How do I motivate myself to work out?

You know that I don’t like to work out. I’ve said it before and I’ll most likely say it again. If I didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t. So how do I motivate myself to work out?

I’ve talked about getting motivated before, about losing motivation, about getting motivated to start exercising, but I’ve been at this a while. What does it take to get me off the couch?

There are 3 things I think about when I need to get myself motivated:

1. It’ll be over before I know it.

How do I motivate myself to exercise when I don't want to

Once I start, I know that it’ll be over. 45 minutes is nothing. Some workouts are just 30 minutes. Once I push “play,” I let the instructor take over my brain. I release all thought and simply focus on the moves.

Unless the dogs get into it. Then I push “pause” and deal with them. Then I push “play” again.

The exercise programs I choose usually have very upbeat music, so it’s easy for me to get lost in the music and the movements and just concentrate on holding my stomach in, keeping my back straight, using the proper muscles – the workout itself.

2. If I don’t workout, then I’ll have to …

I know that I’ll feel guilty if I don’t work out, so I tell myself that if I don’t work out, I’ll have to do something that I don’t want to do even more. Like cleaning out the pantry. Or my desk. Something even lower on my list of things I don’t like to do.

In this case, exercising is the lesser of 2 evils. So I exercise.

3. That shower is going to feel so good!

The third thing I say when I want to motivate myself to work out is to promise myself a reward. Yes, that steamy shower with the fragrant body wash is a reward. It’s the incentive I give myself for getting as sweaty as possible. Any reward will do, but it’s a reward I give myself almost every day so I can’t go too crazy!

And that’s how I motivate myself to do something I really don’t want to do. Easy.

Sometimes it’s just hard

No matter the motivation, the inspiration, sometimes it’s just hard to get up the get-up-and-go to work out. Like yesterday for me. I know all the reasons to exercise. I write about them, for goodness’ sake.

But sometimes even all that knowledge just isn’t good enough to inspire me to exercise.

I know the benefits

I knew that once I started and felt everything start to tingle with the warm-up, the workout would be over before I knew it.

I also knew that when the workout was over and the final stretch and cool-down began, all those endorphins would be racing through my body and I’d feel fantastic. And that shower when I was done would feel better than great.

And I knew that I’d sleep better if I worked out. And that I would be in a better mood. And that my blood pressure would go down, I’d be able to concentrate and focus better, and that I would have even more energy after my workout. (For more benefits of exercise, read

Not enough

But that did not convince me to change into my workout gear and exercise. The dogs were not helping, they were being cute so I didn’t want to stop playing with them.

What did make me change and start my workout?

Pasta with bolognese sauce.

It was hard finding motivation. The spaghetti motivated me to work out.

My favorite. I’m a pasta-holic. I love pasta, especially my mom’s “spaghetti.” When we were growing up, mom would make spaghetti every month or so and it was always my sister’s and my favorite. Only when we were adults we learned that it was really pasta with bolognese sauce – a hifalutin’ word if ever there was one. Pasta – didn’t matter the shape – in a rich, tomato-ey sauce with caramelized onions and ground beef.

And it was for dinner. There was no way I wanted to feel guilty about consuming loads of calories of my favorite dish, and I certainly was not going to skimp on the portion size. We don’t have it that often any more.

No guilt

So I changed and worked out.

And, yes, the warmup felt good. It was an intense and sweaty workout. The stretch and cool-down felt better. The shower afterward was absolutely divine.

Best of all – no guilt. And I ate all my pasta.