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6 Science-Proven Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out

Workout motivation – do you have any? You understand the importance of exercising; from brain function to sleep quality to heart health, but knowing the benefits is not good enough, you must practice too.


Do you find yourself snoozing the 5am-workout alarm every day? Do you want to hit the gym, do some cardio or run but can’t get yourself to do it? Your worries are over, well, they should be once you read these science-proven ways on how to motivate yourself to work out.

1.     Find instant gratification

Although the long-term exercise benefits are evident, being aware of them is not sufficient. Research shows that you should pay attention to the short-term gains more than the long-term ones.

A study involving middle-aged women concluded that people whose goal was to live a long, healthy life exercised less than those whose purpose was to enhance their quality of life, such as less stress and better mood. If you feel that exercising will help you handle a stressful job or your busy life, focus on the gain. The notion will keep your workout motivation at the top, and eventually save you from a heart attack twenty years from now.

The idea is to focus on the short-term benefits that exercising will breed. Do you want to boost your patience? Is it the back pain that you wish to get away from? What about increasing your energy levels? Would you want to be more cheerful than you are?


2.     Shorten your workouts

Most people who are inconsistent in their workout routine blame lack of time. Research has proven that High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can reduce the amount of time you require to exercise while yielding more benefits than the regular moderate-intensity cardio workouts.

HIIT was named the top fitness trend in 2018. It entails exercising in intervals of let’s say 30 seconds. The workouts start with easy moves than move to hard ones and back to easy, then hard ones and so on. Several exercises can adapt to HIIT, including walking and biking. As little as ten minutes of HIIT workouts are adequate.


3.     Set goals

You have probably heard about why you should set workout goals, but do you do it right? “I want to walk more,” “I will go to the gym more often,” and such like goals will not get you there. You should be more intentional when setting your targets and be specific. How much more will you start walking? How much more time should you dedicate to the gym? Make it precise. Something like “I will be walking an extra kilometer” is a good way of setting workout goals.

While at it, set realistic goals. There is no way you can run a marathon in a month if you haven’t been running before. It’s not possible for a 30-minute walk a day to give you a beach body either. Keep track of your progress and look out for a rapid change.  Apps and wearable trackers can help with this. If technology is not your thing, keeping a journal is quite great too!

4.     Make a workout buddy

Exercising with a friend does not only make the session more enjoyable, but it also holds one accountable. You are likely to turn up when you know someone will be waiting for you.

If you can, find someone who is in better shape than you are. This is because working out with someone with greater potential and experience than yours will motivate you more than someone with fewer capabilities.

The phenomenon is known as the Kohler effect, and it has been studied in several types of research. One such study is one that involved 58 women, all of whom were below thirty. Some subjects were asked to ride a stationary bike with a partner while others rode alone. The partners were actually “virtual,” and the participants communicated to them via Skype. Those who believed they were riding with someone rode 85% longer than those who rode alone.


5.     Have fun while at it

It’s never that serious. Fun is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about working out, but it should. Turning your workout sessions into a game will do you lots of good because it will make exercising enjoyable.

Considering the upsurge of fitness apps, you do not have an excuse for not enjoying your workout. Randomized research of two workout apps found that people who used them had greater motivation when exercising than those who didn’t. The study ran for 12 weeks, and those using the apps were likely to stick to their workout routines than those who did not use the apps.

Music holds excellent potential when working out, according to a study. The research showed that music could enhance enjoyment even during very strenuous workouts. Songs with 125 to 140 beats per minutes have the best workout results.


6.     Pay yourself

Being rewarded for your hard work is an excellent incentive to keep up the spirit. A study involving 11 random studies and about 1,500 people concluded that the use of money as a reward increased the possibility of the recipients to work out.

The structuring of the financial incentives determines their effectiveness. In one research, 280 people were assigned the goal of 7,000 steps in a day. The first group was promised money every day if they attained the goal. The second group was promised some money on the first day of the month if they met the previous month’s goal. The third group wasn’t given any financial incentive. The group that received money upfront emerged winners.

Applying this finding to boost your motivation will require you to assign the money to someone you can trust. Instruct them to give you the money only when you achieve your goal. If you do not meet your target, allow the person to keep the cash.

You want a magic formula that will leave you looking young, happier and smart. Well, the good news is that the formula exists. The bad news is that it is exercise. This means that you should not just work out, but be consistent at it. If your motivation is low, the six tips should help. All the best!