7 Practical Workout Motivation Techniques

We’ve all had those days. It could be due to late nights, even later mornings or something as simple as just not feeling up to it. Whatever the reason, whenever you feel like the universe is doing everything it can to stop you from hitting the gym – use these workout motivation techniques to give you the kick up the backside you so desperately need!

7 Practical Workout Motivation Techniques

Everyone is different. I’m a recovering lazy-holic and although I know that my battle will never truly be over, the following workout motivation techniques are what I’ve found to work for me. Hopefully they’ll help you, too!

Technique #1 – Set A Goal

This is arguably the most important out of all the listed workout motivation techniques, which is why it’s up first. Above all else, you need to have a goal. Why? It’s simple. If you don’t have a reason to train, you don’t have an incentive to train.

Let’s look at this through the eyes of an athlete. The type of sport they do will determine how often they need to be at peak physical fitness, however it won’t change the underlying motivation behind their training. Footballers might need to be match fit every few days, whereas Olympic athletes might only try to peak once every four years.


What never changes across all athletic disciplines is that they are constantly working towards a goal. Run faster, pick up something slightly heavier. Push yourself just a little bit further!

Technique #2 – Have A Plan

Having a plan doesn’t mean ‘I’m going to hit the gym after work’, it means knowing exactly what you’re going to do when you get there. If you’re serious about your training then you can’t just turn up and expect to have a good workout.

It might work for a few days but over time your enthusiasm will start to wear out. If you don’t plan your workouts then your training won’t have any balance. You’ll end up neglecting muscle groups (we all know about people skipping leg day) and ultimately talk yourself out of visiting the gym altogether. Don’t make that mistake!

Technique #3 – Develop A Routine

Sometimes the biggest challenge can be figuring out when to schedule in your workout. The way I see it, youve got two options – you can either try to fit in your workouts around your life, or you make your workouts part of your life. If you want any of these workout motivation techniques to work, then you need to choose the latter option.

How do you do that? It’s not nearly as difficult as you’d think; it just takes a little discipline. Take JJ Watt, a Defensive End for the Houston Texans (they are an NFL team). During their playing season, after crushing it all day in the gym and in practise, he goes home and gets straight into bed at 7:30pm.


I follow a lot of athletes on Instagram and they exactly are the same. They wake up every day at 6am to work out, like a metronome. I’m not saying you need to go to the same extremes, however if you really want to see an improvement in your fitness then you need to put your fitness first!

Technique #4 – Get Pumped

Although some people in the gym might appear to be total douchebags as they parade around whilst listening to their obnoxiously loud music, it may actually be helping them to lift heavier and run more efficiently.

On multiple occasions I’ve listened to a song or watched a movie and when it’s over I’ve felt really motivated to get out there and actually do something – and for good reason. One of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, Costas Karageorghis, wrote that ‘one could think of music as a type of legal performance-enhancing drug’[1].

One of my favourite workout motivation techniques involves watching YouTube videos with top-tier athletes doing something really impressive. It always inspires me to train harder, without fail. Hopefully it’ll have the same effect on you, too!

Technique #5 – Train With A Partner

Despite your best efforts, there will be times when you on your own are not enough. That’s where a training partner comes in – their presence alone can help to get you psyched up and ready to train hard. On the days when you’re not feeling your best they can help you push through and when they don’t have much in the tank you can return the favour.


This is one of the most successful workout motivation techniques for me personally, as I find having someone there to compete against always makes me work harder. Ive trained with a partner for nearly 3 years and although we both have days where we dont want to train at all, its clear that the both of us have benefited from training alongside each other.

Usually you’ll want to train with someone that’s around your own fitness levels as it helps to keep things competitive. From time to time, if you can find someone that’s leaps and bounds ahead of you then it’ll give your training attitude and motivation a serious boost!

Technique #6 – Reward Yourself

I’m not talking about giving yourself a trophy every time you go to the gym or eating a cupcake every time you make it up the stairs, so don’t get your hopes up. Im talking about rewarding yourself with something meaningful after you’ve put in some serious hard work.

The trick is finding what reward will motivate you. For a lot of people, especially if you’re trying to eat clean, the reward will be food. It doesn’t have to be – you could go out for a nice meal, get a massage or even pick up some new gym trainers. Making it personal will dramatically increase its effectiveness!


It’s easy to argue that losing weight or getting stronger are the real rewards – and I agree with that. There’s nothing better than being healthy. Getting there, on the other hand, can be a long and sometimes frustrating road so every now and then you need a little something to help you on your way.

Technique #7 – Track Your Progress

Having goals is important but if you’re not tracking your progress towards them, you risk losing focus and eventually ending up back at square one. There are loads of different ways to track your progress, you just need to find the one that works for you.

Taking pictures is a great way of seeing your body transform over time, whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle. Notepads or excel spreadsheets make perfect logbooks to track your times and your personal bests. If you’re serious, don’t forget to track what you eat too. You know what they say; champions are made in the kitchen!

Hopefully one or more of these workout motivation techniques will help you train that little bit harder on the days when you’re not feeling one hundred percent. Do you know any more techniques to get motivated for the gym? Let me know what works for you in the comments!

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