4 tips for finding resistance training motivation

wpid 2012 05 20 08.20.35 4 tips for finding resistance training motivation

mojo mojo where did you go go?

Whether it’s my overzealousnessment (technical term) or just happenstance—people associate me with an unflagging love of resistance training.

When conversation turns to exercise people invariably turn to me & lament a lack of resistance training motivation.

“I want to–I just cant seem to get myself to start.” is the typical refrain.

Or anything and everything along the lines of this comment from last week:

Screen shot 2013 09 30 at 5.22.45 AM 4 tips for finding resistance training motivation

I cant pretend to relate to any of this.

There are myriad things Ive started & ceased (Im a big believer in QUITTING)–but not the weights.

Unlike cardio-mojo–which I never possess–my excitement simply doesnt wane when it comes to weights or bodyweighted-playouts.

Ive sat.

Ive thought.

Ive pondered why I love iron/bands/bod training.

Ive challenged myself to identify *what* keeps me happily motivated unlike cardio where I lament & make excuses daily.

20120908 061953 4 tips for finding resistance training motivation

do I have *any* tips to proffer?

Here’s what I realized:

Four tips for finding & maintaining resistance training mojo:

  • Plan.  Plan. Plan.  These days Im an intuitive exerciser—I was not when I started.  Whether you’re a pen & paper planner or an app-userplan your workout.  Get specific (sets, reps, rest periods etc).  Next step? Create a Plan A & Plan B for each training session. Whether youre training at home, playground, or gym plan what you’ll do if machines are unavailable etc.  Planning sets you up for success & provides you far less opportunity for excuses.
  • More muscle = higher metabolism.  Of course Im not saying we *shouldnt* do cardio, but this DEFINITELY motivates me to resistance train (I had a client who hung this as a sign in her home!).  Im not willing to watch what I eat as I age. Im not willing to limit my portions & shift from mindful eating to calorie counting as I age.  Im *very* motivated to resistance train by higher metabolism it provides.
  • It’s fastI am not training for competition.  My competition is LIFE.  My workouts are short (some of this is from pre-planning some is they need to fit into my life) and focused.  Twenty minutes.  I can always find (& motivate for) twenty minutes in my day especially when the pay-off is lower stress and higher metabolism.  Nothing would derail *my* mojo faster than and hours long training session.
  • It empowers meWhen I finish cardio—I feel depleted.   When I finish resistance training (be it silly PLAYout with the Tornado or traditional lift) I feel empowered.  I feel strong.  Im reminded I AM MY OWN SUPERHEROWeight training helped my find my voice.  It gave me the confidence to demand to be heard & know Im worthy of taking up *space* in the world. Who wouldnt want to make time for something when it feels that amazing & extends into all realms of life?


Now you. 

  • What’s your best tip for finding or maintaining resistance training mojo?
  • Do you have a fave workout planning/recording smart phone app to share?


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  1. says

    I’m the queen of lack of motivation so no help here how to stick to a training mojo :)

    I don’t use workout planning apps but I do love Endomondo, I use it for every long walk with Bella. I am a sucker for stats and I like to track how far and long we walked.

  2. says

    My tip? I’ve recently realized one of the biggest mojo-suckers is to keep doing the same routine over and over not to mention the fact that doing the same thing is not the most effective way to strength train.

    Mix things up and try something new. It’s working for me :)

    • says

      Completely agree. Not only does it keep you from getting bored, it keeps your muscles from getting bored. Bored muscles lose their stimulation and then the exercises you’re doing become less effective.

      My tip: write down your “why?” As in, why are you doing what you’re doing? Writing it down will help keep you motivated and help you stay focused on accomplishing any goals of have.

  3. says

    I totally agree, it’s all in the planning. I usually maintain a schedule for my workouts. There is no magical solution. Making a plan is the easy part, sticking to it is the problem for many. Without following through your plan is wasted.

  4. says

    I agree with Kristina that there is no magical solution, so plan and mix it up. Often boring comes from an unconscious wanting to see results immediately. If you are doing the same exercise over and over the boring can sink in quickly. Changing up the exercise helps to trick us and keep us focused. Also see a plan so the mind can map out what it needs to do to accomplish short term and long term goals.

  5. says

    I used to not like doing weights but now I do. I like how strong I feel pushing through the last reps when my muscles feel like Jell-O. I started with DVDs but I think working with a personal trainer (in person or on-line) would be a great way to get a program with a variety of great workouts.

    • Miz says

      I REALLY think hiring a trainer even for one session to check your form is so worth it for that reason!
      for the mental OK GOT IT. I *AM* DOING THIS RIGHT. sense!

  6. says

    Love this post! I am a resistance training fan and actually hate cardio. I love the tip to keep it short. I couldn’t agree more. Keeping in short and simple means I can be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes and I’m so much more likely to go if I know that!

  7. says

    I’m a planner.
    When I plan, I consider which muscle groups I need to work, which types of exercises I haven’t done in a while, but it needs to be written down. If it’s written, it will be done. If it’s in my head, it will remain there until I see something shiny and get distracted.

  8. Healthy Mama says

    I tend to do weights a lot for about a month and then give up because I don’t see changes.

