I'm a Fitness Trainer, and This is How I Stay Motivated

I'm a Fitness Trainer, and This is How I Stay Motivated

Even personal trainers struggle with workout motivation from time to time — especially these past few months. “Motivation, for me, really boils down to habit and routine — and like a lot of people right now, my routine has had to change overnight,” says Alasdair Fitz-Desorgher, a UK-based fitness buff and Openfit Live trainer.

To keep himself motivated, Alasdair has had to apply his own bag of tricks, including some of the same ones he uses during his Openfit Live classes to inspire you to crush your fitness goals.

If your workout motivation has started to wane, here are Alasdair’s best tips for getting back on track.


1. Schedule Your Workouts


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Rather than waiting for motivation to kick in, put your workouts on the calendar and commit to them. Alasdair schedules each week’s workout routine in advance: “I like to have a workout plan written out day-by-day,” he says. He also books all of his Openfit classes at the beginning of the week and relies on reminders from the app to keep him from skipping a workout.


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2. Double Up on Motivation

“There are two ways people are motivated — extrinsically, where an outside force is motivating us, or intrinsically, where you are finding the motivation inside yourself,” Alasdair says. Your best bet is to come at it from both angles, he adds. For example, Alasdair thrives on having a routine and sticking to it — that’s his intrinsic motivation. And he’s found extrinsic motivation by signing up for live group classes: “I make sure I show up, because I don’t want to disappoint the trainer waiting for me!”


3. Find a Workout Buddy


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Having a workout buddy (even a virtual one!) helps Alasdair stay accountable. “On days when I’m struggling to get a workout in, if I’ve committed to do it with a friend or my girlfriend, I’m much more likely to do it,” he says. “And I never regret doing a workout.” Even if you can’t get together for an in-person workout, sign up for an online class together or set up a step-count challenge.


4. Get Moving (Even If It’s Not a Workout)

Maybe it’s raining. Maybe you missed your favorite group class. Maybe you’re still sore from yesterday’s workout. If you just can’t get motivated to do a full workout, aim to do something. “If I was planning on doing a HIIT workout and I’m not feeling up for it, I’ll still try to go for a walk or do a bit of yoga,” Alasdair says. “Just because you can’t do the workout or class that you intended to do doesn’t mean you have to sit on your butt on the couch.”


5. Try a Fitness Tracker


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If you’ve ever run around the living room a few times to hit 10,000 steps for the day, you know fitness trackers can be great for accountability. For extra motivation, Alasdair recently signed up for a step challenge, but with a twist: He was given a pricey fitness tracker, and as long as he hit his step goal every day, it was his to keep — for free. If he fell short, he’d have to pay up. “I’ve been looking at my step count about seven times a day to make sure I hit my goal,” he laughs. Instant motivation!


6. Listen to a Podcast (Any Podcast!)

Lately, this has been Alasdair’s secret weapon for making long runs more bearable. “Usually I’m desperate to get to the end of my workout,” he says, “but when I’m listening to a podcast, I feel like I can go a little longer to finish the story.” His current fave is 13 Minutes to the Moon, a documentary podcast series about the Apollo 11 and 13 missions.


7. Keep Your Motivation in Sight


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Whether it’s a motivational quote, a picture of your kids, or an athlete you admire, find something that inspires you and post it where you’ll see it every single day. Alasdair keeps a photo of Ross Edgley, the first person to swim around Great Britain, on his mirror. Edgley’s physique and determination inspire Alasdair get moving on low-motivation days.


8. Treat Yourself to New Gear

Having your own equipment at home eliminates a whole range of workout excuses. And when you get a new pair of running shoes or a new set of resistance bands, chances are, you’ll be motivated to give them a try. So if your finances allow it, Alasdair suggests investing in workout gear or fitness gadgets. “Getting new toys is always a surefire way to motivate me,” Alasdair says.


9. Don’t Rule Out Rest Days


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“It’s important to listen to your body and not underestimate the importance of rest,” Alasdair says. If you’re feeling achy or tried or under the weather, take a day off and recuperate — just be sure to get right back on the horse the next day. “When I’m feeling run down or worn out, I’ll allow myself a rest day and try to eat good food, rehydrate, and give my body what it needs so I don’t have to miss two workouts in a row,” Alasdair says.

kate bayless author


Kate Bayless is a Southern California-based writer and editor focusing on health and wellness, beauty, fitness, travel, and parenting. She has a decade of bylines for outlets including Men's Health, Prevention, and Parents magazine. Follow her on Twitter.

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