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Fitness Motivation: 12 Ways to Keep Going!

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

fitness motivation

Keeping fitness motivation levels high is half the battle when it comes to maintaining healthy lifestyle habits and staying fit.

I know, easier said than done, right?!

Finding the motivation necessary to work out regularly is the key to reaching your goal weight, burning fat, building muscle, and reducing chronic disease risks.

Maintain high levels of fitness motivation by changing up your workout routine often, recruiting friends or family to exercise with you, and making workouts fun!

Try the following tips and tricks to keep fitness motivation high for a lifetime.

1. Join a Men's Fitness Program

If you struggle to get to the gym or work out at home regularly, consider a fitness program specifically designed with men's needs in mind!

The Fit Father Project offers numerous fitness programs to meet your preferences, including muscle-building and weight loss plans, so you can reach the goal weight and physique you desire and maintain it for a lifetime.

Motivational support from medical experts and other members of the Fit Father Project community can give you the support necessary to keep up with your training long-term.

Try these free meal plans and workouts to get started today!

2. Set Exercise Goals

Studies show that goal setting helps increase physical activity and can reduce hip circumference, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI).

To keep fitness motivation levels high, aim to set a variety of exercise goals, which might include:

  • Workout at least 30 minutes most days of the week
  • Complete a certain number of miles doing cardiovascular exercise most days each week
  • Lift weights at least three days per week
  • Work all major muscle groups (biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, upper and lower back, abdominal muscles, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves) at least once weekly

Begin slowly if you haven't worked out in a while. Work up to achieving your health and fitness goals over time.

You might start by working out just 15-20 minutes a day or breaking up workouts into two 15-minute sweat sessions.

3. Track Your Progress

In a journal or app, record fitness progress over time to stay motivated and keep yourself accountable for exercising regularly.

Track daily exercise, activities of daily living (walking the dog, cleaning floors, doing yard work, etc.), and even your food intake!

Also track your weight and body measurements, especially your waist circumference, to keep fitness motivation levels high and monitor your progress over time.

After reaching your goals, set new ones — even if they include maintaining your current fitness level and physique.

4. Don't Work Out Alone

If you struggle getting or staying motivated to work out, don't exercise alone.

Recruit friends or family members to join you at the gym or during at-home sweat sessions to keep you accountable.

Or, try fat-burning, muscle-building workouts at home with Fit Father Project fitness experts.

Upon joining the Fit Father Project, our medical staff offers motivational support via email.

You'll also have access to other Fit Father Project members in the community.

They can motivate you to stay fit by offering additional tips and tricks for success.

5. Reward Yourself

After meeting diet, exercise, or other healthy lifestyle goals, reward yourself!

Take a day off from exercising to rest, get away with your family for the weekend, or treat yourself to new clothes or fun outdoor summer activities.

Get a massage, go on a vacation, or even take a cheat day from eating clean every now and then!

6. Stick to a Daily Routine

Stick with a daily routine to keep fitness motivation levels as high as possible and reduce your chance of skipping workouts.

Carve out a block of time each day for exercise.

You might work out before you leave for work, on your lunch break, or right after work.

Steer clear of late-night workouts, however, to avoid tossing and turning at night.

In addition to scheduling exercise into your everyday routine, make time to spend with friends and family, relax, prepare healthy meals at home when possible, and get plenty of sleep.

Stick to your routine as much as possible, even on weekends, to make exercise one of your top priorities.

7. Prioritize Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining high energy levels and fitness motivation.

Furthermore, studies show getting recommended amounts of sleep each night reduces your risk of unwanted weight gain, overweight, and obesity.

Sleep deprivation can alter hormone levels within your body, causing increases in feelings of hunger.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night.

Waking up refreshed and energized makes it easier to tackle workouts, and helps you stay focused at work.

Go to bed at the same time each night and sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room.

To optimize sleep quality, avoid overeating right before bed or going to sleep hungry.

Don't drink alcohol or caffeine, or smoke, late in the evening.

Find ways to de-stress, so you're not thinking about work or other life stressors before bed.

Read a book before you go to sleep, rather than watching TV or looking at your phone or tablet.

8. Fuel Your Body Properly

Getting optimal nutrition keeps your energy, and often fitness motivation levels, high.

When you feel energized, you're more likely to complete regular workouts and maintain a healthy weight.

Consider the following pre- and post-workout healthy food options to properly nourish your body:

  • A protein shake
  • A protein bar
  • Coffee with protein powder
  • Peanut butter with a banana
  • Tuna salad over greens
  • Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Oatmeal plus Greek yogurt and nuts or seeds
  • Hummus with veggies or pita chips
  • Apple or pear slices with nut butter
  • Nuts or seeds with fruit
  • Grilled chicken over greens
  • A veggie or turkey burger

Eat a good balance of vegetables, fruits, protein foods, whole grains, dairy foods or plant-based alternatives, and healthy fats.

Aim for 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks daily or 4-6 smaller meals to avoid feeling hungry, and keep your energy levels and metabolism high all throughout the day.

9. Head Outdoors

If you're struggling to get motivated for daily workouts, consider spending time outdoors to stay active!

Studies show that getting outside can reduce depression symptoms and improve your overall mental health.

Surrounding yourself with nature is one of the best ways to keep fitness motivation levels high and boost your mood.

Bring dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, a stability ball, or exercise mats outdoors to complete resistance training workouts.

Or simply open up windows in your at-home gym space!

Go for a jog, walk, swim, or bike ride outside. Recruit friends or family members to join you while exercising in the great outdoors!

