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How to Stay Motivated to Work Out: 3 Simple Strategies to Help

by MaryAnn Jones, A-CFHC

Published on

You already know that physical activity helps you manage stress and reduce your risk of chronic disease. But it should be enjoyable and rewarding, too. So if you’re in a rut and looking for how to stay motivated to exercise, we’ve got you covered.

How to Stay Motivated to Exercise

As an ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach, I’ve worked with clients who fully understand the value of physical activity. They know it helps manage stress, sparks weight loss, builds strength, and mitigates the risk of chronic disease. But sometimes, knowing is not enough. Information alone does not always change outcomes—but behavior modification can offer the key to a successful outcome.

Let’s take a closer look at three coaching strategies that allow you to re-engage your inner wellness warrior, energize your fitness goals, and stay motivated to work out.

Strategies to Stay Motivated to Exercise

Strategy 1: Envision Your Future Self

If you want to see a change (be it in your body, your mindset, or your life), you have to make a change. And therein lies the hard part—making a change can be tough. Health coaches help clients gain a deeper understanding of why they want to make the effort. Painting a picture of the life you want to create and how your efforts will get you closer to your wellness vision is a powerful way to build motivation and action. 

If you want to learn how to stay motivated to exercise, health coaches help you gain a better understanding of why you want to make the effort in the first place. Read this article for 3 powerful coaching strategies to help you up your workout game.  #healthcoaching #exercise #chriskresser

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Shift your thinking about your ability to change

If you believe you’re a runner, then you are. Conversely, if you don’t think you can do something, you probably can’t. Ask yourself: How can I move past limiting beliefs to overcome obstacles? If you want an ADAPT-trained health coach to help you with this, click here.

Envision yourself practicing your new fitness routine

Describe how you will look once you’ve changed up your workouts. Then ask yourself: Who do I admire? How can their habits and routines help me get unstuck? Now let yourself daydream, paint a mental picture, and perhaps translate that into a tangible vision board or journal entry.

Health coaching in action:

Xavi Donobedian, ADAPT-trained owner of Organic Health Movement, encourages his clients to imagine the possibilities.

I find it helpful to envision what it will feel like when employing your newfound fitness routine, in addition to what you will look like. I ask my clients to visualize what it will feel like to walk into the workout, how it will feel while they are exercising, and what they will feel like after they finish.

Strategy 2: Use Your Strengths to Bolster Your Fitness Goals

You’ve been around the block—literally and figuratively. Chances are you’ve navigated many obstacles in the past by doing what you do best. That strength and tenacity will empower you to achieve your exercise goals and stay motivated to work out.

Let your accomplishments lead the way 

We sometimes go looking for what we have to “fix” instead of shining a light on our strengths and wins. Ask yourself: How can my past successes and my innate inner wisdom inform my approach to a new fitness challenge? 

Compare yourself to you

This is the only comparison worth making. Compare changing your workout to another change you have made. Ask yourself: What personal strengths did I employ? How can my previous strategies for success inform my ability to overcome obstacles? How can I use my strengths to reach my workout goals?

Health coaching in action:

Dodi Darrow, ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach and owner of Box Canyon Bodies

Krista has been motivated to make big changes, including giving up alcohol and mapping out her nutrition goals. She knew she wanted to take on a new fitness goal but wasn’t sure how to begin. I asked her, ‘What is a physical challenge you always wanted to accomplish?’ She replied that she dreamed of learning how to do a handstand. When I asked her how she would hold herself accountable to the practice required to attain her goal, she shared that when she gives her word, she follows through. We explored how her character strengths of integrity and honesty would contribute to creating a consistent plan to practice her new skill. She recognized that she had everything she needed to set herself up for success, and she is probably upside down against a wall right now.

Strategy 3: Change Your Habits, Transform Your Workouts

We are what we repeatedly do. Daily habits could be keeping you stuck in your workout rut. Practice makes better, so give some thought to what activities you really want to add to your schedule. How will the practice of that action lead you to develop habits that ultimately become effortless and fuel your revitalized workout?

Understand that consistency wins over intensity

How often have you charged full steam ahead into something new and then lost the motivation to continue your exercise practice? Your enthusiasm can spark your excitement about a new fitness challenge, but the secret to success is creating a plan and sticking to it. Ask yourself: What daily action can I take to further my new fitness goals? 

Use this health coach hack for building a new fitness habit

Give habit stacking a try. Rather than trying just to do something new, pair it with a current habit. Ask yourself: What can I add to my current routine to help change things up or help me get a step closer to my new fitness goals?

Health coaching in action:

Ann Ray, ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coach and owner of Coach Ann Ray

When coaching clients toward meeting their health and fitness goals, I find it most impactful to explore the daily habits that are moving them away from meeting their goals, and together we explore opportunities to replace the behaviors [with] ones that move them forward. In particular, one client decided that staying in her PJs all weekend kept her from going out on a hike; she decided to put fitness clothes on first thing Saturday and Sunday morning. She said she ‘dressed up so she could show up.’ She is now an avid weekend adventurer.

Staying motivated to exercise and assessing your mindset

On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most motivated, how motivated are you feeling about changing your workout routine? Perhaps you chose 7. What inspired you to choose a 7 and not a 5? Examining the difference may offer clues to how ready you are to start transforming your physical fitness activities and achieving your goals. 

While there’s much more we could explore on this topic, you now have three simple strategies to transform your workout routine—and perhaps it will begin to spark changes in other aspects of your well-being. I look forward to your feedback and to hear where you go from here. You can contact me at [email protected].

Do you feel inspired to work with a health coach to get more support, fuel your motivation, and up your fitness game? Find an ADAPT-trained health coach.

MaryAnn Jones, A-CFHC

MaryAnn Jones is an Enrollment Advisor and contributing writer for the Kresser Institute and ChrisKresser.com. She also just completed her coursework in the ADAPT Health Coach Training Program. She has a quietly infectious passion for health and Functional Medicine that will inspire your own journey toward your health and wellness goals.

MaryAnn is the Habit Change Health Coach and runs her own practice: Thrive Naturally. As a former art director she is expert at deconstructing information and delivering it in simple, informative and dynamic formats that motivate and inspire you to accomplish your health and wellness goals.

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