10 Ways To Trick Yourself Into Working Out

Finding the motivation to exercise when you’re simply not in the mood is kind of like that moment after watching the Winter Olympics, when you decide to pursue a career in figure skating because a gold medal would really compliment your eyes: it’d be hectic, but it’s probably not going to happen.

When feeling unmotivated, mustering the motivation to exercise can feel almost impossible – enough to make you want to crawl back into bed and nap for approximately 14 hours. There are however some techniques to give yourself a friendly nudge, and get you off to the gym.

#1 Get changed into your workout gear

IMO, getting changed is half the battle when it comes to getting your sweat on.

Being kitted out in your favourite workout getup can be enough to get you out of the house.

#2 Disguise your workout

We reckon you know in yourself whether or not you’re actually going to exercise, so it’s best not to lie to yourself. If you know you just can’t be assed, find other ways to get active that don’t feel like a workout but still kind of are.

Walk home from work, go for a swim, heck, clean the house – anything that increases your heart rate and gets you a bit sweaty is better than nothing.

#3 Make sure you’re held accountable

Never underestimate the power of a fitness buddy. If you bail, not only are you letting yourself down, you’re letting down a pal you made a commitment to. You need to ask yourself, is missing this workout worth being a shitty friend?

Well sometimes, yeah, it is. But find yourself a fitness buddy anyway and find out how guilt can work as a great motivator!

#4 Listen to some tunes

Music gets your blood flowing, can make you feel like you’re in a movie, and feel ready to take on whatever comes your way (including the treadmill). But it’s also been suggested that it enhances your workout.

According to The Independent, a survey by Runners World found that 75% of respondents consider that jogging to music is beneficial. It’s also been found that athletes can associate a specific piece of music with the optimum state of mind for exercise over time.

#5 Recruit Your Dog

What’s the one thing that can make any given situation better? The involvement of a dog, that’s what.

Take your dog for a walk or run – they will love you for it, and you’ll be reaping the benefits of getting active. If you don’t have a dog, knock on your neighbour’s door or ask your friends if you can borrow their dog in a totally non-creepy way.

#6 Utilise your competitive streak

Are you competitive to the point where it’s not cute? You’re not alone.

Use this to your advantage. If last week you ran 6km, what’s stopping you from doing it today? Are you seriously going to let that inferior version of you win? Didn’t think so.

#7 Find a workout you genuinely enjoy

Easier said than done right? Well, practice makes perfect, and it might mean trying out a butt-tonne of different workouts before finding one that you enjoy, but it’ll be worth it. Not everyone is into sports. If you like being alone with your thoughts, long distance running might be you. If you work better as part of a group, why not try out a team sport?

There might be a bit of trial and error, but if you can find something you genuinely like doing that keeps you active, you’re onto a winner. 

#8 Reward yourself

Set a goal you’d like to achieve, and designate what you’ll treat yourself with when you get there.

For example, if you manage to exercise four days a week for a month without fail, allow yourself to buy something you really want. Alternatively, it can be shorter-term goals: if you work out this morning you can go for a beer with your workmates in the afternoon.

#9 Sign up for a competition

Sometimes the best motivation to exercise is having something to train towards. Sure, you can be exercising to better your mental and physical wellbeing (totally good reasons) but if there’s a more tangible thing that you’re working towards, it can make finding motivation a little easier.

Sign up for a fun run, or a swimming competition, or a half marathon – something you reckon you can tackle. That way your work-out goal will be clear, and you can devise a way to work towards it while holding yourself more accountable.

#10 Set super realistic goals

Super ambitious workout goals may seem like they’ll be great motivation, but they can be really hard to stick to. Instead of telling yourself you’re going to go to the gym, do an hour of cardio, then stretch, then get stuck into the weights, then go for a swim, then walk home – give yourself a more attainable goal. It could be just one of those things at a time, for example.

We’re not saying you should underestimate yourself or make it too easy, just make your goals a little more practical. Even if, on the days you’re feeling totally lethargic, you only do half your regular workout – that’s better than nothing.

Finding the motivation to exercise can be rough, but ultimately totally worth it in the long run.

Bradley is a writer from regional NSW and he didn’t come here to make friends, he came to win. He tweets infrequently to his 43 followers @bradjohnston_.