    I wonder if I focused on feeling mental strong if that would help me?

  9. says

    I love the challenge from resistance training and the possibilities are endless – for me, I mix it up, add cardio and just enjoy the fact that I’m strong enough to do things for myself!

  10. says

    Like you Carla – I don’t get how they love cardio & find weights boring!!! :) Unlike you, I still have to do a lot of cardio even with all my weights to stay leaner & keep the weight off before, now & I am sure even more so as I age..

    I love your points! For me, I LOVE how it lets me shape me the way I want to be – not how others like or want to be.. I can be more muscle or less muscle And YES, I feel empowered in the gym when I lift!!! Still trying to figure out how to take that out of the gym. ;)

    People say it is boring but there are so many different ways to do it!!!

  11. says

    I love your tips for motivation – I love weight lifting, but I kind of love running more. I do struggle to find the energy to do it all now. I used to not have that problem. I love how empowering lifting is. I love seeing the physical changes and results from the hard work. I just need more time in the day ;-)

  12. says

    switch it up! there’s no reason to constantly do the same exercises over and over and over again. there are a bazillion classes to take or routines to follow! prevent boredom (if that’s an issue) but switching things up! :)

  13. says

    Variety is the spice of life…that’s my tip! I love how empowered weight training makes me feel. Something about it that makes me feel different than just running! However I dread going if I know it’s going to be the same old workout every time!

  14. says

    When I was in the same place many years ago I would say to myself, “if you start now, in a few months you will have done it instead of still wishing you would have with all that time wasted!”

  15. says

    I am just starting a weight and strength training routine so I a newbie…does 20 minutes really give results? Being a distance runner for the large portion of my life, I am of the mind set that you need to do something for hours to get results… I am loving 20 minutes!! Why didn’t I incorporate this into my life years ago?!!

    • says

      haha… i’m switching back to strength training after a few months of distance running and doing weights stuff for 10 mins every other day seems ridiculous now (even though i was doing it regularly before). :) i love weights though. the fact that so little time is needed to achieve results is what i like best about it.

      as far as apps, i sometimes use the 100 pushups app. not really strength training, but in the past i’ve used it in the winters to stay motivated and in shape when it’s kind of blah outside.

  16. MizFit says

    I CAN NOT SAY THIS ENOUGH (she shouts) :-)

    It is something we can sustain.
    If we are not competing.
    20 minutes is something I can be CONSISTENT with (it’s the fits and starts which kill us emotionally and physically).
    Even if a trainer says NO NO NO AN HOUR IS BETTER–I wont do that. Whats best for me? WHAT I WILL ACTUALLY DO :-)

  17. says

    I NEED to do this! I’m one of those people that walks into the gym and gets super frustrated because I have no clue where to start. That’s one reason I love to run…because I have a training schedule (a plan). I really need to weigh train though. I know this. I just need to do it.

  18. says

    It took me YEARS to start loving the weights, I am a runner through and through! What worked for me was basically force, haha. I started dating someone who was a former strength and conditioning college instructor. He made me lift, wouldn’t take my excuses, and for the first time ever I finally saw real results in the form of hypertrophy that I could not only feel but SEE, and THAT sold me. I love it now! But the other thing I’ve learned is to avoid monotony as much as possible. Every day we do a different routine. I see so many people in the gym doing the same weight circuit every single time. No wonder they burn out on it. Just like cardio, or any exercise, you have to mix it up!!!

  19. says

    Damn you be smart! Planning is the key. Having something written down to do gives you focus and an end point. Beware of changing things up too frequently though. Constantly varying everything (exercise, reps, sets, load) makes it harder to get results. Stick with a routine for a few weeks, then switch it up before psychological and physiological boredom kick in!

  20. says

    I do love free weights and cables… mmmmm cables. However, on my hierarchy of needs (ala Maslow) I learned that the SOCIAL is why I was lacking motivation, so I found a class called BodyPump at my gym that combines group exercise (social) and weights (win-win). I am officially a bodypumper and go twice a week to augment my cardio. (Now if only I could convince my co-workers to run with me, then I could drop the pump class and lift free weights instead). I love love love the sluggish sore feeling in my body the day after a good lift!

  21. says

    Bleh. WHen I lost my 50 lbs it was via resistance training. The key then was to do it with a partner and oh yes a PLAN!! Sadly I’ve fallen away from doing it as much as I should (looking at you torn rotator cuff!).

  22. says

    My struggle with weights is that I don’t get the calorie burn (read- this girl is obsessed with her HR monitor) from weights like I do from cardio. I KNOW all about the after burn and how increased muscle burns more calories. I started adding in short cardio bursts in between my sets and that has helped.

  23. says

    My tip? Don’t never not quit! Yes, I know it’s a triple negative. THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT SO FREAKIN’ POWERFUL. I don’t know why I even bother…

  24. says

    I love how consistent you are, and I often think of you when I do my short resistance workouts. I literally think, “I’m sure Carla worked out today. I should, too.” I know it’s a bit weird since we never met in real life, but it works for me. :)

  25. says

    I am a cardio junkie and am learning to love weights/resistance training… I often feel clueless when it comes to the weight room floor. I just wander around the room copying what others are doing. :)

  26. says

    The more I do, the more I LOVE to do. I am comfortably doing resistance ‘workouts’ 3 x per week now… but I do so many other things throughout the week that are just FUN but alos GOOD for me.

