For many people, the most difficult part of going to the gym is just getting there. Motivation can often allude us after a late night or long day at work, but exercise is a key part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Just like proper nutrition, doing some form of physical activity every day offers a whole host of health benefits (and even sexual ones).
While these benefits are definitely motivating, even the most determined people sometimes need a little extra push to make the most of their workout. We talked to some fitness professionals to find out their mantras. Hopefully, at least one of these will work for you too. Check them out below:
1. "Just five minutes. You can do ANYTHING for five minutes.”
When Kristen Seymour of Fit Bottomed Girls feels like quitting — or not even getting started, this is what she tells herself. "If I want to stop at that point, I give myself permission," she told A Plus via email, "But I rarely do!"
2. "Only 30 minutes left."
John Romianello of Roman Fitness Systems also uses time as a motivator. Due to his busy schedule, his workouts are planned down to the minute. "I don't leave early, and I can't stay late," he told A Plus. "If I don't finish my workout, it's because I didn't push hard enough or work fast enough."
When exercising, he likes to focus on numbers. Before training, he sets a timer. "During my workouts, my mantra is to the tune of, 'Only 34 minutes left.' 'Only 30 minutes left,' " he said. Romianello isn't counting down because he wants to be done, but rather because he only has so much time left to accomplish that day's fitness goals.
"This helps me in multiple ways," he continued. "It's been shown that adding a deadline or time limit to anything helps people take action and be more productive ... Keeping an eye on the clock helps keep me on track, and keeps me motivated."
3. "I compete with myself every day, and I never lose."
Dai Manuel (also known as "The Moose"), a CrossFit athlete and coach, imagines his life as a house. "My foundation's health. And then I have four pillars. That's family, finances, faith, and fitness," he said in a video. "And then the roof is 'fun.' "
By "competing with" himself every day, Manuel continually reinforces these pillars so they will always stand strong, no matter what comes his way. "You can let it [an obstacle] weigh you down," he added, "Or you can figure out a way to run with it and hopefully get stronger because of it."
4. "Just do it."
"Yes, I stole it from a major company, but it works for me," Jennipher Walters of Fit Bottomed Girls told A Plus. "I know I always feel better once I get through a workout."
By repeating this phrase, she's able to cut through her own "mental chat," focus on her exercise goal, and just, well, do it.
5. "Just a little more."
Erin Whitehead, also from Fit Bottomed Girls, doesn't always love exercising until after it's over. "When I'm doing a tough workout, I'm not thinking, 'Oh, the journey is so amazing,'" she said. "But I know that it's worth the effort we put into it."
To push through the most difficult parts of her workout, she gives herself little pep talks featuring her motivational mantra.
6. "Fit people aren’t born fit. They work at it."
When it comes to maintaining Manuel's pillar of fitness, he motivates himself to put in the work by telling himself that's the only way it's gonna get done. "With every waking moment there lies an opportunity to choose a different path for our lives — but it's not just a matter of choosing," he told A Plus. "You have to put choices into action. So stop the 'Just Do It' mentality and strive to exclaim I 'Just Did It.' "
7. "You will because you CAN."
As one of Seymour's favorite sayings, she uses it to quiet any self-doubt she might be feeling, especially if she's trying something new. Even if you're not doing the exercise perfectly, you're doing better than those too scared to do anything. "It's not true for everyone," she said, "And that's an important thing to remember when you're going outside your workout comfort zone."
Walters agrees, though she uses a slightly different mantra. "I tend to repeat the phrase, 'You got this,' when I work out," she added. "It helps settle any doubts I may be having, calms me down, and gets me moving."
Cover image via Unsplash