10. Get Creative While Working Out

Doing the same workout day after day can make you bored, lead to muscle fatigue and lack of motivation, and decrease your athletic performance.

Get creative with daily workouts by changing up your routine regularly.

Choose from a variety of Fit Father Project workouts and think outside the box during your off days to stay active.

For example, consider:

  • Kayaking, water skiing, or paddleboarding
  • Rollerblading, skating, or biking on a nature path
  • Hiking or mountain climbing
  • Joining a basketball or racquetball league
  • Signing up for a mud run or cross-fit event
  • Swimming laps outdoors

Preventing boredom and optimizing fitness motivation during workouts is often as simple as completing a different workout every day of the week.

The more variety you can come up with, the better your chance of staying motivated!

11. Create Custom Home Workout Routines

Customizing at-home workouts can increase your fitness motivation level.

Mix and match components from the list of cardiovascular and resistance exercises below based on your preferences, personalized needs, fitness level, and fitness goals:

Cardiovascular Exercises

Try the following at-home cardiovascular exercises to get your blood pumping and burn fat fast:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Rope jumping
  • Skaters
  • Burpees
  • Side to side hops
  • Front to back hops
  • Jogging in place
  • High knees
  • Alternating jumping lunges
  • Jumping lunges
  • Squat jumps
  • Box jumps
  • Mountain climbers

If you don't have a jump rope handy, you can still complete rope jumping motions without a rope to burn extra calories and shred fat from the comfort home or outdoors.

Lower Body Resistance Exercises

Build up your leg muscles by combining some of the following lower-body resistance-training exercises:

  • Barbell deadlifts
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Dumbbell or barbell squats
  • Walking dumbbell lunges
  • Alternating dumbbell lunges
  • Weighted calf raises
  • Hamstring curls with resistance bands
  • Leg extensions with resistance bands
  • Medicine ball squats
  • Kettlebell squats

Begin using lighter weight and gradually increase the amount of weight you lift as you progress through your fitness journey.

Make sure to maintain proper form to reduce your chance of getting injured.

Complete at least 3 sets of 8-20 reps, depending on your personal goals.

Upper Body Resistance Exercises

Aim to work each upper body muscle group at least once or twice weekly to build or maintain lean mass.

Choose from the following list of upper body exercises:
Arms

  • Biceps curls with dumbbells
  • Biceps curls with a barbell
  • Hammer curls
  • Triceps extensions with dumbbells
  • Triceps kickbacks with dumbbells
  • Triceps dips
  • Triceps pull-downs
  • Skull crushers

Shoulders

  • Bent-over reverse flys with dumbbells
  • Dumbbell front raises
  • Dumbbell lateral raises
  • Dumbbell or barbell shoulder press
  • Dumbbell or barbell shrugs
  • Dumbbell or barbell upright rows

Back

  • Lateral pull-downs
  • One-arm dumbbell rows
  • Back extensions
  • Bent-over dumbbell or barbell rows
  • Pull-ups

Chest

  • Bench press with a barbell
  • Dumbbell chest press
  • Dumbbell flys
  • Pushups
  • Incline chest press

To achieve optimal results, avoid working the same upper body muscles more than two days in a row.

Mix and match these and other exercises to change up your workout routine often.

Combined Upper and Lower Body Resistance Exercises

If you're ready for the challenge of combining upper and lower body exercises into one motion, consider the following full-body resistance exercises you can complete from the comfort of home or at a gym:

  • Squat to press with dumbbells or a barbell
  • Squat to lateral raise with dumbbells
  • Lunge to biceps curls
  • Deadlift to front raise with dumbbells
  • Plank rows with dumbbells
  • Power cleans
  • Burpees with push-ups
  • Battle rope exercises
  • Kettlebell swings

Complete these full-body exercises in circuits, and rest after each circuit.

For example, do one set of 3-4 of the exercises above before resting.

Repeat each circuit two or three more times!

Abdominal Exercises

Try the following abdominal exercises to shred up your midsection by summer and enhance your six-pack:

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Plank jacks
  • Russian twists
  • Lying leg raises
  • Shoulder touch planks
  • Hip twist planks
  • Traditional planks
  • Side planks
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Scissors
  • Hanging knee raises
  • Stability ball leg raises

Aim to complete abdominal exercises most, if not all, days of the week!

For best results, change up ab workouts often.

12. Set Up an At-Home Gym

Setting up a comfortable, at-home gym is one of the best ways to optimize fitness motivation levels and achieve the physique of your dreams.

At-home workouts can save you time and money in the long run, and make exercise convenient on days you're tight on time or don't feel like leaving home.

Even if you're a gym member, having the option to exercise at home when you want to means there's no excuse for skipping workouts.

Clear out space to complete your favorite exercises or for at-home gym equipment if you have room in your house.

Choose a rowing machine, elliptical machine, stationary bike, treadmill, stair climber, or full-body resistance-training machine for your home gym. Consider:

  • Barbell weights
  • Dumbbell weights
  • Resistance bands
  • Medicine balls
  • Kettlebells
  • Stability balls
  • Additional resistance training equipment

Doing so can help you achieve your ideal weight, build muscle, and burn fat effectively from the comfort of home.

Add mirrors to your workout space to ensure you're using proper form during at-home workouts.

If you get bored while working out at home, consider mounting a television on your wall!

To maximize fitness motivation all year along, sign up for Fit Father Project programs designed specifically for busy dads.

Or, try the FFP FREE diet and workout to get started on the journey toward better health today!

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Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.


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