7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout Even When Depressed

How many times have you enrolled in a fitness program only to procrastinate working out later on? I bet most of us did! But, you see, motivation plays a vital role in everything that you do. And since fitness is a part of lifestyle, it requires the right motivation and mindset to stick to this habit. So, if you direly want to know how to stay motivated to work out, we have your back! For instance, playing motivational music can spike up your mood to work out significantly. But, if that also fails to work in your case, dive in to read this post. Then, as we go further, you’ll know how to get off your ass to hit the gym, tips for workout motivation, and how to stay on the track to get motivated to lose weight and exercise.

Why Do We Lack The Motivation To Workout?

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Firstly, it’s very humane to feel a lack of motivation to stay disciplined to your workout regime.

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There’s not a single person who isn’t aware of the benefits of a workout. I’m sure you know too working out is beneficial for your health and well being, and perhaps you would like to do it every day. However, something always comes up, and you can not seem to find the time or the energy to carry on with your plan.

Some other reasons for people lacking the motivation to workout are because:

  • Daily exercise may seem tiring to some people.
  • Workout may become boring to perform after some time, just like any other routine.
  • People don’t get the time to prioritize exercise.
  • Workouts generally can be a painful experience for some.

As a result of these reasons, you fail to stay motivated to work out. Therefore, if you want to work out and enjoy the perks that come with it, you need to find new ways to stay motivated to work out at home or the gym.

According to an article published on the Mayo Clinic website, regular physical activity has positive implications on your weight, health, mood and energy levels, etc.

This means you need only one strong reason to stay motivated; a reason strong enough to keep you going.

In practice, these benefits are not immediate. Therefore, you will be tempted to give up exercising in favor of another activity that brings immediate, tangible results.

However, prioritizing your “why” is essential if you want to avoid slacking off in your workout journey. I know it because I’ve been in your shoes, and I’ve been finding excuses not to work out for years.

Finally, I did manage to find the motivation I needed to work out. And I hope to help you find yours in the following lines.

Ways To Stay Motivated Or Boost Your Motivation To Work Out

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If you are looking for ways to motivate yourself to go to the gym, you’re in the right place. Here’s the list of some fantastic ways you can stay motivated and slay your workout session.

1. Set Cues

If you leave your workouts to chance, you will never find the time or the energy to go through with them. Therefore, you need to include them in your daily routine, and cues can help you do that.

You know your schedule better than anyone, so find the time of the day when you can squeeze in a one-hour workout and set the alarm or connect it to some other activity.

For example, if you’re a working professional or a student, you can accommodate your workout session early in the morning and evening.

Personally, we feel that early morning is the best time to work out. The fresh air feels exceptionally soothing to the skin, and it heals you from within.

On top of that, according to a post published in the blog of Cabrini University, working out in the fresh morning air can also help cleanse your lungs and boosts your mood levels.

As you slowly make it a habit, it will eventually feel easier to stop at the gym on the way home from work or to work out in the evening for you.

It is up to you when you work out, but try to avoid anything that could prevent you from doing it, and make sure you set reminders.

2. Reward Yourself After Every Workout

For some people, simply knowing that exercising is beneficial for their health is all the motivation they need, while it takes a lot more for others.

If the benefits of working out are not enough for you, it would be best to resort to finding other sources of motivation.

The “Personal Reward” system can support you in learning how to get motivated to lose weight and exercise.

Ask yourself this question: What is your guilty pleasure, the one thing you cannot give up every day, the small treat you still enjoy despite your efforts to lose weight or stay healthy?

Some of the workout rewards could be:

  • Eating your favorite chocolate after a workout.
  • Drinking a glass of wine with your lover.
  • Watching a soap opera.
  • Going for a retail shopping session.
  • Playing online games with your friends.
  • Having your most loved coffee or beer with your best friend.
  • Watching a football game with the guys.

Try setting this pleasure as a reward for exercising. Soon, you’ll start associating exercise with the satisfaction you experience from the reward and look forward to the subsequent workout sessions.

You will enjoy that guilty pleasure anyway, but you’ll make something good out of it. Moreover, you will motivate yourself to go to the gym.

