This article contains 12 actionable tips that will help you motivate yourself to exercise at home.
There’s a lot to love about gyms. They offer professional-grade fitness equipment, various classes, and direct access to fitness trainers who will motivate you and help you to achieve the correct form to minimize the risk of injury and get the most benefit from your sessions.
Many members also enjoy the high-energy atmosphere and being able to catch up with workout buddies. And paying for a gym membership can help to keep people on track.
You will have none of this when exercising at home. However, not everyone wants to join a gym. Some people prefer to work out in privacy or dislike what can sometimes be a competitive environment.
Others are busy, and if they don’t live near a gym, they may find it difficult. Others are busy, and if they don’t live near a gym, they may find it difficult to travel back and forth.
For some, the decision to work out at home could be financial. And these days, Covid-19 has forced many of us to do home workouts.
Whether you love or hate the gym, working out is essential to lose weight or improve or maintain your fitness. Not for a week or a month, but many months. In fact, for life.
This prospect may seem daunting, but most people look forward to working out once they adopt a regular fitness routine.
Keep reading for tips on how to get motivated to exercise at home.
Why Home Workouts can be Difficult
Home workouts aren’t new, but their popularity is greater than it ever has been. Working out at home has always been my preference, but for some, finding the motivation to exercise at home doesn’t come easily.
When this is the case, it can be easy to find excuses to skip workouts, particularly if you are tired from working all day, sitting in traffic on your way home, shopping for dinner ingredients, cooking dinner, then washing up. And if you have young kids, there’s homework to check, baths to supervise, and the list goes on.
In such a situation, the chances are that your motivation for exercise will be low, and crashing on the couch in front of the TV will probably be far more appealing than getting changed, driving to the gym to work out for an hour, then driving back home.
This is where home workouts shine, and with the variety on offer, you’ll have plenty of choices. You can do bodyweight exercises, use weights or fitness bands, fitness DVDs, or various types of cardio equipment. Space and budget permitting, you can do all of these. You will still have to put in the work, but you can exercise at any time and in your pajamas if you feel like it.
Your biggest challenge will be staying on track and working towards your fitness goals long-term.
So how can you motivate yourself to exercise at home? Keep reading to find out.
Tips to Motivate Yourself to Exercise at Home
1) Mix things up –
If you find you’re lacking the motivation to exercise at home, try mixing things up. You won’t necessarily need to buy a lot of expensive equipment to do this, nor will you need a lot of room if you choose wisely.
If your available space and budget are minimal, buy some fitness bands or a pair of dumbbells. A mini stepper is another excellent option that offers cardio and muscle toning.
Keep an open mind and try something new.
Adding variety will keep you engaged and lessen the likelihood you will get bored. And, because your workouts will be targetting different muscle groups and fitness aspects, you will get fit faster.
2) Make a dedicated workout space –
If you lack motivation for exercise, don’t give yourself an excuse to skip workouts.
Not everyone has the luxury of a home gym, but if possible, set aside a space for your workouts and keep it free. Moving your coffee table a few inches isn’t too bad if need be, but shifting heavy furniture before and after every session is not ideal.
Nor is lugging heavy fitness equipment from your garage to your loungeroom, unfolding in, then folding and hauling it back after your workout.
If you need to do this and your workouts involve a stationary bike, treadmill, or the like, choose a lightweight model with transportation wheels. And, if possible, move it to your workout space first thing in the morning when you are fresh. That way, you won’t need to shift it after a hard day at work. That could be enough of a barrier to prevent you from working out.
3) Set Goals –
Setting fitness goals is excellent for motivation.
List some short, medium, and long-term fitness goals. Work towards achieving these, ticking them off as you succeed. Your goals should change as your fitness improves.
Your short-term fitness goal could be to exercise four times a week for thirty minutes every week for a month. After achieving this, you could make a medium-term plan to work out for one hour five times a week within three to six months.
A long-term goal could be to double your speed, distance, or the weight of the dumbbells you lift within 12 months.
Other goals may center around your weight, BMI, or measurements.
4) Create a workout schedule –
Following a workout schedule is another excellent way to motivate yourself to exercise at home.
Decide how many hours a week you want to work out and create a workout program that reflects this. Make it achievable. If you’ve never exercised before, planning to exercise one hour every day could be setting yourself up to fail, and when you do, you could give up, so start small.
Fifteen or twenty minutes three times a week is a good starting point if you are unfit. Increase your effort as you progress, and try adding five minutes to each session every couple of weeks.
Build up to thirty or more minutes per session, then add an extra session or two, if desired.
Make your workouts “must-dos” not optional. Knowing your schedule in advance will also enable you to adjust the days you exercise to fit in your hours if other commitments crop up that you can’t defer or cancel.
