The initial hurdle to getting fit is finding the workout motivation to get you to the gym. The first few visits are the absolute worst. Luckily, we have 19 hacks that will help get you to the gym and going back over and over again.

1. Plan shorter workouts

Just because you’re working out today doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym for an hour. Even a 10 minute workout will get your heart rate up and burn some calories. Once you finish a 10 minute workout, you might find yourself sticking around for another 10 minutes since you’re already dressed and in your workout mindset.

2. Pay if you don’t go

This is a little trick I stumbled upon a few months ago. I am not a morning workout person. Almost nothing gets me out of bed  (other than work) in the mornings. Then I discovered ClassPass and their late cancellation fee. Sounds like a pain in the butt, right? Well, it is. But there’s nothing I hate more than paying for a class and then paying to not go to a class. Don’t get me wrong. I grumbled and pouted every single morning. Until it was over. Then I was so happy to have gotten my workout out of the way for the day. That feeling of accomplishment that starts in the morning lasts with you all day.

3. Sleep in your gym clothes

Another morning workout  motivation hack is to sleep in your gym clothes. Gym clothes and pajamas aren’t all that different if you think about it. They’re stretchy and comfy and can be wrinkled without judgement. The struggle is so real in the morning, especially when it comes to physical activity before sunrise. Roll out of bed ready to go. Put your hair in a messy bun and get your booty to the gym!

4. Treat ‘yo self

What would make you sooooo happy after a workout? Is it a smoothie you usually wouldn’t spend time making? Is it a Starbuck’s latte? Or all of the above? (Try this: 1 scoop  Cookie’s ‘n Cream protein powder, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup cold brew coffee, 1 cup almond milk. Blend. It’s heaven!) Reward yourself with something that will get you moving and excited to finish your workout.

5. Make it a date

You might be willing to break a date with the treadmill, but you’re much less likely to break a date with a human. Especially one you don’t know very well. Schedule workout ‘dates’ with the new girl in the office. You’ll feel guilty ditching her so your fear of letting another person down will serve as great workout motivation!

6. Pre-workout motivation

I think it would be absolute torture to drink a pre-workout and then not work out. The key here is to take the pre-workout before you can talk yourself out of it. For example, for this hack to work, you’d want to make sure you make it a habit to reach for it right when you get home from work every day. Then move it! You’ll want to get changed and in the gym ASAP before the drink kicks in!

7. Multi-task with something you love

This one rarely fails me. As long as I’m binging on a great book or a TV series, I actually want to get my workout started. In order for this to work, find some sort of media (TV, a book or a podcast) with GREAT reviews from not just the internet, but a good friend. Then only allow yourself to watch/listen/read while you’re working out.

Related: Health hack: Get smarter while you workout

8. Schedule a race

This workout motivation hack will work if you’re a little afraid of failure. If the idea of not completing a race is scary enough to get you training, this hack might be for you! Schedule your race, determine what you need to do to train for it, and then stick to your schedule. The bonus will be how great you feel once you’ve reached your goal.

9. Write down your goals

It’s hard to keep yourself accountable if you haven’t officially written out any of your goals. Write down your fitness related goals and then break them down into smaller goals. Keep track of them in a journal on a regular basis. The act of writing down what you’re trying to accomplish will keep your objectives at the top of your mind.

Related: 3 guidelines for sticky goals

10. Get really organized

Buy a notebook, use your Google Calendar, open up a Word Doc. Whatever your process… get yourself organized. It’s so easy to ditch your plan if you don’t have one. Pick a planning day (Sundays are mine!) and write down every single workout you’ll do for the week. Don’t stop there. Predict the challenges you’ll have and plan a reward for completing all of your workouts.

Related: How to make your Google calendar the ultimate fitness tracker

11. Find virtual workout motivation

You may or may not be a lover of all things Facebook. But one thing I’ve learned recently is that there is a Facebook Group for almost everything. If you’re looking for a community of like-minded people trying to reach similar fitness goals, there is a motivational group waiting for you.

12. Make it a competition

On the other hand, a little friendly competition might give you some workout motivation as well. Challenge your girls to a workout challenge. Set individual goals, track your progress in a Google Doc and get competitive!

13. Try something new

Always wanted to try ballet? Try it out. Never tried Pilates? What are you waiting for? Working out does not have to be a chore. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You will be much more successful if you find something you love and stick to it. Some people need to switch things up on a regular basis (that’s me!) If you find yourself wanting to try all sorts of workouts, I recommend signing up for ClassPass, which will allow you to pay one monthly fee and attend a wide variety of classes.

14. Plan ahead

Pack your gym clothes, plan your healthy snacks and get ready to be successful before your workout even begins. The more you plan, the harder it will bee to skip a workout. If everything you need is in its place and ready to go, your excuses will become limited and all you’ll have left to do is go to the gym.

15. Set (very) small goals

Like, I’m talking tiny. Commit to working out for 1 minute or doing 1 push up each day. The idea for this hack is that once you finish a one minute workout, you’ll do more… and more… Read more about that here: Mini habits will help you start working out

16. Combine cardio and strength

Why spend twice as much time working out? Workouts that combine strength and cardio can cut your workout time in half and allow you to continue burning calories throughout your day (after your workout is over!). This is the ultimate workout hack! Try some of our favorite short workouts that combine strength and cardio.

17. Buy some workout clothes you love

It might hurt your bank account a little, but in the long run, it could be an investment that’s great for your health! Similar to hack number two, if you spend money on workout clothes, you’ll be motivated to use them. Also, I don’t know about you, but I always feel wayyy more athletic in new gym clothes.

18. Find a fitness app you love

My Runkeeper app and my Fitbit app not only make working out fun, but their push notifications remind me when I’m slacking. These smartphone apps were designed to keep the fun in working out. As a technology lover, I find myself very motivated by fitness tech.

19. Find a plan and don’t quit it!

Pick out a plan and stick to it for a few days. I know… it sucks when you start, but you’ll find that you begin feeling more and more motivated as you begin seeing results. The real trick? Don’t stop. Keep doing something and you begin to form a habit that doesn’t go away. Then, you’ll become your own workout motivation.

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