It can be really hard to get motivated enough to make exercising and going to the gym a priority in life.

There are a million other things you COULD be doing when it’s time to get fit, but you need to make it a priority, buckle down, and JUST DO IT. At least that’s what I do.

But, everyone’s different…

People on AskReddit talked about how they stay motivated to keep in shape.

Let’s take a look.

1. Run!

“Running is my antidepressant. I haven’t been able to run in a year because of covid (I run at the gym where there’s a daycare). My mental health is at rock bottom. Finally got back this week, feels amazing.

I’m pretty terrible at running. Even after a year of 3x a week my pace was awful. But I don’t run to get “results”, I run because it feels good. To clarify, being done feels good, the actual running is always hard.

Highly recommend a couch to 5k app if you want to get into running. Having a program makes a huge difference.”

2. Put it on the list.

“I used to hate it and get a feeling of “getting away with it” by not doing my exercise routine. After several months of doing it consistently (nothing else to do during Covid…) now I feel like s**t if I don’t do it.

It’s funny how the routine itself becomes more motivation than any benefit you see.

Now instead of “I have to work out today” it’s “maybe I get it done early so I have that marked off the list for today”.”

3. Make it work for you.

“15 years ago I had not done any regular exercise and it was impossible to change my habits and get into it. I tried many things and failed.

But then I finally found something that works for me and have been working out regularly 3-5x per week for 9 years. Now, if I don’t exercise, I don’t feel right and it bothers me until I go. There is no problem staying motivated to exercise. It’s actually difficult to not exercise.

It’s all about establishing the habit. Changing your habit is the hard part which does not really take that long, just a few months. The habit could be being a couch potato or exercising. But once the habit is established it’s easy to keep.”

4. Discipline.

“I wake up at 5am to get to the gym by 530 every weekday.

If I skip a day the chances that I make it the rest of the week pretty rapidly drop to 0%. I’ve had times where I would go every day for years, then I miss a day, then two, then 8-9 months and a year plus, just because I didn’t make it one day.

I have awful anxiety probably depression, and going to the gym helps a lot. Even if I’m only able to be there for 20 minutes, I’ll go just to show up.

Discipline is key for me. If I don’t go, I won’t go. Anybody’s who’s anxious about going to the gym, just make time and go. Nobody is going to judge you. The “meat heads” who are there every day, know what it takes to show up every day so you get nothing but respect for being there.”

5. Motivation.

“Motivation is kindling. It burns easy, but it doesn’t burn long. Use it to start but don’t rely on it.

Habit is twigs and sticks. Easy to get going once you have motivation, burns a bit longer, but eventually you’ll break habit. You’ll have to stay late after work, the gym has maintenance, there’s a global pandemic… and you can’t go for long enough that you no longer want to go.

Discipline is a log. It’s an identity. I train because… I train. There is no why. There is no reason. To be me is to train. If the gym is closed, I train at home. If I am injured, I train what is healed.

You don’t stay motivated. You start motivated.

6. It becomes fun!

“Find the right routine and exercises and it becomes fun and enjoyable.

I’ve been lifting over a decade – want to take a guess at how many exercises I absolutely hate? There’s dozens, but there are equally as many that I enjoy. Find what you like and stick to it.”

7. Burning ’em up!

“Not wanting to have to achieve my calorie deficit thru further diet restrictions.

I’ve been able to lose about a pound a week via moderate fasting and burning an extra 3000-4000 calories at the gym. Without the extra calorie burn, I would have to give up way more food that I really enjoy.

It’s a quality of life calculation. I like the food more than I hate the gym.”

8. You won’t regret it.

“I run, hike, and lift weights. It’s not really a matter of motivation, I just like doing it. Also, I really don’t like NOT doing it.

If I’m ever on the fence about doing any workout, I remind myself that I have never regretted a workout I have done, even if I have to dial it back a bit for some reason.

I always feel better after a work out, and never feel good about missing one.”

9. No excuses.

“It becomes a habit. But what I did to make it a habit was two things:

Stick to a schedule.

Remove your excuses

My biggest excuse was how time consuming it was to pack, drive to the gym, train, shower and drive back. Half of that time was not even spent exercising. So I made my own gym at home, with benches, racks, weights and a TV to run a show on while I train. Also I exercise often, but short durations, because I’ll always be able find the time.

So listen to the excuses you make, and address them. Also, realize that being tired is a poor excuse, as exercise will energize you – do some light exercise if you are tired.”

10. That works, too.

“Quite honestly, spite.

Got dumped by my ex so I started hitting the gym religiously just on the off chance that I run into her again and can make her feel dumb for dumping me.”

11. Mix it up.

“Enjoy it.

Variety. Weight training is about controlled adaptation. If you keep doing the same things forever, you won’t continue adapting, and you’ll ‘plateau’.

When this happens, you stop progressing, and you stop getting all that nice feedback from your body.

That doesn’t mean ‘do different stuff all the time’; it means, ‘make a week-by-week plan that includes periodic variation’.

Don’t focus on ‘results’, but on process.”

12. Good tips.

“Find a sport or activity you enjoy.

Find some metric in that activity that you can try and measure. Monitor your ability between when you are exercising properly and when you aren’t. Motivation gets easy when you can separate the results.

I wrestle. I can measure the point in which I gas out between when I’m running good numbers and when I’m not. I can tell if I’m going to have good endurance on the mats based on my 5k times. I hate running, but when you see the results, motivation is easy. Repeat with weight lifting, etc.

Now I just need to find something to motivate me when the pandemic closes the gym and I’ve got no opportunity to compete anytime soon”.

13. Need an escape.


It can get so bloody boring, that you need an escape. That is why my elliptic and my weights are in front of the TV. Ever since I turned the exercise room into a TV room and left the machines where they were, I have lost a lot of weight and gained a considerable amount of muscle mass.

Disclaimer: Only dissociate if it is safe to do so, it is a small weight and there are safety measures, you don’t want to do that with a kettlebell or anything like that.”

Now we want to hear from you.

In the comments, tell us how you stay motivated when you exercise.

We look forward to it!