5) Keep a fitness journal –
I’ve kept a fitness log since the day I started exercising, and it’s really helped to keep me on track.
I note the workouts I’ve done, the length of each, and the date. I don’t refer to it, but it has enabled me to meet my exercise quota every week for over two decades. It’s helped keep me on track on those days I don’t feel like exercising as I don’t want to let myself down.
A fitness journal will also enable you to view your progress.
6) Dress the part –
Nothing is stopping you from exercising in your PJs if that’s what you want to do. However, studies have shown that wearing exercise gear can motivate us to work out, especially if it is brightly colored.
These days, it’s acceptable to wear sweats or lycra just about anywhere, so if you’ll be working out on the weekend, put yours on when you get up before you pop out to have a latte.
During the week, get changed into your exercise gear when you arrive home from work.
This way, you’ll be ready to exercise at a minute’s notice.
7) Team up with a workout buddy –
If you lack motivation for exercise, invite your partner or a friend to work out with you. Set goals and challenges, aiming to reach these together, or challenge each other to see who gets their first.
Push yourselves, but not to the extent you sustain an injury. See who can be the first to complete a 100 Squat challenge, achieve a Lotus Pose in yoga, or do a Zumba workout without stopping.
A little friendly competition is fun. It can do wonders for motivation, and you won’t want to let your friend down by skipping workouts.
8) Join an online fitness community –
No workout buddy? No problem!
Today’s technology allows you to connect and work out virtually with fitness fans on sites such as Google Hangout and Bodyspace.
Online communities provide access to workouts and get support and encouragement from personal trainers and other group members.
I belong to the Figure 8 Facebook Community Group, which is free to join after buying Figure 8 Fitness.
You could also follow well-known personal trainers on social media. Many post free workout routines and sometimes online classes.
9) Make use of cell phone apps and health and fitness magazines –
Cell phone apps offer another excellent way to motivate yourself to exercise at home. Freeletics and Jefit are popular choices. Both apps have free and paid versions.
The free versions give access to a very comprehensive range of workouts and tools that simplify planning your sessions and tracking your progress.
The paid versions are personalized and provide access to coaching, plus some extra handy features.
Health and fitness magazines offer another means to motivate yourself to exercise. Seeing the images of people who have transformed their bodies and reading their stories can be very inspiring.
Magazines are more portable and convenient to use than a laptop. You can peruse them in the bath and rip out your favorite pages to stick on your fridge door as a deterrent to overeating and a visual reminder of your fitness goal.
10) Try Exergames –
Exergames, such as those from Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Wii, and Kinect, are so much fun you will look forward to doing them. They are played using a console, with the action displayed on your television screen.
Workouts involve standing and moving, playing virtual games, sports, or physical activities. Examples include tennis, bowling, soccer, skateboarding, and dancing. Though it feels like play, studies have shown that the games can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill.
Smartphone apps are another alternative that work in much the same way. Some games are interactive and involve you being the start of the story, which could be you fleeing from a crowd of zombies.
NB: Some games require a free space of at least 5′ to 6′ all around.
11) Distract Yourself –
When you find a form of exercise you love, your motivation for exercise will come easily. Even so, there may be days you don’t feel like working out.
My way around this is to watch Netflix, call a friend, or listen to music, talkback radio, or an audiobook during my workout.
Once I start, I’m good to go, and when the endorphins kick in, I sail through the rest of the workout.
12) Reward Yourself –
Motivate yourself to exercise by rewarding yourself for every fitness goal you achieve, or for sticking to your workout for a predetermined length of time.
Make your reward something you really want that doesn’t involve eating junk food as this will defeat the purpose of getting fit.
Your reward could be a new piece of exercise equipment, sports shoes, a yoga mat, a cool T-shirt, or anything else you’ve been longing to buy.
Final Thoughts on How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise at Home
The best tip I can offer regarding how to motivate yourself to exercise at home, or anywhere for that matter, is to find a workout you love. (If you’re lucky, you’ll find more than one, as I have.) When you do, the motivation will come. And when you see and feel the result your effort and consistency bring, you won’t want to quit exercising.
I enjoy walking and alternate between it and using an elliptical trainer or following along to a fitness DVD. I’m currently doing the Figure 8 Fitness workout for the fourth time. I enjoy the workouts, love the music, and am very pleased with my results.
I also do a short Maxi Climber workout a few times a week and have done so for several years.
If you haven’t found a sport or exercise you love, keep looking, as there’s sure to be one or more that will suit you to a T.
You may also like to read 5 Exercise Motivation Tips and Fitness Strategies to Improve Performance, and check out this 20-Minite Fat Burning Workout That Can Be Done At Home.