Mental Health

How to stay motivated to go to the gym

February 25, 2022
How to stay motivated to go to the gym

Look in any gym forum and you’ll find someone asking – how to stay motivated to go to the gym

The replies are many from:

  1. Listen to motivational speeches, music
  2. Give yourself a goal and set a date
  3. Choose small incremental goals
  4. Get a training partner
  5. Ask someone to keep you accountable
  6. Find yourself a Personal Trainer

And whilst those are all valid points, will it keep you motivated?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve listened to this on many occassions::

And, I’ve listened to all the guys below

  • Tony Robins
  • Eric Tomas
  • Robert Kiyosaki
  • Les Brown (my personal Favourite)
  • C T Fletcher

They are amazing,

In the moment you get lost in their words, transported to a place where you can achieve anything.

And then…..

The speech goes off, along with the motivation.

So what happens

Why is it, the motivation never lasts

Why is it, the burning desire to get fit in the beginning is now slowly becoming a distant memory

Why is it harder to motivate yourself to train

Why can’t you be bothered??

Bloody mind games

If you find yourself wanting the drive and passion back.

If you find yourself asking the question “how do I stay motivated to go to the gym”

Ask yourself one more.

Have I ever had one of these thoughts:

  • It’s too early in the morning to train
  • I work too many hours and feel to tired
  • I have a new job so it’s difficult to train
  • I have family commitments
  • I’m getting to old the body aches who am I kidding
  • I need to get fitter, before I really commit
  • I need to get my diet right before I commit
  • Its too hard
  • [something not in the list above}

See its not motivation you need.

It’s switching off that ‘monkey mind’

The monkey what??

The monkey mind.

It’s that voice in the head.

The one that has a full on conversation with itself, and before you know it, that 6am alarm has gone from a wake up call to train, to the reason your entire life is going to shit!

What better way to explain the monkey mind that someone well practiced in dealing with it:

You see.

Motivation isn’t the problem.

You don’t have lack of motivation.

You have abundance of “talk yourself out of that shit”


Your mind is the problem!

You see the monkey mind, rarely shuts up, if ever.

It fills our head with negativity  affects our mood, making us unhappy, angry, restless, and anxious.

It hampers our ability to concentrate; and has a negative impact on our behaviour

You thought you just needed some motivational content.

A quick fix 101 article on how to stay motivated to go to the gym

Truth is.

You just need to recognise your mind like to sabotage you.

It hates change, and wallows in comfort.

The exact opposite of going to the gym!

It’s your unconscious mind convincing you NOT TO GO!

Learn some mind tricks

So now we know about the monkey mind, let’s explore 5 tips to help quieten down the voices, and get you on track at the gym!

Like the monks, we must become the master of our mind, or atleast aware of the tricks it likes to play.

Step 1.
Understand your monkey mind can be tamed.

You’ve taken the first step, awareness will mean your thoughts won’t rule you, you will rule your thoughts.

Step 2.
Say hi to your monkey mind

This may sound bonkers, but I did this method when I first learnt of the monkey mind.

Have a conversation with it, I thought of mine as a friend that didn’t like me, (as it was always hampering my efforts)

But once you start to converse with it, ask it the question, “what do you want?”.

after all, it just wants to be heard:

  • It may be trying to remind you of something, usually something you’ve pushed back, avoided, make a note and schedule to do it
  • Maybe its anxious about something in the future, reassure it, everything will be fine, imagine the worse case scenario, and come up with a contingency plan
  • Past issues may also need to be resolved, often they are left bubbling in the back, but once faced, they really aren’t as bad as your thoughts had you believe.

Step 3.
Ohhhhhm – meditate.

Another one I practice, and fully recommend!

In fact, if you think you don’t have a monkey mind, meditate, and see what comes up!

I thought I was doing it all wrong.

I thought I would never grasp the skill of meditation, as my bloody mind wouldn’t shut the fuck up!!!

Seriously to begin with, I’d be lucky to last 2 seconds before, oh, here he comes………

Luckily there are a load of Apps, vids, books on meditation.

Again this was just my experience.

But start with quick guided meditations.

The one that worked for me was insight timer.

how to stay motivated to go to the gym

Stick with it!

Eventually you get to quieten the mind!

Step 4. Stop assigning meaning

We put too much meaning into everything.

The gym is an hour, whilst we are worrying about missing out on other things, the pain the DOMS the next day, the extra effort I’m making now….. the list goes on.

We could be, in train, out, done!

“While you were overthinking, you missed everything worth feeling.”
― Nitya Prakash

Step 5. Engage the mind

The beauty of this step is, it can be achieved at the gym! But!!! Only when you’re working out HARD!

I written about this before, and the fact that for me the gym is like meditation, I concentrate so hard on what I am doing, the monkey mind quiets down and I have a rest.

The gym it turns out, needs to be attended to shut the mind off for an hour or so 🙂

Finally, now we know, its not motivation that is required, what’s the final step to take?

Stop looking for motivation stick with dedication

So now you’re aware of your thoughts, and you start practicing methods to curb its destructive behaviour, let’s not waste our time trying to chase the feeling that got you started.

That initial kick.

That initial motivation.

Yes it was awesome.

Just appreciate that it happened.

Acknowledge something in you directed you to start training.

Be happy that you shifted

Be glad you made that change.

But don’t go looking for the same feeling that got you started.

The journey has began.

Let’s not go back to the begninnig

Keep moving forward

Keep making small steps forward

Keep hitting the gym

Keep getting yourself to the squat rack, to the bench, pick up that battle rope.

Keep going.

Quieten down that mind, and keep going!

Because one day.

That dedication will become so ingrained in who you are, you no longer think about ‘having’ to go to the gym.

You’ll just find yourself there!

You’ll no longer require motivation to go, because you’ll forget what it feels like to not train

You’ll forget what it feel like to not be healthy.

You’ll will have changed so much. the monkey mind will have found something else to focus on.

And, even if it does come back!

You’ll be able to quieten it down as you rep out your first set!


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