Cardio

10 Motivation Tricks That Fitness Pros Swear by for Tough Workouts

Read this to crush every darn workout.

By: Chelsea Frank

Even though we know fitness and exercise are crucial to overall health and wellbeing, the fact is, we’re not always super motivated. Between work stress, family obligations, and never enough hours of sleep, sometimes we hit a wall in our workouts and just don’t feel like showing up fully. Especially when the workout is super tough — you know the kind where you’re panting like a dog and holding on to a wall praying you don’t pass out? Yup, we’ve been there. 

But, you can overcome a tough workout with the right tricks and right mindset. 

Here are ten motivation tricks that are sure to get you through the most insane workouts!

10 Motivation Tricks to Power Through That Sweat Sesh 

#1 Blast the Right Music

Beyoncé makes every squat possible. Studies show that listening to fast-paced music can lead to increased speed, stamina, and further distance traveled without tiring out as quickly, When you’ve curated a playlist full of high energy music, your workout will fly by and feel like a dance party instead of a dreadful sweat sesh. 

Pro Tip: Not sure where to start? There are lots of pre-selected playlists already organized for you on Spotify! Just type in “Workout” or “Cardio” in the search bar.

#2 Make Sure to Properly Fuel Yourself

Would you take a serious road trip before ensuring your car is properly fueled? Nope. Apply the same logic to your body!

 If you want to increase your power and motivation during a tough workout, be sure to pre-fuel with some healthy carbohydrates such as:

  • Rolled oats with berries 
  • Cubed sweet potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon 
  • Sliced apple or banana with nut butter 
  • A rice cake with almond butter 
  • One cup of plain Greek yogurt with berries 
  • Smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk, berries, and a handful of spinach 

Hydration is also key. In fact, the Mayo Clinic suggests drinking roughly 2 to 3 cups of water up to three hours before a workout to ensure your muscles stay energized. (Sorry, rosé doesn’t count!)

#3 Partner Up With Your Most Beast-Mode Fitness Friend

Pair up with someone who holds you accountable! Ask a friend or co-worker to join you so you can both encourage each other to keep going and stick with it. They’ll keep you from slacking off when you’re starting to fade, and might even be able to show you a few new exercises!

Better yet, why not work out with your romantic partner? It’s a fun way to get flirty and competitive, but it could also help strengthen your relationship and bring you both closer together. Win, win!

#4 Visualize Your Success

There’s a reason all major athletes talk about this mind trick. The act of visualization — that is, thinking through and imagining every step of your workout, all the way through to the feeling of success at the end — can help you have greater control over your thoughts when confronted with difficult parts of your workout. 

Before you begin, take a few moments to really imagine every step of the way, and watch as you fly through those 40 burpees with ease! 

#5 Change It Up

Boredom is the enemy of motivation, so changing things up is a must-have on the motivation tricks list. Avoid fatigue and lethargy by constantly changing up your workout and routine. 

Instead of running the same five miles in the same area listening to the same podcast, try a tough HIIT workout that’ll challenge your body in new, exciting ways. 

Or, if you do the same tough HIIT workout every day, try alternating between upper body and lower body days. 

Plus, alternating your fitness regime will allow for new muscles to peek through, which is so fun!

#6 Break It Down 

If the length of time is what’s getting to you, try breaking your workout into smaller chunks. For example, instead of thinking, “ugh, I’ve got to this entire hour-long cardio class, and all I want to do is drink wine and watch 90 Day Fiance,” think, “I’m just going to get through these next ten reps.” 

Once those reps are over, continue to the next small set of exercises, and then again, until your workout is over. You could also apply this to one more block, or one more song. Time will fly by!

#7 Pick a Fitness Mantra

Fitness mantras are phrases or sayings that you can repeat to center yourself and get you back on track. Every time you feel like giving up, go back to your chosen mantra. 

Find one that is meaningful and personal to you, like “strive for progress, not perfection,” “I do this because I love myself,” or “I’m gonna feel like a million bucks when this is over.”

#8 Make Your Goals Visible 

If you’re a visual person, you might benefit from writing down your goals on a large whiteboard and looking back at it every time you feel like giving up. In fact, a study of 149 participants shows that those who write their goals “accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals.” 

These goals can include things like, “I want to lose ten pounds,” or “I want to be able to do 100 push-ups.” 

Write them in big block letters and read them aloud every time you’re totally maxed out. You’ll thank yourself for using this as one of your motivation tricks to keep powering through, but also for bringing more positive vibes into your workout (win!). 

#9 Distract Yourself

If you’re using a stationary bike, treadmill, or stair master, take advantage of all that technology has to offer by distracting yourself. Focus intently on the lyrics of the song that’s playing, or count down the reps aloud. 

If you’re running outside, get lost in an interesting or hilarious podcast. The point is — if you really aren’t in the mood to work out today, combine it with something you do feel like doing, which is zoning out to Dua Lipa’s incredible new album.

#10 Reward Yourself

Some of us respond really well to treats, goodies, and presents to get us through tough situations or workouts. What’s the point of all this hard work if you don’t get any play, anyway? 

Pick a few treats you’re only allowed to use for self-bargaining, like splurging on a new pair of shoes or enjoying a luxurious bubble bath. Just be sure to tell a friend, so you have someone to keep you accountable! 

You Got This!

Remember: it’s all about showing up and doing your best. You’re not going for perfection here! Apply these simple motivation tricks, and you’ll be feeling like a whole new and improved person, no matter how tough that workout is.