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10 Ways to Motivate When You Don’t Want to Work Out

We’ve all been there. We’re on a good streak of working out and then . . . we lose all momentum. Maybe your body actually needs the break. But don’t let a break turn into an extended vacation. Here are some tips to motivate you to work out, even when it’s the last thing you want to do.

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Strategies to Motivate Yourself When You Don’t Feel Like Working Out

1. Work Out Shorter and Smarter

You don’t need 60 to 90 minutes to get a good workout. I often find I burn the most calories and sweat the most during HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or Tabata workout sessions.

The other day, I had a small pocket of 30 minutes to exercise and pick up my son from soccer practice. I almost talked myself out of it. Instead, I found a 15-minute HIIT Peloton ride. I worked hard. Really hard.

You can get the Peloton App free for 30 days!

For more on this check out my Peloton-related blog posts: The Best Spin Bikes to Use with the Peloton App, The Best Treadmills to Use with the Peloton App, and How to Get the Peloton Experience without the Price Tag.

2. Don’t Stick to a Workout Schedule

This may sound counterintuitive but it works for me.

When I plan on exercising on scheduled days, I don’t. Life gets in the way. A parent-teacher conference conflicts with a yoga class. A spin class conflicts with a hair appointment.

Instead, I tell myself, I will exercise daily. And, most days I do. Whether it’s a walk with my dog or a workout at home after everyone goes to bed, I get myself moving to burn calories. Sometimes, I even miss a day. But this prevents me from missing many days in a row.

3. Exercise at Home

Exercising at home has changed my life.

During snow days, kids at home sick, or barely squeezing in a workout, I can still find the time to get it done. I’ve tried almost all of the home workout programs (you can find my favorites here).

Sometimes, I miss the social aspect of a gym, however, I remind myself that many of my friends belong to gyms but rarely go.


workout motivation infographic

4. Change It Up

Try something new. I’m constantly adding apps to my collection or finding new workouts to try: DribbleUp, Stealth Core Trainer, and FightCamp.

Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook, Groupon, and Living Social to discover new workouts and deals. I bought a ten-pack of yoga classes recently on Groupon for under $100 and got to try out a new studio. Combine it with Rakuten, formerly Ebates, for even more savings. Read more on how to save money with Rakuten and save on your first order or use this link.

Find something you love. And, then don’t be afraid to change it up again.

If you’re using the Peloton or app, check out this blog post with class ideas 15 Ways to Keep Your Peloton Streak Going.

5. Multi-Task

I make important phone calls during my walks. I listen to work-related podcasts on the elliptical.

Need to get a conference call in? How about turning your spin bike or Peloton into a standing desk? You can do this with the SpinTray from TopForm Design.


How about listening to a book for your book club on Audible or for free from your local library with Libby? Make a deal with yourself: you can only finish the podcast or book if you work out.

Speaking of books, if you love books as much as I do, think about joining our Facebook Group where we recommend our favorite books, discuss what we’re currently reading, and I share the newest blog posts, product reviews, wellness tips, and more.

Check out MyPurseStrings on Substack. Get the newest blog posts, my favorite finds, and read all new and past newsletters there.

6. Reward Yourself

Reward yourself after a successful session. Go on Facebook, watch your favorite show, catch up with a friend, eat that dessert, or go for a pedicure. I play mental mind games with myself all the time. Sometimes, my reward is as simple as a shower.

7. Be Accountable

Log It

Each time I work out, I make sure to log it on my Apple Watch.  I am determined to close the circles on my Apple watch every day, proving that I met my move and exercise goals.

Others log their workouts in a dedicated notebook or place stickers on a calendar. A visual representation of your completed workouts can help keep you on track.

workout planners

Check-In with Others

Whether it’s texting a friend, posting in a Facebook group, or telling your spouse, making someone aware of your exercise goals can help to motivate you.

My kids have learned to ask me, “Did you work out today?” Do you want to know why? I allow them to watch TV or play electronics as long as they don’t interrupt me. It’s a win-win situation.

Also, since my blog focusing heavily on health and fitness, I feel an extra obligation to exercise regularly.

8. Surround Yourself with Visual Motivational Quotes

Hang up inspirational messages around the house. Check out some of my favorite motivational fitness quotes.

work out quote

Buy some kick-ass T-shirts.

motivational workout shirts

Nobody cares. Work Harder.

Be Stronger Than Your Excuses

Spin Now Wine Later

Yeah, But Did You Die?

Shut Up, I am NOT Almost There

9. Find a Friend

Meet up with friends at the gym. Instead of going for coffee, hike with a friend. Surround yourself with those who also value healthy living.

10. Be Inspired by Others

Watch a YouTube video of someone overcoming their challenges. This video always gets me.
Follow your favorite fitness influencer on Facebook or Instagram. Just looking at Peloton instructor Robin Arzon’s abs on Instagram make me feel guilty about skipping a workout.

Related Workout Blog Posts: 

Best Spin Bikes

Best Treadmills

Apple Watch Tips

Peloton Rides Featuring TV, Movie, and Broadway Musical Soundtracks

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girl running. tips to motivate you to workout. no more excuses.

What motivates you? Please share below.

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