What To Do When Your Workout Motivation Runs Dry

I have a confession to make: I am human.

There are some days when I get up and the last thing I want to do in the entire world is work out.

There are days when my workout is going so crappy, when I feel like I’ve plateaued and know I’m not working as hard as I can, that I just want to give up.

There are days when the last thing I want to eat is yet another salad, another bowl of steamed broccoli, another plate of egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast. Days when I walk by the delicious smelling bakery on my street and want not only one pastry, but two. Days when I want an oversized chocolate chip cookie, a Belgian waffle slathered in whipped cream, a giant, carb-filled Italian meal. Anything but something healthy.

I am human. We all are. And that means that there will always be times when it’s really, really hard to motivate ourselves to do what we know we need to do.

And that’s OK. But if your end goal is to be a fit, healthy, badass human being, you have to find a way to push through it, even when it’s the last thing you want to do.

Staying motivated when you feel anything but

I find that when I’m at my least motivated to work out and eat right, I have two choices:

I can look for external motivation,


I can look for internal motivation.

Examples of external motivation would be things like: reading fitness blogs (like this one), watching a show like The Biggest Loser, reading inspiring magazines, books, etc. designed to get you off your ass and whip you into shape.

And if that’s enough to get you up and moving, to get you reaching for carrots and hummus instead of M&Ms, fantastic. You obviously have a great support system, and respond well to others’ motivational attempts.

But ultimately, it’s better be able to motivate yourself internally. To be able to get yourself up and kick your own ass, without anyone else telling you to do so.

Let’s look at a few ways to do that:

Figure out how getting fit will benefit you right now

Why do you want to get fit right now (rather than, say, five years from now)?

Is it to look better? Feel more confident? Have more energy?

Is it to feel less self-conscious in a bathing suit? To lose the baby weight you put on from your last child? To be able to fit in the same clothes you wore in high school?

Or is it something else—to feel physically stronger, to get conditioned for a sport you love, to become more independent (because getting fit will do that for you)?

I can’t tell you why you should get fit. Only you can figure that out.

So do it. Dig deep. Figure out why you care. Then write those reasons down and put them where you can see them—so that the next time you’re feeling less than motivated to be healthy, you can remember why you’re doing this to yourself.

Look at your long term goals

What are they?

To be able to keep up with your grandchildren? To be able to play your favorite sports into old age? To avoid getting diabetes, or heart disease, or dementia?

Whatever they are, are they worth giving up 15 minutes of your day, six days a week, to exercise and stay healthy? To skip that breakfast of donuts and coffee and reach for something like eggs and oatmeal instead?

Assuming you want to live a long, fulfilling life (rather than dying young, which is way less cool than songs make it sound), I hope so. 

Make a conscious decision: will you regret it later?

Another way to give yourself a kick of motivation is to ask yourself: will you regret it later?

WIll you regret missing your workout today?

Will you regret not pushing yourself past your comfort level?

Will you regret eating that entire bag of cookies?

Will you regret not reaching your full potential?

If you know you will regret it later, you might as well do the opposite now.

You are strong

Yes, I am human. You are human. That’s never going to change.

But humans are strong. Look at all we can get through. Think about everything you’ve put up with and done in your life. Then think about how small, how minuscule a 12 minute workout a few times a week is in comparison. Think about how easy it is in the big scheme of things to swap out your unhealthy foods for healthy ones, at least most of the time.

We’re all going to make mistakes. We’re all going to fail at times. But if you try as hard as you humanly can, you’ll succeed more often than not.

Because you are stronger than you know. And you can do this.

Now go kick some ass.

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7 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Workout Motivation Runs Dry”

  1. Krista, this is so accurate and wonderful! thanks’s so much. Today was my first day at a new school and i really needed some motivation to not flop down and eat an entire jar of peanut butter and watch TV. You’re the best!

  2. Seriously, seeing results in yourself is the best motivation out there. But, you have to step out and do something first. You don’t get results from doing nothing – you have to take the step first. In a sense, many times the motivation only comes AFTER you’ve taken action.


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