When it comes to working out and many other things in life, half the battle is just showing up! We completely agree that if you establish a routine where you are consistently working out or “showing up”, it will go a long way towards sustainable success.  However, in fitness especially, we believe too much emphasis is placed on just showing up, and not enough about how you workout once you get started.

When going for a run, or going to a fitness class, it can be easy to go through the workout without much thought.  After all, sometimes it’s a big deal to get out of bed or out of work and make it on time!  Trust me, Elyse and I have had these moments!  However, we have also been talking to each other about ways we tap into that extra motivation during a workout to focus and push harder.  When we do this, we feel better about our workout, and see lasting results.  In this post, I will give you a few examples of how we find that extra motivation and put it into action during our workouts.

Set a “mini goal” before you start your workout.

Say you are going for a 3 mile run, and it is not meant to be done for speed.  Our advice is not necessarily to run faster, as we understand that going all out every single run is not good for you when running regularly.  However, this does not mean you should always just go through the motions either.  Set some mini goals for yourself within the run, such as working on your form, picking up the pace for the last few minutes, or working on your breathing techniques.  Having these intentional goals built into your workout will make it more effective and leave you feeling accomplished.

Commit to checking in with yourself every 10 minutes during the workout.

For this one, let’s say you are taking a 50 minute spinning class.  Every 10 minutes (or every couple of songs), check in with how you are doing on your workout.  Could you be pushing yourself more?  On the contrary, are you burning yourself out too fast?  Is your form good?  Bringing just a few seconds of awareness to what you are actually doing can allow you to adjust and make your entire workout effective.

Set lofty goals, and bring them to your workout.

Maybe your goal is to shave a minute or two off your 5K time, or increase weight on a specific movement beyond your personal best.  Have a goal like this, and then remind yourself of it during your workout.  When I have a goal of running a personal best in an upcoming road race, I regularly think about it during my sprint workouts, as I know that lofty goal will not happen by just showing up.  This provides me extra drive and focus during the workout, which in turn gets me closer to that lofty goal.

The 1 minute burst.

This is not applicable to every workout (such as the easy run in the first example), but if you are doing a workout that has moments of high intensity, commit to really bringing it for a minute at a time when you are feeling tired.  For example, maybe you are halfway through a bootcamp class with a lot of cardio. Everyone is really tired, and the pace has noticeably slowed from the beginning of the class.  Try to commit to giving an extra burst of energy for just one minute.  This can really give you an amazing jolt for the rest of the class, and actually motivate you to do this more as the class finishes up.  However, when you do this, please be careful that you are keeping good form and not overdoing it. Working hard is great, but also recognize when you are about to push your body too far.  Be honest with yourself – can you go harder, or do you need to back off? You know your body best!

Do something instead of nothing.

Just because you have a nagging injury or do not have the strength to do an exercise, does not mean you should do nothing.  For example, you may be working on your side plank, and can only hold it for a short time.  Do what you can but then move into a variation, such as kick-standing your bottom leg, to finish out your set.  Same goes if you have a nagging injury.  Ask your instructor for a modified version that will allow you to do something, but in a way that won’t risk further injury. That way you are not just skipping something or doing nothing, but rather still building strength and allowing yourself to heal.


We hope these tips help to motivate you beyond the “just showing up” phase.  We want to reiterate that moving beyond this phase does not mean constantly trying to work harder and harder.  Rather, it is about being thoughtful and intentional with all of your workouts.  This will allow you to build proper form, tap into extra motivation, and get through those annoying plateaus so you can reach your goals.

We want to hear the ways you stay motivated throughout a workout, so comment below or get in touch with us on social media @fairburnitoff!

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