(Why I Work Out)

Top Celebrity Fitness Trainers Share Their No. 1 Tip For Staying Motivated To Work Out

Every step counts.

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how to stay motivated to work out

I don’t know about you, but it’s sometimes tough to work out, especially in the winter. The allure of a cozy warm bed or couch can often overpower the need for an icy outdoor sprint. But, at some point, you have to get off the couch and get moving. After all, with the new year here, it’s likely many have set an intention to exercise more. And, rain or shine, it’s important to follow through. But how does one stay motivated to work out?

Ashley Borden, celebrity/master trainer whose clients have included people like Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Ryan Gosling, knows a thing or two about getting — and staying — motivated. She says it’s all about having an “all or nothing” mentality. “We are all allowed to have a pity party for ourselves, put up streamers, and feel bummed out,” she tells TZR in an email. “However, to create a habit of still working out to keep ourselves healthy and strong when we feel like doing the opposite is the mastery.”

To get inspired (and to stop snoozing the alarm instead of exercising), TZR tapped Borden and other celebrity fitness trainers to share their top tips for staying motivated — no excuses.

Set Specific Short-Term Goals

Borden says it’s important to have short-term fitness goals. “Long-term goals can get overwhelming for some, but a short term-goal is attainable and also builds momentum,” she explains. “For instance, instead of saying, ‘I want to lose 20 pounds,’ make the goal more physically specific. Like, if you have been running your block outside for cardio, time yourself. Every time you run the block you must shave time off the clock. Even one second.” She says by keeping track of these minor competitions you set for yourself, you will find yourself working harder. “More effort means more hormone release, and the domino effect of feeling proud and wanting to prove to yourself again that you can improve will result in changes with your mind and your body,” she says.

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Set Long-Term Goals, Too

Beverly Hills Trainer Gunnar Peterson’s celeb clients include Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis, and The Rock. He, too, believes in creating short-term goals, but also long-term ones. “Hell, even a mid-range goal,” he tells TZR in an email. “Plan for your summer body, but also for your spring body. Now think about this weekend’s body. Of course, you may not feel like you make progress every week, but you do. You are laying the bricks that build the foundation that the future rests on — see it, understand it, do it, enjoy it.” He says to have your specific process and do it. “Make the right decision and then make the decision right,” he adds.

Keep To A Workout Schedule

Jeanette Jenkins, founder and president of The Hollywood Trainer club (whose clients include Alicia Keys and Pink), health coach, and MyFitnessPal spokesperson advises to keep to a routine. “Schedule your workouts into your weekly schedule just like any other important meeting and don’t cancel on yourself,” she tells TZR in an email. “This is the meeting for your health.” Can’t argue with that, right? Peterson agrees, but with a caveat. “Train when you actually have time, don’t try to make time,” he says. “If early mornings are too much of a crunch, plan to go after work. If kid pick-ups or family dinners are non-negotiables, then set that alarm clock a wee bit earlier and get after it while the world sleeps. Don’t make it fit, find the fit.”

Stop Judging Yourself

Borden offers another tip: Don’t judge yourself. She says it’s okay to do the abbreviated, less-spectacular workout some days. “I promise you, giving just a tiny amount of effort will start to build upon itself,” she says. “Can you only bring yourself to foam-roll? Do it! Break the all-or-nothing mentality by chipping away to ‘get back on the horse.’ Make a commitment for one week that you will not judge yourself or the training decisions you make (or don't make).” She says that keeping a notebook can help. That way, you can write how you feel during your week of mental “freedom of judgment.”

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Be Accountable For The Way You Nourish Your Body

Jenkins says not to forget two key components to staying physically fit — staying hydrated and eating mindfully. “Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day,” she says. “Water is needed for digestion, elimination, blood flow, fat burning, muscle recovery, the synovial fluid in your joints, your brain, and so much more.” Similarly, she says to be accountable for the food that you eat — and you can do this by logging it via an app (she recommends My Fitness Pal). “It’s time to learn about how the food you are eating is affecting your energy levels, sleep, focus, fat burning, muscle gains, digestion, and more,” she notes.

Get Online Support

“The gift of 2020 was that many people started to use online training, support, and group training classes to stay fit during COVID-19 lockdowns and beyond,” says Borden. “No longer did we have the excuse, ‘I can’t get motivated from my home — I have to go to a gym!’ Even if you are in-person for some of your fitness, knowing you also have the option of effective online training is such a relief for many.” She says it saves hours of commuting, gym fees, and crowding. “Training at home is a game-changer,” she adds. “Change your mind and you can change your body!”

Assess Other Goals You’ve Set & Mastered

Finally, Peterson says an easy way to motivate yourself is to look at everything you've worked for and have in your life. “Keep working out so that you can wring every drop out of everything you now have access to,” he says. “You wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or walk the Great Wall of China or go on a beach vacation — keep working toward your fitness goals so that you can enjoy these to the fullest.”