This is not just an assumption, but the conclusion of scientific research concluded at Iowa State University. Alison Phillips, assistant professor of psychology, found that, besides cues, like the morning alarms or the end of their workdays, rewards help motivate subjects and make them more likely to respond to their cues.

Truth be told, the study focused on intrinsic rewards. However, in my case, the chat with friends, a glass of delicious red wine, or a couple of strawberries dipped in dark chocolate work like magic, better than repeating to myself things I’ve always known.

3. Use Fitness Apps

Although most fitness apps are designed to measure your progress and not keep you going, some apps can still make you work out more. Certain apps also sync your workout motivation music to help you stay motivated and excited.

One result of a study conducted by Abby King, a Stanford University Ph.D. professor, found a significant relationship between behavior and exercise.

He concluded that social apps allowing comparisons between users, promote behavior change through social support, and customize their users’ avatars to reflect good behavior and motivate their users to exercise more.

Here are some well-known fitness apps one can try:

  • Map My Run
  • Fitness Buddy
  • JEFIT Workout Planner
  • My Fitness Pal

It is up to you to find the app that has the optimum effect on you. But, one thing is for sure: it doesn’t hurt to try.

If you have friends who use the same app, you can see their performance updates, rewards obtained within the app, and progress charts.

Having someone to turn to when you have questions or simply need encouragement could indeed be a step forward.

4. Stay Motivated To Work Out With Upbeat Music

Playing music while working out does indeed boost your mood to work out better.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacology, it is evident that music enhances exercise performance by impeding fatigue or boosting work endurance.

Here are some of the best workout motivation music or playlists for your gym or at-home workouts:

  • ‘Dance Monkey,’ by Tones and I
  • ‘Lemon,’ by N.E.R.D and Rihanna
  • ‘Taki Taki,’ by DJ Snake, Cardi B, Selena Gomez, and Ozuna
  • Thunder by Imagine Dragons
  • ‘Nonstop,’ by Drake
  • ‘The Light Is Coming,’ by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
  • ‘Sunday Morning,’ by Matoma and Josie Dunne
  • ‘No New Friends,’ by Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo
  • ‘So Am I,’ by Ava Max
  • ‘Back That Azz Up,’ by Juvenile and Lil Wayne
  • ‘Woman,’ by Kesha and The Dap-Kings Horns
  • ‘Soulmate,’ by Lizzo

5. Find Workout Buddies

Working out on your own may not be very pleasant, especially if you have a job that keeps you locked in an office or behind the wheel all day. Even with workout motivation music, it may be challenging to motivate yourself to visit the gym.

In such scenarios, having someone to exercise with you could provide the additional motivation you need.

On your own, you could be tempted to quit, but your workout buddy will hold you responsible. When you get tired, you could be tempted to stop, but seeing your workout buddy continue will make you want to do the same.

It’s not just an assumption, but the finding of professor Damon Centola from the University of Pennsylvania and his research team. They found a way to use social networks and the internet to motivate people to exercise more.

The key to their success was program buddies, where people were participating in the same exercise program and using the same network, even though they did not know one another very well.

Therefore, it’s affirmative that workout buddies can help you to get motivated to lose weight and exercise.

6. Set SMART Goals For Your Workout Plan

You are least likely to stay motivated if you don’t have a proper workout plan customized to your needs. And chances are, you’ll stumble every step on this fitness journey.

This is why structuring a SMART goal for your workout can immensely help you stay attentive and motivated in the long run.

This is how you can plan out your workout with the proper strategy:

  • First, find out how much time you can commit the least every day for your workout.
  • Now, choose a minimum of two workouts and divide them equally in time. For instance, if you have 15 minutes, you can commit 2-3 minutes every time you do jogging, jumping jacks, high knees, or sit-ups.
  • Make sure to adjust each workout within the time frame you can commit the most in a day.

7. Change Your Perception About Exercise

Stop thinking of exercise as a burden or a duty to fulfill. Instead, change how you perceive exercise. It is not just a task that you have to strike off your to-do list. A routine of exercise shows that you love yourself. Taking care of your body is way more important than you think. And that is exactly why one who embraces self-love would cultivate hobbies that increase physical activity and thereby stay as healthy as a horse.

