4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate You to Exercise

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4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate You to Exercise

4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate You to Exercise

Frequently, new clients tell us the number one factor that’s stopped them from working out in the past is “lack of motivation.” They know the science. They’ve paid the monthly gym membership, even though they’ve been absent. They’re not happy with the way they look or feel. Their inner voice repeatedly asks, “Why can’t you just do this?” Sound familiar?

Certainly working with a qualified and experienced personal trainer is a solution to get you to regularly work out. If you choose in-home personal training, you really have no excuses because you don’t have to leave your house. It’s super convenient. But in the meantime, here are 4 tips – all backed by science – to help you get over the motivation hump.

1- Reward Yourself.

Make the benefits of working out tangible with an extrinsic reward, recommends Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Create a habit loop. Put your gym bag, your walking shoes or your bike helmet next to the front door and then after you exercise, reward yourself so your brain makes the connection that the behavior (exercise) is worthwhile (reward). Mind the treat! Treat does not mean eating a hot fudge sundae. A treat can be getting a mani-pedi, getting a massage, watching a movie, a nice hot bath or going to a ball game. This will increase the odds that the routine will become a habit, according to Duhigg.

The more and more that you do this, the more your brain will associate exercise with a surge of endorphins: brain chemicals that make you feel good and give you a rush after you work out. Once your brain is trained to recognize that post-workout feeling as the reward, you won’t need the treat.

2- Sign a Commitment Contract.

Research shows we are more likely to follow through with promises when we make them public to our friends and family. Need more motivation? Sign a contract with yourself and agree to pay your partner or friend $20 every time you skip a workout.

Stanford University Assistant Professor of medicine, Dr. Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, and co-author of the study titled, The Behavioral Economics of Exercise Habits found that people who created on-line contracts via the site Stickk.com were more likely to stay motivated, especially if the contract was for a longer duration.

3- Positive Thinking With a Plan.

Positive thinking is more effective if we include more realistic problem-solving methods, suggests New York University Psychologist and author of Rethink Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation Gabriele Oettingen, Ph.D.

Dr. Oettingen recommends the following recipe for success:

  • Identify your wish or goal
  • Visualize the outcome
  • Identify what’s holding you back from that outcome and create a plan that addresses it

For example, if you can’t seem to get to gym after work and it’s because you’re too tired, try morning workouts or try squeezing in at least some exercise at lunch or perhaps pack a gym bag and go directly to the gym after work. The results of one study by Dr. Oettingen found that individuals who used positive thinking but also created a plan to combat any obstacles had higher rates of success.

4- Pay Yourself.

Research shows that money motivates. Pay yourself an amount out of your budget to workout and put it in a piggy bank. Maybe you draw from that bank every two weeks… maybe at the end of the month. Either way, use the money and splurge because you earned it!

Research comparing monetary incentives and exercise found that individuals who were paid $100 to go workout at the gym doubled their attendance. Check out the app “Pact” in which fellow users will pay you to stick with your plan. If you miss a session you authorize the app to charge your pay pal or credit card account. If you reach your goal, you get paid out of a common fund!

Let science guide you and put these tips into practice. Soon you’ll be among those that can’t imagine skipping a workout!

As personal trainers in St. Louis, we can help you stay motivated and get results. Remember, exercise is the best 401k Plan you could ever invest in!

To learn more about weight training in St. Louis or to start a weight-training program of your own, contact us here.

Read 3727 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 September 2015 19:22

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