What do you do when you just want to drop?

One of the toughest things about exercise is …. well … toughing it out. When you’re tired and sweaty on that daily walk …. sometimes all you want to do is make it stop!

But cutting your workout before you’re done?

Not cool.

So how do you stay motivated when all you want to do is rip off your track pants and crawl back under the covers?

A study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance may have found the answer.1

It’s easy, it’s free, and I’ll tell you exactly how to do it.

Let’s take a look at the study to find out what it is.

Researchers put 14 people on exercise bikes and had them do qualifying times. Then they divided them into 2 groups.

Group #1 cycled doing this specific technique.

Group #2 cycled without doing this specific technique.

The results …

Group #1 cycled faster, performed better AND didn’t realize they were working any harder.

So what did Group #1 do that Group #2 did not do?

They gave themselves a motivating pep talk during the ride.

So, when you’re feeling like you want to give up, instead of stopping, try talking to yourself and see if that gets you going. Some good examples:

  • “I can do this!”
  • “I’ve got plenty of energy.”
  • “I’ve got this down!”
  • “My legs are strong.”
  • “What a great workout.”

I love these!

Maximize your motivation

Try to make each exercise interesting to keep motivated.

In addition to talking yourself up, here are some other ideas to keep you going when all you want to do is stop.

Create a contest. Find some friends who want to get in shape and come up with a challenge you can all participate in. Maybe it’s who can last the longest on an incline of 6 on the treadmill, who finishes with the fastest time in a 5K, or who logs the most hours at the gym. Trying to one-up your friends may give you incentive to keep moving.

Flaunt it on Facebook. Share how many miles or minutes you walked or ran, or post your exercise routine. You’ll be surprised how many old friends come out of the woodwork to virtually high-five you. And that may spark your desire to do more. After all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint cousin Flo, would you?

An added bonus? Sharing your progress may inspire your friends and family to become more active themselves. (And give you more workout partners in the future!)

Do something new. Doing the same old, same old can get tedious. Plan a new walking route, try a new fitness class, or hop on a new machine at the gym. By mixing it up, you’ll not only last longer, you’ll also work different muscles.

Get your groove on. Put on your headset and crank up some tunes. One study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that listening to music made a strenuous workout feel easier and may even push people to work out harder than they thought they could.

Have you got any favorite tricks to get you through a strenuous workout? I’d love to hear them.

Dr. Steve Sisskind
Steven Sisskind, M.D.

1. Barwood MJ, Corbett J, Wagstaff CRD, McVeigh D, Thelwell RC. Motivational self-talk improves 10km time trial cycling compared to neutral self-talk. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014 Jul 8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25010539.

2. Stork MJ, Kwan M, Gibala MJ, Martin Ginis KA. Music enhances performance and perceived enjoyment of sprint interval exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Sep 8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25202850.

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  1. All good reminders

  2. Hi! Steve!
    Thanks for your tips. They should be helpful.

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