM, but when I finished up it was right around 7 PM. Exhausted, not feeling well, it would have been easy to just say “hey, I can use this as a rest day,” but I didn’t.

Of all days to pick one of the hardest workouts, P90X One on One 30/15, it had to be the day I have about zero motivation to work out. Really? Ugh. This is going to be a rough one. One of the things that I do that seems to pump me up a little is put on the Nickelback channel on Pandora. I hook my speakers up to my phone, turn the music on full blast, and I can’t help but get in the zone when I hear songs like “So Far Away” by Staind and “Animals” by Nickelback. Motivation was beginning to increase, but I still didn’t feel too well. Hands were still a little shaky, and by this time I was starving because it had been over 3 hours since my last meal. I started thinking to myself that since I wasn’t feeling well I could just do half a workout, but then I started thinking about the Coach’s Summit that I have in a month and all the people I coach who are expecting me to lead by example, and once I started thinking about that, both motivation and energy skyrocketed, and that’s all it took for me to really go full-force with this workout! That was it. That’s all it took for me to motivate myself enough to really push to complete 30/15, and you better believe I pushed myself. By the time the workout was finished, I was dripping sweat, my chest and back got that familiar numb feeling you get once you push till failure over and over again, and I was dying for some Recovery Formula. I took the P90X Recovery Drink, sprawled out on the ground, and was proud of myself for completing the workout. I felt great!

Over the past 3 years of following P90X, I’ve had to do something similar to this probably hundreds of times. I can’t tell you how many days I just don’t feel like working out, but somehow I motivate myself enough to get through it. Understand that every day is not going to be one of those days that you jump out of bed in the morning, start doing jumping jacks with a big ol’ smile on your face, thinking about how you can’t wait to do some Vertical Plyos with Shaun T, but you’re going to have days where you completely feel unmotivated. What you have to do during those days is self-motivate to workout, and there are a number of ways to do so.

(1) Constantly create goals to work towards. You’re going to reach a point in your fitness journey where you get tired of what you’re doing, so instead of losing motivation, change up your goals. This will get you excited again, and motivation will increase.

(2) Have an accountability partner. If you have an accountability partner, tell them every morning what workout you’re going to complete that day, and have them call you at the end of the day to make sure you completed it. The last thing you’re going to want to do is report to that person that you were too lazy to work out! If you don’t have an accountability partner, you could make me your Beachbody coach, and I will be more than happy to help out and provide some words of encouragement.

(3) Plan a trip or get-together. One of the things that really motivates me is showing up somewhere in excellent shape. If I know that I have a Beachbody event coming up in a month or so, you better believe that I will be working out every single day and committing 100% to the diet until the time of the event because I don’t want to show up as a big marshmallow! If you can’t plan a trip, hold a big get-together at a pool with some friends and family. The thought of taking off your shirt or being in your bikini should get you moving!

(4) Take progress pictures every few months. The last thing that you’re going to want to do is take new pictures that look worse than the last.

(5) Put on some hardcore music! Personally, I like rock when I workout, but sometimes good ol’ Kenny Chesney might do the trick. It’s all a matter of preference I guess. Just don’t throw in some Marvin Gaye and listen to “Let’s Get It On.” Not a good idea. That will for surely not motivate you to work out.

If you find yourself in one of those days where your motivation is about as high as the average Ohio temperature on a January day, then you need to find different ways to motivate yourself, and there aren’t many better ways than the ones I listed above. Remember, I don’t believe in excuses, and you shouldn’t either, so there should never be a reason why you skip a workout! Working out should be a priority.


  1. Great advice! I’m setting my goals today!

  2. Great tips! But really? Nickleback?

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