The Real Secret of Staying Motivated to Workout

You've seen it happen many times before. Maybe, you've even experienced it yourself.

It is early January, and the gym is busy! Everywhere you look, there are new members who want to start living a healthy lifestyle as part of their New Year's resolution.  

Everyone is very enthusiastic- and rightfully so!

Starting a new fitness journey is always exciting as it brings the thrill of a novel experience and a change from the ordinary.  Often times, the excitement entices people to purchase cool workout gear, obtain new gym memberships, and perhaps even hire a personal trainer for a few sessions.

Sadly, most of these journeys do not last very long.



Without fail, the gym returns to baseline halfway through February. Once the novelty of training wears off, it becomes easy to miss sessions for any, and every possible excuse.

Days off become weeks off, and so on and so forth.  One day, the new members realize that the motivation that was once fueling their desire to improve their fitness has completely vanished.

Motivation Journal

"January, May and September are the busiest months of the year at gyms"

The same story could be said about dieting. During the first few weeks, grocery shopping suddenly becomes a fun activity, you learn new healthy recipes that look very appealing, and perhaps you even create a journal to log your weekly body weight.  


You maintain good steam for several weeks and even begin to notice some positive changes. However, someway somehow, that burning motivation begins to dissipate.

The diet slowly loses its appeal and old eating habits begin to resurface. Eventually, you are back to where you started.

Does this sound familiar?



Interestingly, fitness motivation appears to have a bi-annual distribution. The month of May is the second busiest time of the year for gyms, as the summer months begin to approach.

How often have you heard someone say that they are working on their "summer body?"

Unsurprisingly, the cycle repeats itself and in several weeks the motivation that was once present has disappeared once again.

So what is the solution? How is it that we stay motivated to train all the time?


Here's the secret…


We're not.


"Motivation is an exhaustible resource..."




It is impossible to stay motivated to train and lead a healthy lifestyle all of the time. There are way too many factors outside of one's control that can have a profound impact on  motivation; 

A fight with a significant other, a long grueling shift, poor sleep the night before, horrible weather, the list goes on.  All of these are abundantly sufficient to skip the gym, order takeout and call it a day on your couch.  

So in these situations, what could possibly motivate you to go to the gym and eat something better?

The absolute best and only method around this dilemma is to still do what you do not feel like doing.

Did you get into a fight with a loved one? Train. Was your shift extremely taxing? Train. Do you have to wake up early the next day? Train. Didn't you have time to eat lunch? Great, go train.



By implementing the strategy of "if it's feasible, you must make it to your gym session" described here, we have learned to integrate training and healthy eating into our lifestyles regardless of the external factors in our lives.

Do you honestly feel like waking up and going to work every single day no matter what? As a resident physician, (and in many other fields) you do not have a choice. You have an obligation to your patients, and to your co-workers to be there, regardless of how motivated you may be.  

If it doesn't work, perhaps you have some other obligations in life that you must take care of, no matter what. 

The same concept applies to diet and exercise. Your body is an amazing entity, and it can perform unbelievable feats if you take care of it.

If you can change our perception of fitness, and view it as a necessary, integral component of your life, then you get to the point where fitness becomes a habit.  

Habits are extremely important, and it's a topic we will discuss more in the future.  The wonderful thing about habits is that you automatically participate in them, whether you are motivated or not.

Do you wonder what motivates us to go the gym? Be sure to check out our post on The Single Most Compelling Reason to Exercise

What habits have you developed to keep you motivated in other aspects of your lives? Have you struggled with motivation in regard to your fitness?


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Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here