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How to Get Motivated to Exercise (When You Just REALLY Hate to Exercise!)

Updated on July 29, 2012

The Worst of the "E" Word

A lot of us who are struggling with weight or had been told to lose it for health's or wedding's sakes ask the eternal question: how to get motivated to exercise?

Many of us who are overweight or obese dread the thought of exercise. For the men, they have to get their pudgy big tummies to the health club and workout alongside their muscular (think: ripped muscles, definition in that perfect body they dream of) strangers. For women, their strangers are clad in flattering jazz pants, tank or camisole tops, and that shell of defined skin and muscle that is worthy of the hot women in showbiz.

All those "perfect bodies" have something in common: being considerably quicker and more skilled than their portly counterparts. They usually do pushups better than them and march more quickly. That can put a downer to their lives.

But the associations with that dreaded word exercise that give fat people the willies don't stop there. They are strapped with time (work, school, and so on), fatigue, and money to do so (read "Top 5 Exercise Excuses" for more on those silly excuses).

Especially if they are handheld, kids prefer playing video games instead of simply walking around.
Especially if they are handheld, kids prefer playing video games instead of simply walking around. | Source

The adults are not the only ones making lame excuses to not exercise. The kids are preoccupied with catching up with pals on the phones of social networking sites, watching their favorite shows, and playing video games. Also, they are slower and more susceptible to being picked last during team games or teased in physical education classes, especially if they are fat!

Exercise Benefits are not Just About Losing Weight

There are a lot of benefits to exercise, and it's not about only doing it to lose that extra spare tire.

Exercising makes you feel younger and better, even at midage. Also, when you do this, especially with cardiovascular exercise, you decrease your risks of hypertension, stroke, and other heart diseases. Your lung function will improve, you'll sleep more soundly, and you'll be able to think more clearly. Exercising improves your mood and reduces stress.

Quit Using the "E Word!

The best way to know how to get motivated to exercise is to drop the word exercise. Just call going to the gym "active meeting with friends." If exercising at home, call it "move my body time." It's that simple.

You really don't need an aerobics class to get a cardiovascular workout. (Some dread them due to what most slimmer/muscular people wear.) A simple brisk walk can do the trick.
You really don't need an aerobics class to get a cardiovascular workout. (Some dread them due to what most slimmer/muscular people wear.) A simple brisk walk can do the trick.


Just take a flutin' walk - that's all. If you live in an area with a lot of sidewalks and the weather is great for that, walk around. (Do it at a brisk pace, even when wearing those cruddy sweatsuits that you regret wearing out of envy towards shapely, tank-top-clad women.) At home, you can walk (or jog) in place and maintain it for at least 30 minutes. How easy is that?

Do It First Thing in the Morning

If you regularly sleep at your conventional bedtime, set it an hour back and wake up an hour earlier. It would have you get up and going to your workout session in no time. Even better - put your workout clothes and sneakers at a place you would see them when you wake up.

There are a lot of perks on morning exercise. Not only does it save time for you when you do it as the first (physical) activity, you'll burn more fat, especially when it's done before breakfast. Researchers from Belgium found out that when men exercised the day after eating a high-fat meal, they burned the fat they ate previously.

Considering About Skipping Exercise? Consider This:

When you skip a workout for even a day, your fat cells will grow and swell. If you don't do it for several days, as well as eat badly, you gain a few pounds. Whenever you feel like not going to the gym, try to motivate yourself, such as putting your short shorts in plain view so you can fit into them in the future.

Take A Picture of Yourself

Nothing is more motivating than taking a "before" picture of yourself. Make copies of it if possible and place them in places where you would see them. If you have exercise equipment, tack one photo of you at your heaviest so you would be more inclined to exercise and see how far you come. Ideally, take it every week.

Conversely, take a picture of yourself at your thinnest. It can be a daily moment or a vacation photo. They'll remind you that you can go back to your former self!

Another Motivation Tip

Tape a picture of a destination of your vacation or reunion or put your clothes you want to fit and look good in where you can see it every day. That way that if you don't want to exercise, you'll know what you're missing out.
Tape a picture of a destination of your vacation or reunion or put your clothes you want to fit and look good in where you can see it every day. That way that if you don't want to exercise, you'll know what you're missing out.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!

You sigh when you see somebody in that muscle shirt or tank top and bike shorts while you sweat out in your sweatsuit. Well, stop that envying!

Some people look towards fitness models or celebrities for inspiration. But no matter how you tone your body - be it via Pilates, strength training by free weights, or a simple brisk walk - you mostly can never get that same physique.

Ditto for that time when working out at the gym. You can never run as fast or pedal hard as the person next to you. Listen to your own body if you have to slow down if pedaling too fast or doing too much in the aerobics class.

Better yet, exercise at home. You'll not only save money by not going to the gym and using all that you have to tone up your body and burn fat. You'll save a lot of grief from self-comparison to others.

How Often do you Exercise?

See results

Write Down Your Goals

That upcoming vacation, wedding, or high school reunion is a great motivator to exercise, but be realistic. Write them down in specific terms, such as, "Should I lose X pounds by X date, I'm going on a cruise!"