    Sign me:

    Former cardio queen who has given up her crown….

  27. says

    Great tips! It is so easy to get stuck in an exercise rut. Your posts if full of pointers to help me keep myself motivated.

  28. says

    Planning is what works for me. I don’t really use an app, but I will set a time, and figure out what I’m going to do ahead of time.

    I’m also luck that I teach a strength class. When I get busy, I know that I will be at least teaching my class twice a week. While not the perfect workout for me, it still works.

  29. says

    I don’t have many tips to add, partly because I find strength/resistance training so much FUN! It’s my ME time, with MY music, and it makes me feel powerful and capable.

    The excellent metabolism is a wonderful benefit! :-)

  30. says

    I’ve always loved lifting and my motivation came from enjoying being strong in general.

    With that being said – the “aura” in my gym (felt like match.com), and the lack of creativity I had in my workouts found me losing my lifting mojo recently!

    My getting my mojo back was two-fold: I started going in the early morning hours where it was less crowded and less like a meat market. And I hired a coach for 8 weeks to give me new workouts, challenges, and ramp up my nutrition plan!

    So far so good! :)

  31. says

    I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I’m an endurance athlete that LOVES resistance training. It may be because I first started my fitness journey with resistance training and then took up endurance activities, but either way no matter what I’m training for I always maintain my resistance training. I find that I feel weak with just cardio training, whereas if I stop my cardio but keep resistance training I don’t notice much of a difference at all in how I feel. I think the key for maintaining the mojo is variety. It’s important physically but also mentally to keep changing up your routine and challenging yourself in different ways. I’m a personal trainer so sometimes I put so much effort into planning other people’s workouts that I skimp on planning mine – if I ever feel unmotivated or like I’m in a rut it is usually because I need to change things up and then my mojo magically reappears!

  32. says

    Love it (as always). I have always been passionate about the weights too, there is simply no better feeling of strength than, well, being strong.

    I motivate myself with great workouts but also because it’s the only time of the day my husband and I leave our computers/training others to be together. It’s our time and we love pushing each other. Wouldn’t trade that time!

  33. Daisy says

    I’m really into running lately. I feel like my interests in working out change with the weather!

  34. says

    I have a love/hate relationship with resistance training. I do it because I like to feel strong, it helps my endurance training, and it energizes me. It is all about planning. I need a plan before I strength train otherwise I can find a excuse to skip it. NO apps, I find inspiration from my fellow bloggers or I just make up my own torture session. ;)

  35. says

    Whelp. I’m pretty much the opposite of you – not hard at all to motivate me to cardio-cize! But weights… sigh. Love your tips though, esp. the last one;) And I also love how you pointed out that you’re training for LIFE.

  36. says

    How you feel when you’re done- now THAT is the ticket!
    Focusing on that can be a savior.

    Me, I only dance. Pretty much all the time.
    Maybe you just have to find what ‘moves’ you and go with it!

  37. Michael says

    I need to get back onto that resistance training horse. I just seem to start and get over the hump and start enjoying it when I fall ill. I dont know what it is. People say that my system is run down and I should take more vitamins.

  38. says

    i just love reading all the benefits of strength training because i am always trying to HAMMER them into my mind whenever i am feeling guilt about not doing “enough” cardio. i love strength training and how strong it makes me feel! last night i did an upper body workout that lasted 25 minutes and felt great. i’m with you, a workout doesn’t have to be long to be effective. and i always tell myself the whole muscle = metabolism piece. too much cardio can MESS with metabolism so i’ve been working on balancing.

  39. cheryl says

    I love weights. I love swimming cycling, running, triathlon. Weights/resistance training make my running, cycling, swimming go better and keeps injuries during/after said exercise, at bay.
    Just turned 60. WOMEN you HAVE to lift if you want to stay strong- that would be the ticket if I wasn’t currently lifting. Do you look around and see who you do NOT want to be at 50, 60, 70, 80? That should be enough for anyone to START and STICK with it.
    As far as planning…I try to, but sometimes I just “go” with what moves me that morning before I head off to work. What to I FEEL like doing today? It sure is nice to have options!

  40. says

    The motivation I got when I first tried weight lifting was the way I look back then because I was fat at that time. Since then I tried to be motivated.

  41. says

    I love your attitude to training! Well, I would because it’s the same as mine ;) I’ve recently started using pinterest to inspire me – I like at-home super quick HIIT style routines, but I like to shake things up and often get stuck after pushups and squats… this is a great place for me to remind myself of all the exercises I could do. As long as I don’t get distracted with all the things I could be eating instead!


  1. […] 4 Tips for Finding Resistance Training Motivation by Carla – I will admit, I love walking, stretching, biking, yoga, but I tend to always procrastinate strength training – even knowing all the benefits. I love Carla’s tips for finding resistance training motivation and plan to try to implement them in my life so I can get back into strength training on a regular basis. […]