by Tony Gjokaj June 13, 2022 7 min read

I started doing Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu recently. It’s rough on the body, but I’ve been having a blast doing it.

Last week, I was battling a lot of motivation as to whether or not I should get into a workout session and do a workout session.

I made it my goal to train 4 times last week.

On my fourth day, I questioned if I REALLY needed to do another.

I started to look towards the future and how I would feel after my workout session, and that euphoric feeling after the workout convinced me to continue onwards.

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked from our community on Facebook is how to stay motivated to exercise for mental health.

So today, I wanted to give you a few motivational hacks you can use to improve your mental health.

Hacks To Staying Motivated To Exercise

When you’re on your fitness for mental health journey, one of the hardest things is to stay motivated with exercise, you guys know that with consistent exercise, your mood is going to be lifted.

If you’ve been reading our posts, we’re always talking about lifting your mood and physical activity.

And I want to help you guys on this, because a lot of people are not motivated all the time to work out.

Understand that you’re not YOU when you’re depressed, and sometimes, you’re not going to be motivated to workout.

But if there’s one tip I can give you: you’re going to feel so much better IMMEDIATELY after doing one short workout session.

Let me explain.

I. Focus on The FEELING After Your Workout Sessions.

If you watch the above YouTube video, I talk about how my BJJ gi motivated me to get my workout session in, because I was reminded about how I would FEEL after this session.

I’m looking at it in the future.

Once I complete this workout session, and I break a sweat and I’m losing pounds of water, I feel 100 times better.

I want you to understand that with going into every workout session, pursue the feeling that you’re going to improve your mood and well being.

That should be the primary goal.

If you can frame exercise as the one thing that will make you feel less pain from a mental health perspective in the long-term, there’s some motivation there!

II. Get A Pre-Workout With Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is an ingredient that’s found in some supplements that helps with workout performance in the form of muscular endurance.

Those that engage from 1 minute to 4 minutes of straight physical activity will notice performance improvements from it. This consists of weight-lifters and other athletic sports.

It also gives you a face and hand tingling effect called paresthesia.

This effect definitely gives you the incentive to go and sweat it out.

We actually created a Mood-Lifting Pre-Workout with nootropic ingredients guaranteed to lift your mood.

III. Find A Style Of Exercise You LOVE

The third tip I would recommend is find a style of exercise you enjoy any type of exercise that you actually like.

You can do cardio.

You can do weightlifting.

There’s no one best way to do things.

You just got to find something that your gut feeling tells you to keep pursuing.

For example, when I first started my journey was about weightlifting, I wanted to get buff I wanted to get muscular. Now it’s working towards self defense and being more confident in my body and how it moves.

Find something that you enjoy that you know is going to lift your mood and improve your mental health and stick with it.

IV. Keep Track Of Your Workouts.

The fourth tip I want to recommend is keeping track of your workouts.

You can get yourself a little planner that you box off your workout sessions, a journal that’s just tracking your progress, or even a calendar.

Check it off or track your workouts when you lift your mood with exercise.

You can then look back and see the progress you made.

If you’re consistent across the board, and you keep getting that even on the rough days, that should motivate you to keep going forward.

Consistency is everything.

V. Enclothed Cognition

Research that supports that wearing something that has some association to it can motivate you.

Whether it’s like putting on gym gloves or a gi, that will prepare you to get your activity in.

One of our mood lifters Chris wears gym gloves to the gym. When he does this, he becomes “Gym Chris”, the person he desires himself to be in the future.

Sometimes you need to do that you need to have some fancy gym clothes to make you feel good.

Buy some gym clothes that make you feel comfortable in and you only wear for your gym sessions.

I can guarantee you’ll be motivated to get in there once you put them on.

VI. Exercise Triggers

Look at when you’re most motivated to work out.

Is it when you put your keys into the ignition of your car?

I know that helps me.

I know that if I get into the car, it’s gym time.

So my goal is to get into the car — whatever it takes.

That’s my motivational trigger to workout.

Mood Lifter Grant has talked about how the family dog, Red, waits out his door in the morning for their morning walk together.

These factors can provide us incentive to work out.

VII. The Exercise Switcheroo

If you find it difficulty to get a workout session in because you’re not looking forward to the workout day, this may help.

For those who hate leg day, for example, you can do one or two of your favorite exercises on your leg day before the leg workout.

If you like bench press, commit to that first before your leg workout.

In between the leg workout, sprinkle a back exercise in between or at the end to provide incentive to go through the workout.

This might help you get in there!

VIII. Compromise

If you’re not motivated to go into a do workout session, compromise.

Instead of a 60 minute workout, do a 20 minute workout instead.

If you’re not constrained to time, you might find that 20 minutes might turn into 30.

30 might even turn into 60.

Sometimes you just need that initial compromise.

Tell yourself you’re going to take it easy today, but you still need your a workout in because you know you’ll feel good after it.

You get in there, you put your time in, and then maybe you want to stay longer.

Personally, I’ve had that experience before where I’m not motivated to go to work out.

I tell myself I’m just going to do 20 minutes.

And then if I decide i‘m not feeling it, at least I got 20 minutes.

But most of the time, I spare those extra 40 minutes or so.

When you get in there, it’s a lot easier to get the entire workout session done.

IX. Quick and Frequent Workouts

One other thing I would recommend is something along the lines of what Chris is doing in our Mood Lifters group.

He is going to the gym every day to build that consistency.

But what he’s doing in the gym is only working on three exercises.

This can take 20–30 minutes only.

He gets in and gets out.

This is all with the intention to build that consistency and discipline so that even when he’s not motivated, he’s still putting in work.

I think that’s a great idea for anybody that’s trying to be consistent.

Short and consistent bouts will allow you to stay motivated as soreness and fatigue will be lessened!

X. Celebrate EVERY Session.

Every workout session is a win when mental health is involved.

Celebrate every session.

Give yourself some type of healthy-ish dessert after you complete a workout session.

With exercise comes better nutritional options, but sometimes we need to indulge.

One of my personal indulgences is to add a few scoops of protein powder, fruits, and a half serving of ice cream.

I blend it into a smoothie.

Then I enjoy a nutritious smoothie with some indulgence to it.

This makes me look forward to my workout sessions.

If you do something like this ONLY after your workout sessions, you will stay more motivated to complete them.

Try something like this out and let me know how it goes.

Understand That We Won’t Be Consistent All The Time.

When mental rut hits hard, it’s hard to stay driven to exercise.

But if you can push through that with one small physical activity, that’s all you need these days.

You WILL feel better afterward.

Understand that motivation comes and goes.

It will fluctuate based on experiences and energy expended throughout the day.

Depression can impact it as well.

If depression is high, you’re gonna most likely be motivated to relax on the couch.

That’s fine for a certain amount of time.

But then there comes a certain point where it makes you feel worse.

Try to get some activity in before you get to that point.

Something light, something easy.

Going for a walk, push ups, sit ups, whatever it takes to help you LIFT your mood.

Make it your goal to break a sweat.

If you don’t sweat, make your goal to get 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity.

If you could just do that, consider that a huge accomplishment those days.

Going back to our first hack, remember that you should pursue that feeling that you get after your workouts.

Small movement moves mountains.

I just wanted to thank you all for watching and reading.

If you have any tips that have helped you, feel free to share them as well.

Until next time!

LIFT Your Morning Mood [Free Course]

If you need a mood lifting morning routine, we created a 30 day course for you.

You can get the LIFT Your Morning Mood Course for free here.

This course includes access to our digital book, our accountability group, course content and various other resources from for you.

We’d love to see you in here!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.

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