Need Workout Motivation? 3 Scientifically Proven Ways to Find It

By Katrina Scott on

You girls know we’re all about taking a rest day when your body craves it most. And maybe that one day turns into two...or more. But if you feel like your motivation to move is simply slipping away, you might just need an extra boost of fitness inspo!

Our first stop: Tone It Up trainers Chyna and Ariel, two busy boss babes who know a thing or two about staying accountable when life happens. Follow their top tactics — each backed by science — whenever you need that little nudge to get your sweat on. Then try ‘em out by pressing play on any workout in your Tone It Up app! You got this babe!

3 Science-Backed Strategies to Boost Workout Motivation 


1. Find Time to HIIT It 

According to research, high-intensity functional circuit training — aka doing total-body exercises at an all-out effort for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest — can pump up your motivation to move, more than doing moderate intensity exercise, like a 50-minute walk. So when you’re drawn to your seat more than a sweat, try out one of the quickie cardio workouts in your Tone It Up app in the On Demand section. 

Ariel and Chyna both LOVE a good HIIT workout when they don’t necessarily feel like moving. Chyna looks for classes in the 15- to 20-minute range, because she knows it’s quick and so there’s no reason not to squeeze it in. Ariel says she starts with just 10 minutes of an intense workout to wake her body up and get a quick burn. “The crazy part: Once that 10 minutes is up, I am often so energized that I want to add in some extra exercises or a run,” Ariel says. 


2. Set Some (Smart!) Goals 

To boost the enjoyment factor of your workout, concentrate on setting some process goals, rather than those that focus solely on the outcome. That’s what one study says will keep you from putting off your sweat sessions! For example, think about crushing 10 burpees in your workout, rather than burning 100 calories. Or aim to get in three workouts this week, rather than exercising more than ever before. 

 Setting these process-oriented goals can also help you determine your “why” for working out, which is how Ariel stays motivated to move. “I remind myself of the goals I set for myself and how this workout will get me steps closer to that goal,” she says. “My goals are typically written on a post-it note and located in a place that I can see it every day, so it's helpful to have the visual accountability for that extra push!”

3. Do a Mental Warm-Up 

Sometimes to get your body ready to go, you have to get the mind psyched first! Research shows that people who went through a “mental readiness” set of Qs before their workout — including assessing their thoughts, how the body feels, and rating stress and confidence levels — were not only more mentally prepared to exercise and less stressed, but also felt more ready to perform, compared to those who didn’t go through a little mental Q&A.  

Something Chyna likes to think about before she starts moving in order to get psyched about it: Just how good it feels when you’re done! “I always feel so much better, so accomplished, so strong, and just ready to make better choices throughout my day. That feeling is what keeps me coming back to my mat,” Chyna says. “The key is to always want to come back to your mat because you enjoy it, not because you have to.”

Love HIIT, strength training, and yoga? Join us in the Tone It Up app for hundreds of fun and effective workouts you can do right at home!

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