Cupcake Wars: How to Motivate Yourself to Get to the Gym

Every once in a while (OK, at least once per week), I have to force myself to go work out. It’s obviously not because I don’t like working out–I really, really do, or I wouldn’t have started this blog in the first place–but sometimes I just. don’t. wanna. Our couch is really comfortable; those chips I bought at Trader Joe’s are too tasty to stop eating; the Biggest Loser is coming on and how could I possibly get up and go to the gym now (oh, the irony).

It’s really helpful to have someone insist that you should go, go with you, or, if worse comes to worst, shame you mercilessly into getting yourself out the door. If you don’t have your buddy, though, how can you motivate yourself to go? Here are some tricks I use to convince myself to get out the door (or, even, out of bed if it’s early and I’d rather sleep than gym):

1. Remind yourself that even the world’s crappiest workout is better than no
This usually occurs after I go to the gym and just suck, but I think about it a lot and it definitely applies here, too. Just think about it: even if you go to the gym and have the worst workout of your life–you feel weak and can’t lift anything, you don’t feel like going any faster than a 10:00 mile on the treadmill, you get tired halfway through your swim and pull yourself out of the pool–you’ve burned more calories than you would have just sitting on the couch.

A great article on the Huffington Post just came out detailing what happens to your body after just one workout: you get happier, less stressed, are at much less of a risk for diabetes, and even your DNA can change for the better. I think it’d be hard to come  up with arguments against those reasons.

2. That cupcake you were about to put into your mouth will be way more justified AFTER the gym.
I am a big “justifier,” which means that working out for me is justification to eat as much crap as my little heart desires. But that’s the whole philosophy behind my blog: work out a ton so you can eat whatever you want. Seriously, for all those people for whom dieting makes you miserable (like me), it works. Also, a Psychology Today article cites studies that “suggest that the ability to delay gratification—that is, impulse control—may be one of the most important skills to learn to have a satisfying and successful life.”

gym cupcakes


I guess I should probably work on that. Sigh.

3. Conversely, “I just ate a massive cupcake. Now I HAVE to go to the gym.”
Probably less effective, but nonetheless worth a shot.

4. Think about how much better you’ll feel after you work out.
This actually frequently helps me get moving, if grudgingly, especially if I work out in the early morning. When it’s dark outside and I’m really sleepy, I just try to think about the fact that my workout will be done for the day, and my whole evening will be free. It’s honestly really motivating. True fact, swimming in the morning does make you feel really refreshed–and virtuous! Also, see #2.

How do you get yourself motivated? I’m always trying to find good/better ways to combat what seems to be my innate laziness… so if you have a good strategy, put it in the comments–I’d love to hear it!


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