How Do Fitness Trainers Stay Motivated to Exercise?

by Matt Weik

I’ve been in the industry for over a decade now and I get asked quite frequently from clients how I stay motivated to exercise when I’m constantly surrounded by it every day by putting clients through workouts as well as doing my own. The thought never crossed my mind until people started asking me, so I figured it would be a great opportunity to share it as it’s something you too can implement into your routines to stay focused and motivated whether you are a trainer or not. Below are a few ways that I, myself, along with many other trainers I am friends with, have found it easy to stick to and stay motivated when it comes to exercise.

1. Set goals

Personally, goal setting to me and investing in the time writing them down is as good as gold. I’m not the type of person who likes to go through life on a whim. I like to have structure and goals in place. I enjoy having something to work towards and allowing myself the ability to measure my goals at any given point to check on my progress and reevaluate if needed. I write down short term goals that lead a clear path to my long-term goals. Having these goals in place and where I can see them as a constant reminder keeps me motivated.

2. Listen to music

Anyone who knows my background knows I was a radio DJ about a decade ago. That part-time career lasted several years before I finally gave it up to pursue my career in the fitness industry. But, I still have a love for music to this day. If I’m having a bad day, music can instantly put me in a better mood. So, it’s only natural that I listen to music while I’m working out. Some people consider music a crutch when lifting, that it’s an “artificial energy source” but I don’t listen to all that noise. To me, music puts me in a better mood, keeps me pumped up and energized, and allows me to stay motivated to exercise. There are plenty of days (and I’m sure this is true for you as well) where I simply don’t want to work out. In fact, I try talking myself out of hitting the gym. I end up putting my headphones on and crank up the tunes and instantly it’s like someone flipped a switch. I’m ready to do battle with the iron—and I end up having a great workout despite not even wanting to lift earlier.

3. Work out with another trainer

Some people will raise an eyebrow on this one, but trust me, it’s extremely motivating to work with a trainer. Many will ask why I would want to work with a trainer if I, myself, am a trainer. And the answer is actually very simple. I want to be pushed further than I would normally go myself. Failure hits and all of a sudden you stop your set. Working with a trainer, they help push you through the pain and pump you up to give it your all. Good days, bad days, any day is a good day to work with a trainer and have them put you through a workout. Another way I stay motivated through the use of a trainer is allowing them to put me through a workout that I don’t know about ahead of time. I walk in, and they put me through the ringer without even knowing what’s coming next. One exercise after the next where I have no clue what I’m in store for. It’s motivating to do something different and get out of your comfort zone. That’s what we as trainers do best, we push you to be better and perform at your best. So, whether you are a trainer or not, I highly recommend working with a trainer if you want something new or different or want someone to push you a little harder and bring back that motivation to stick to your goals. It’s well worth the time and investment in my opinion.

4. Take a class

Guys, I’m not saying you need to start doing Pilates if it’s not your thing. And ladies, I’m not telling you to go to a boot camp class if that’s out of your comfort zone. But, classes are a great way to break the boredom of exercise programs and increase your motivation levels. A cycling class is a great way to break free from the treadmill. And a Body Pump class is a great way to introduce resistance training to women who tend to be afraid to walk into the weight room and feel the cardio room is their safe zone. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, change can take your motivation to the next level and keep you progressing towards your health and fitness goals. Just because you are leaving your comfort zone does not mean you won’t have fun and enjoy yourself. Classes are also a great way to exercise in a group setting if you aren’t comfortable exercising by yourself. Everyone in class is there for the same reason and everyone helps keep each other motivated. Change things up and see how you respond. Your mind and body will thank you.

5. Exercise with friends

If a buddy calls me up and wants to work out I’m always down. Exercising with friends is a great way to motivate and push each other through a grueling workout. It doesn’t even matter if your strength levels are polar opposites. And don’t be surprised if your strength even increases when you’re working out with friends. The competitive nature in you might help you squeeze out some extra reps or add another plate to the bar. Exercising with friends is extremely motivating and I’d recommend considering it whenever possible.

6. Take a workout outdoors

Trainers spend a good amount of time indoors working with clients; therefore, there’s something about the great outdoors that clears my head. A little natural vitamin D is always good too. We get into a routine of hitting our workouts in a gym setting that by simply taking it outdoors it reignites your motivation level and builds up your eagerness to exercise. Obviously, depending on where you live and what season it is will depend on if you’re going to be able to take things outdoors. But, whenever possible, do your cardio outside or take some dumbbells or a barbell and plates outside and enjoy the sun and nice weather. There’s something freeing when you can do cardio outside versus cooped up in a gym somewhere. Going for a hike is another great way to stay motivated. When you’re trekking through the woods and checking out the scenery around you, it’s as if you completely forget your “exercising.” When the temperature is nice and you’re ready to get motivated, hit the outdoors.


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