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6 Ways To Get Yourself Motivated For The Gym

Why Do We Lose Motivation? | How To Motivate Yourself To Go Back To The Gym | FAQs

Page last updated: 27th April 2024

When you first start a fitness routine, motivation is often high and it requires less mental effort to show up and work out. As time goes on, it's natural for motivation to drop and for days where heading to the gym and getting your exercise in can feel more like a chore.

For many people, this can lead to a drop in exercise frequency or intensity, which can mean less benefits from exercise included improved mood and higher energy, which can impact motivation even further. This can even lead to people giving up their exercise routines completely.

Sound familiar? Don't fret! If you've lost your motivation and are looking for inspiration to get to the gym, Chris Wilde, a personal trainer at PureGym Leeds, has some top tips to get you back in the gym.

Why Do We Lose Motivation to Go To The Gym?

First off, it's completely normal to lose gym motivation every once in a while, there are several reasons that can cause people to lose motivation to workout:

  • Not having accountability. Whether it's a friend to work out with, or someone who knows your goals, having a person to be accountable to other than yourself can be a great way to keep motivated. Without this, some people struggle to stay motivated to work out. 
  • Not having a strong enough purpose. If you're only going to the gym because you feel like you should, or for a short term goal such as losing weight before a holiday, it's likely your consistency and motivation levels are going to fluctuate. Without a clear goal or purpose, you may find it hard to motivate yourself to get up and go. Popular goals include improving your mental health, working towards a marathon or simply boosting your general fitness. Having a 'why' is a great way to keep you motivated.
  • **Lifestyle changes. **Sometimes life just gets in the way. Whether it's a new job, moving to a new city, a new relationship or anything else, finding the time and motivation during this time can be challenging. The key is to give yourself a break here. Don't punish yourself for having other priorities during this time. Once you're settled, try to find room to incorporate fitness back into your life, whether that's at home or a different gym.
  • **Lack of perceived progress. **The first few months of a fitness journey tends to be where people see a lot of progress, but as our bodies adapt to working out it can slow down and not being able to see progress day to day can be extremely unmotivating. It's important to remember that progress takes time, and isn't linear, but if you're someone who finds progress rewarding try tracking multiple different metrics - you'll likely see you are improving more than you thought!

Understanding the reason why you're feeling unmotivated can be helpful to tackling it, and giving yourself some compassion and kindness. Losing motivation isn't a sign of failure - it's a normal part of the exercise journey.

How To Motivate Yourself To Go Back To The Gym

There's a saying which goes, 'Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going', and this is very true when it comes to staying fit. When you have lots of small, healthy habits you can stick to is a great way to keep fit. 

Here are a few of my top tips to help you to make going to the gym a habit you can stick to

1. Have A Clear Purpose

Having a clear reason you want to work out can be a big motivator - this is your 'why'. 

Think really carefully about why you want to go to the gym and how it's going to make you feel. If you haven't already, set yourself some goals and targets that you'd like to achieve that are either going to make you happy or proud. Then every time you think of bailing on the gym, remind yourself of your overriding purpose, to help spur you on in that moment to get up and go, and make it to the gym. 

If you need some more inspiration, take a look at Find Your Motivation to Exercise.

2. Celebrate Your Achievements

Sometimes you can be your own worst critic. It can be easy to lose sight of how far you've come when you're just focusing on how far you've still got to go. 

When you feel like you aren't going anywhere, just take a moment to think about what you've improved over the last week, month or year and give yourself credit. Looking back and reflecting on your own achievements can be a great way to drive yourself forwards.

If you'd like to keep track of everything you've achieved so far, why not download our PureGym app?

3. Find Someone Who Inspires You 

Whether it's someone close to you, an athlete, or maybe even a person you've seen at the gym. Having someone to look up to that you aspire to can remind you of why you started and can help you get back on track.  

Alternatively, there might be things that inspire you to be better. Write down all the things and people that inspire you like a checklist and refer back to it when you lose your way. This should help you to get your drive back up. Going to the gym with a friend can help too, as they can help keep you accountable as well as spot you for exercises.

4. Switch Your Workouts

If your workouts start getting repetitive and predictable for you, chances are, your body and mind are probably a bit bored with your workouts too. 

Your body is very good at adapting to training stimuli. Your body is less likely to change if you keep doing the same thing over and over. If you find you're not making any progress, you might be in a fitness plateau. 

Try to continually make your workouts more challenging as you get better or stronger, whilst ensuring good form. Or try doing a different combination of exercises altogether that are still aligned with your goals. If you are unsure of alternative exercises you could be doing, you could always ask a personal trainer for advice or check out our exercise guides for ideas. 

Slightly changing what you are doing can give you a fresh perspective and could help reinvigorate your training and performance.

5. Set Yourself Regular Challenges

While the big 'why' should be your main motivator, signing up for challenges can be a good way to set yourself shorter-term goals to strive for. 

Runners do this before a long race (for example a full marathon) by taking part in races for shorter distances (like 10K or a half marathon). Perhaps set yourself a target strength or weight loss goal to reach by a specific date. Make yourself accountable by completing the challenges with friends or by sharing your journey on your social channels. Not only will you be pushing yourself to improve, but you'll be able to celebrate each achievement as you go.

6. Stack Habits Together

If you're still struggling with getting motivated to exercise, you could try pairing it with your other habits, so you can make exercising a habit you can stick to. 

Some people will pack their gym bag before they get ready for bed so they have everything they need to workout the next day. Others change into their workout gear first thing, so they don't have to bother or worry about getting changed to workout later in the day. Perhaps pick an audiobook (or some feel-good tunes!) to listen to when exercising - if you want to find out how it ends, you'll need to hit the gym. 

Alternatively, you could consider signing up to any of the fun workout apps available; many of these help to gamify your workouts or nudge you to get to the gym. The PureGym workout app, for example, helps you to set a personalised training plan, with lots of fun videos and ideas to keep you exercising.


I feel intimidated about going back to the gym after a long break. How can I overcome this?

Remember that everyone starts somewhere! Focus on your own progress rather than comparing yourself to others, and consider seeking support from gym staff or hiring a personal trainer for guidance and encouragement.

I'm super busy in life at the moment, how do I maintain my gym motivation?

Sometimes your gym routine needs be shelved to make room for family, work or other more important responsibilities. That's okay, you should prioritise self-care first and foremost. Try making your exercises shorter and more intense if time is limited or take up a fitness class that fits into your schedule a bit better.

What can I do if I feel demotivated or lose interest in going to the gym?

Everyone needs a fitness break once in a while. So, take time to reassess your goals and priorities. Maybe try some new activities outside the gym, such as yoga, hiking or dancing. As long as you're keeping fit and active, that's the most important thing!

Find ways to make it easier for you to hit the gym

Hopefully, this has helped you find some motivation for your next workout. If you're still struggling for inspiration, our fitness classes could be a great first step, or you can work with one of our personal trainers for some one-to-one support to keep you focused.

Restart your fitness journey at your nearest PureGym.

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