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The 5 steps of staying motivated to workout

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by Yuan

Staying motivated to work out is not about relying on motivation. Motivation comes in bursts and it cannot be sustained through external sources. In order to achieve great results, you need to stay consistent over time. Neither willpower or motivation is enough to sustain your actions for rest of your life (assuming you want to get the results and then keep them). You will need to approach it from a different angle. Here are five steps to get the results you’ve always wanted. The first step is harnessing the power of habit.

1. How to successfully form the habit of working out

Forming a habit is like trying to reach escape velocity. Escape velocity is the speed required to break out of Earth’s (or any massive body’s) gravitational pull. In order for a space shuttle to make it into space, it needs to continuously accelerate until it reaches escape velocity. Once you reach space, very little energy is required to maintain course.


It takes 90 days to form a habit, use motivation and willpower during this time to reach the escape velocity. Once the habit is formed, it will be a lot easier to stay on track. The habit will also have gravity of its own. Brushing your teeth is a habit and it doesn’t feel very good when you don’t brush them. There is a gravity of the habit that draws you to do it.

This is why I’m such a big fan of Starting Strength, you’ll grow stronger every single session on all of the exercises. The results are incredibly motivating and it makes it a lot easier to form the habit. You will look forward to every workout, making sure to eat and sleep enough to make that strength improvement again.

2. How to successfully maintain the habit of working out

The workout and diet can’t make you miserable. Demanding workout programs and fad diets are ridiculous because they can’t be maintained for the average person with a job and kids. The workouts can’t be too long and the meal frequency can’t take over your life.


Starting Strength took about 20 minutes per session in the beginning. As the weight got heavier, it eventually took one hour to complete. There are 3 workouts a week and you’ll need to eat 4 big meals a day to meet the calorie requirements.

Leangains is great for intermediate lifters and beyond. You fast for 16 hours a day, eat 2-3 meals and focus on maintaining strength for a cut. Reverse pyramid training takes about 40 minutes per session, 3 times a week, no cardio. One training session every 4 days creates slower results and it’s better reserved for advanced lifters. This is as easy as it gets for losing fat and maintaining muscle. This same approach can be taken for a slow bulk.

On the demanding side of training and dieting, 5-6 meals a day is just not realistic for most people. Can you imagine eating that way for the rest of your life?

3. Keep making progress

Progress is not boring and it doesn’t get discouraging. Beginners can grow stronger and handle heavier weights every session with Starting Strength. Once the newbie gains wear off, you can progress once a week and the rate of progress will continue to slow down over time.

As long as you are making progress as planned, the habit is easy to maintain. This is why tracking is so important. You can look at your progress from a third person’s point of view and make changes at the first sign of stalling.

4. Set your priorities, don’t use them as an excuse

“I didn’t have the time today” is the most common excuse to a failed resolution. If you don’t have 2-3 hours a week to work out and the ability to get 2-3 good meals a day, why bother making the attempt? You’ll never be able to keep any of the results, if you got any in the first place. The whole thing just becomes a waste of time, you could’ve just watched a movie, read a book or spent time with friends.

In the vast majority of cases, you do have 2-3 hours a week for working out, or you wouldn’t be looking into it in the first place. You simply de-prioritize the workout and diet. Again, why bother starting the pursuit for a better physique if you are just going to drop it?

Make a commitment and set it as a top priority. It’s only 2-3 hours per week and over time, it will compound into something truly worthwhile. I don’t know about you, but I never want to become the prisoner of my own body at an older age. Keep it up, you’ll look better and feel better in the near future and keep your quality of life in the distant future.

5. How to use motivation to enhance your workout

Everyone will eventually stall, get a little lazy and slow down at times. This is when it becomes crucial to eat and rest well for a few days. At this point, it’s about recovering yourself, do not push even harder. Do a deload, recalculate your training variables and you’ll be back on track in no time.

This is the time to check out motivational videos on YouTube and look up some physical transformations.

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