For instance, if going to the gym bores you, start exploring your city on a bike. At the end of the day, you will have to enjoy the process rather than just the results to accomplish any set of work.

How To Stay Motivated To Workout/Exercise When Depressed? 

When you’re depressed, getting out of bed feels like a tedious task, let alone going to the gym for a workout session.

However, al research published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine recommends exercise in treating depression and anxiety.

So, if you lack the will to stay motivated to exercise because you’re depressed, you can consistently implement the following tips:

  • Firstly, don’t beat yourself over feeling depressed and not staying motivated to exercise. Instead, show some love and compassion towards yourself.
  • Once you have somewhat instilled a positive mindset, it’s time to set a schedule for your workout. You don’t have to go overboard with exercise while starting initially.
  • Try to commit at least 10-15 minutes a day specifically for a workout session.
  • Keep a journal to track your progress. This will keep you motivated to exercise a little more whenever depressed.
  • You can also take a cold shower in the morning as it jolts the nervous system, making it possible for you to keep going.
  • Lastly, cut yourself some slack when you genuinely feel exhausted and take a rest.
  • Read more to learn how to motivate yourself to be productive even when you don’t feel like it.

Drawing The Line On Workout Motivation

We know what it feels like to want to work out yet not keep at it.

You may try every gym subscription, online workout programs, jogging, aerobics, Kangoo jumps, and yet still get bored and feel tempted to skip exercising.

However, combining all the above motivational tricks, looking at yourself in the mirror, and dismantling those excuses not to exercise will surely keep you going.

When you don’t feel like going out, perhaps work out with Daniel from Team Body Project (on their videos, lol). If you’re a mother without a babysitter, you can take the kids with you and let them run wild on the local football court.

When you can’t afford the gym subscription, take your headphones, put on workout motivation music, and go jogging by yourself.

Your progress depends on the small insignificant steps that you choose to take daily!

Concluding Thoughts,

If you really want to exercise, you will find a way to do it. If you are looking for excuses not to, there are plenty you can use. In the end, it is all up to you and how much you treasure your health and well-being.

However, we hope you overcome the mental battle and work toward staying motivated to work out. Try the above suggestions to boost your motivation and help you stay motivated to lose weight and exercise.

Key Takeaways on How to Stay Motivated to Work Out

  • Working out is beneficial for your health and well-being.
  • You can do many things to motivate yourself to go to the gym or work out at home.
  • Workout motivation music can play an essential role in achieving this.
  • One way to stay motivated to work out and go to the gym is, try setting your guilty pleasure as a reward after exercising.
  • Most fitness apps are designed to measure your progress, not to keep you going.
  • To increase your motivation, pair with someone to exercise who could boost and provide the additional push you need.
  • In the end, it is all up to your determination, how much you love and value yourself, and how much you treasure your health and well-being.

When is the best time to exercise to lose weight?

As per research, experts suggest exercising in the morning is the best time to lose weight.

A study found that women who walked briskly for 45 minutes in the morning were less tempted by food pictures than an individual with obesity.

Furthermore, a morning workout helps build metabolism that aids in burning calories.

I have no motivation to exercise. What should I do?

If you lack the motivation to exercise, you can do the following things:

  • Set realistic workout goals.
  • Take a cold shower to revive your senses.
  • Keep a progress journal.
  • Play some upbeat music.
  • Get a gym buddy or an accountability partner.
  • Do light workout exercises.

How can I stay committed to working out?

  • Set cues for yourself.
  • Reward yourself after every workout.
  • Take help of fitness apps.
  • Play some upbeat music.
  • Find yourself a workout buddy.
  • Set SMART goals.

How do you stay motivated to work out? What motivates you to lose weight and exercise? Which is your favorite workout motivation music?

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Mihaela is a sociologist, an English – Romanian translator, the proud mother of two joyful girls and the happy wife of her soul mate. She turned writing into a career in 2010 and has never looked back. She spends her leisure time by cooking healthy foods, reading princess stories, watching movies, playing games in the park, or walking along the Danube.