Use your recent doctor's visit or a recent emergency of the family regarding the health effects of obesity, like a morbidly obese child being admitted to the hospital because of hypertension. Tell yourself, "I can change my life as I am doing to my son so we can live longer."

While those above are long-term goals, short-term goals can also be written to keep you motivated. They range from walking X miles a few and increasing the duration each time to increasing the weight load.

You may want to tape your goals alongside your picture of yourself at your thinnest or of your vacation destination to somewhere you can see it every day.
You may want to tape your goals alongside your picture of yourself at your thinnest or of your vacation destination to somewhere you can see it every day.

How Long do you Exercise Each Day?

See results

Don't Forget the Little Rewards!

While exercise time adds up quickly, think about the smaller rewards, too. Don't make them food-related - make them something to look forward right after a health club stint or a long, brisk walk. If you've completed your circuit training, reward yourself with a visit to a theme park or a manicure.

Tell Yourself How Really Good Exercise Feels

If your brain thinks of exercise as something that would tire you out, just tell yourself that it's going to energize you. Tell yourself that you have energy, you are strong, and you get happier if you work out.

To make it more effective, do it in front of your before picture, cruise brochure page of the ship you will be sailing on, or any photo of your vacation destination. Read, "How to Do EFT Tapping in Front of a Picture for Exercise Motivation" for more details.


The Emotional Freedom Technique is so easy to do - just tap on certain parts of your body in a certain order. First, tap the side of your hand and say that even if you don't want to exercise, you completely and fully accept yourself as is and how you feel about it. You can repeat your sentence either 3 times or say 3 different sentences.

Then, tap on the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, under the mouth, inner collarbone, under the arm, and top of the head. Then, repeat the process, starting with three sentences that would say that even if you have some resistance left over, you are ready and willing to exercise as you tap on the side of the hand. Then tap on the other body parts in the same order saying things that are good about working out and how you'll have fun with that.

This PT* May Sound Authorative, But She Agrees that Self Back-Talk Can Motivate You to Get In Shape!

*Personal Trainer

You Have No Flutin' Choice

Tell yourself that if you hate exercise, you simply have no choice but to just do it. You may have short of a few hours before that Sunday Mass and your cousin's christening party, but if you can squeeze in 30 minutes instead of your usual hour of working out, it's better than nothing. Tell yourself that if you don't exercise right now, you're going to be fat and you'll suffer from it.

Buy Some Cool Exercise Duds!

Activewear doesn't mean all tank tops and jazz pants! Despite the fact that you feel that you'll be confined to T-shirts and sweatpants as you work out, don't be afraid to shop for cool workout clothes! Short on money? I suggest that you go to your local craft store and doll them up (but not too much, as you need something comfortable to wear in order to move around so much).

Whenever you have to exercise, your relative orders you to come to the gym with her or him, or if you are out of shape, think of ways to find working out fun, interesting, and reasonable. You'll never know what will come up in your life, such as an upcoming cruise, wedding, or avoidance of an obesity-related death that someone close to you died of. Mainly, you're exercising for health and life, so find ways to get the fitness vibe going!

Exercise is Fun!

Just find time to motivate yourself!
Just find time to motivate yourself! | Source


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    • albohm27 profile image


      6 years ago from Bandar Seri Begawan

      I really enjoyed your 'blunt' straight to the point. I do find it so easy to find excuses to do nothing when I know I should be out and about being active. Some great simple tips in your hub good to get the head around Thank you.

    • talfonso profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Esther, thank you very, very much for commenting! I too love the bit on creating the right mindset whenever one dreads exercising. I hope you would share it with everyone you know!

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 

      7 years ago from UK

      I like the bit about getting your brain in the right frame of mind telling yourself how good exercise feels. Original and inspiring.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      7 years ago from Pune, India

      This hub is very useful me, has motivated me to exercise. But will I exercise? I do not know....LOL

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I actually don't excerise I dance, which is to many considered excerise when you are on heels and doing teh cha-cha... stumbled for good measure!

    • talfonso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Great story! If he were alive, he'd take my advice presented in my Hub to heart!

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Just after Jack Lalane died, I found an interesting quotation. I think he was in his late 70s or older when he said he had started every day of his life with a two-hour exercise routine--and hated every one of them. I go to the gym three times a week and hate most of the time I'm there (unless I find someone to exercise my jaw with). It's oddly motivating to realize that the father of fitness hated his workouts!

    • munirahmadmughal profile image


      8 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan.

      The hub is rich in content, relevant in all context, encouraging all to do some activity and removing all false fears from the mind of the readers.

      Thus it is excellent, useful and at the same time beautiful.

      If I am to make a summary of the whole. Walking is the best exercise. Walk to the worship place, walk to the community center, walk to the market place, walk to ask the health of a sick relative or friend, walk to go to the service place, walk to help a poor and needy person, walk to park.

      When all alone walk into your heart and soul, walk into the vastness of the universe and say All praise is for the Lord of all the worlds.

      May God bless all.

    • cherrycrime26 profile image

      January Moon 

      8 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      Very informative hub, nice work


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