About the author: James Atkinson ( “Jim” to his friends and readers” ) of JimsHealthAndMuscle.com is an ex airborne soldier, bodybuilder, long distance runner and fitness and exercise motivation guide. He is now a successful fitness author who loves nothing more than to see his readers achieve their fitness goals and change their lives for the better.
Top 5 fitness and exercise motivation tips
Without the right motivation, any fitness or weight loss goal is almost definitely out of reach!
How is it that some people can find it in themselves to achieve jaw dropping weight loss results that inspire others to follow in their footsteps when many are willing to sit back and accept that they will always be out of shape and overweight no matter what they do.
Or how is it that one runner can set out to lose a bit of weight and end up running half or even full marathons while others of the same beginnings will settle for their current state of cardio fitness?
It all boils down to motivation and a few other factors. The physical challenge of achieving life changing fitness results is actually a small part of the process as the vast majority of the challenge has to come from mental robustness and self-motivation.
Here are my 5 top tips that will empower you and drive you forward. If you have not achieved the fitness results that you have always wished for because you couldn’t stay motivated, maybe this is where you should start?
I always like to start at the beginning and have a solid plan, so these 5 Fitness and exercise motivation tips are numbered 1 – 5 and if you are to get the most out of it, you should start at number
#1 – Get a goal and have a solid reason
The first thing that you need to do is get a goal – Sure! Most people want to “lose a few lbs” or “Pack on some lean muscle” but if you can make your goal more specific, you will be a step ahead of the crowd. For example – If you would like to lose some, or a lot of weight, you should decide exactly how much. Whether this is 5lbs or 50lbs, this is a clear and precise goal. Believe it or not, having a figure in mind will help you out massively with your fitness motivation.
Along the same lines, and within this same tip, I would also encourage you to find out your reason for your fitness/ weight loss plans. It may seem obvious –
“I need to lose weight because I’m overweight”
But, it is never really that simple. To want to achieve a specific fitness goal, you will have some deeper reasons that you may not even want to admit to yourself.
So, be honest with yourself, dig deep and find your real reasons. Once you have your reasons, write them down, use photographs, sketches or anything physical that will remind you. When you start to lose your motivation, you can look at your reason and use it to keep you on track. Don’t underestimate the power of this exercise!
#2 – Get a sustainable long term fitness plan
The early stages of a fitness, weight loss or muscle gain venture are highly fuelled with motivation but it is never long before the motivation starts to lose its potency. Most people with a fitness ambition will fail to plan their journey. It’s all too common to let the early motivation take charge and rush into the first training method that presents itself.
It’s great to start working out but if you don’t have a sound progressional fitness plan to work towards, it will be easier for the fitness goal to take a hit or be abandoned completely when the motivation is harder to come by.
So from the outset, make sure that you choose a fitness plan that:
- Is at least six weeks long
- Is progressive i.e. becomes more challenging the longer that you do it
- Is not too challenging in your first few weeks. You don’t want the physical challenge to put you off at this stage. There will be plenty of time in the future to step it up a gear.
#3 – Create some undeniable accountability
Nothing gets a person more motivated than accountability. If you make your fitness plans and goals common knowledge, you will be doing a fine job of motivating yourself.
It may feel uncomfortable posting your plans on all of your social media channels, telling all of your friends and family or even doing an email blast. You may feel that if you don’t hit your goals, you will be letting all of your friends along with yourself down. This is actually the point. But it is extremely effective.
By making your fitness plans and goals common knowledge, you will not only be putting it out there for everyone to see and keep track of your progress, but you will get a lot of encouragement from your nearest and dearest that want you to succeed. A by-product of this is that you will create a good support network for when things get tough.
#4 – Motivational quotes, don't under estimate this!
This is one of my favourites! Motivational quotes should not be underestimated. They are a very powerful tool and this is a practice that I suggest in almost all of the fitness books that I have written.
It will work best if you follow the advice from the previous tips on this page although you can use this as a “stand alone” tip. I advise you to use fitness motivational quotes like this:
- Find some fitness or success quotes or even pictures that inspire you to achieve your goals. This could be anything that resonates with you. Your best motivational material may mean nothing to someone else so remember that this is all about you.
- Make some physical copies of these, print them out, draw them, whatever you can to make them eye catching and visible. – I use written quotes and the occasional picture.
- Pin them up all around your life. It is a good idea to put them where there is most temptation for weakness and where you spend most time. Eg the fridge, the front door, on the TV, on the bathroom mirror or on your desk at work. Be creative, there is no limit to this.
When I was prepping for a bodybuilding show, I woke up every single day for twenty weeks at 5:00 am to do forty five minutes of fat burning cardio exercise. There were so many days when I thought that I could just have a day off, but the first thing that I saw after opening my eyes was a motivational quote that said:
“Never, Never, Never give in!”
I never did and I never will. This quote is still there.
#5 – Get a great music playlist or audio motivational material
When it comes to fitness and exercise motivation, this is where most people start. But I see this as the icing on the cake.
Finding a way to motivate you to get through individual workouts is a lot different to finding a way to motivate you to stick to your fitness or weight loss goals in general.
If finding your reason and creating physical reminders of your reason and having motivational quotes pinned up around your life symbolises a long term motivational approach, then having an MP3 player with a good playlist on it is a short term/ quick fix approach.
In my experience, the best two types of motivation through audio are:
- Fitness and exercise motivation audio books
Personally I go for music. Iron maiden, AC/DC, Metallica and other quality music by bands like gaslight anthem/ Brian Fallon and recently I’ve become a fan of Amy Macdonald, it’s unlikely but she’s a “motivator of me” J . I am a lover of a lot of different genres of music but these guys always find their way onto my workout playlist.
Everyone is different and where one will become motivated by metal music, another may be motivated by classical and find it drives them to a better workout.
There are however people that listen to motivational audio books. I have done this before on cardio sessions to pass the time and learning while training does appeal to me but it doesn’t have the same effect as a face melting guitar solo, gut bustin rhythm beats of an epic drum set, and the ballsy vocals of a metal front man, so audio books are not that motivational for me when lifting weights in the gym. But as mentioned before, everyone is different so if you haven’t got some audio that you can try, you should definitely try this out.
So that’s my top 5 tips for fitness and exercise motivation. As you can see, I take fitness motivation seriously and as someone who has “walked the walk”, “ran the run” and “worn the muscle vest”, I can tell you that if you take the time to set yourself up with a fitness motivation plan, this time will not be wasted.
If you are new to fitness and need a solid start, start here! Follow the tips from one through to five before you even think about your first exercise session or healthy eating kick. If you are sufficiently motivated, you will not fail!
I hope that you have found this article useful and I would love to hear of your success. As many of my readers already know, I am always happy to help out further.
To find out more about fitness and exercise motivation and start your unshakeable journey to fitness success,
All the best
James Atkinson – “Jim”