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workout motivation

Read This the Next Time You Don’t Feel Like Working Out

We’ve got all the motivation you need right here.

By Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal and Team PelotonUpdated February 28, 2024


We all have those days when we want to work out—deep down, we really and truly do—but we just can’t muster the energy to put on exercise clothes and get started. How do you overcome having no motivation to workout and start getting sweaty? 

Many people find the wise words of Peloton instructors can give them the little push they need to get started. So we asked the Peloton community to reveal what their favorite instructors said during class that really made an impact on their motivation to work out—especially on the days they’d rather hit snooze and stay in bed. 

Pro tip: Bookmark this page and return to it whenever you need that extra dose of motivation!

Why Do I Have No Motivation to Work Out?

Even if you know all the benefits that come from having a consistent workout routine (like improving your mood, boosting your heart health, and reducing your risk of disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are some days when that still isn’t enough to get you moving. Here are some of the reasons you may feel like you have no motivation to work out:

1. You don’t identify as a “fitness person.” According to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, the people who are most motivated to work out are those who have an “exercise-related identity.” If you don’t consider your workouts a core part of your personality, you may feel less motivated to maintain a movement habit.

2. You’re focused on extrinsic motivation instead of intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from external rewards or praise, like treating yourself to a new pair of shoes after your first 5K or gathering hundreds of high-fives during a milestone Peloton ride. Intrinsic motivation, meanwhile, comes from within; you work out because it’s fun or you feel proud at beating your previous PR. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that intrinsic motivation is a strong predictor of adherence to an exercise program. The more internally motivated you are, the more likely you are to stick to your workout routine.

3. Exercise feels like a task on the to-do list. If exercise feels like something you have to do, you’re probably going to be pretty unmotivated, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Pair that with all the other demands on your time, and it’s no wonder you have no motivation to work out. 

What to Do When You Don’t Want to Work Out

Even when you’ve got a workout regimen you love that works for your schedule, there are going to be days when you’re just not feeling it. But we can help. Here are a variety of ways to bring excitement and motivation to your workout routine, so you can crush your fitness goals even when you have no motivation to work out. 

1. Find a Motivating Instructor

Sometimes all it takes is finding the right instructor to help you reignite your passion for exercise. Look for someone upbeat, positive, and genuinely passionate about fitness. You can also consider whether the instructor addresses your motivational struggles (do they remind you that working out is a privilege, not a chore? Or remind you to find motivation within yourself?). You can try out different classes and instructors until you find one who resonates with you. The energy, positivity, and enthusiasm of a great instructor can be infectious and change your whole day. And, of course, it can help you find the motivation needed to stick with your workouts and fitness game plan.

2. Compete with Yourself

Setting goals and tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated and inspired. Rather than comparing yourself to others, focus on competing with yourself. Set achievable goals and track your progress using a fitness journal. Celebrate every success, no matter how small, and use each one as motivation to keep pushing yourself even further.

3. Find a Mantra

A powerful affirmation or mantra can help you stay focused and motivated. Choose a phrase or word that resonates with you on a personal level, and repeat it to yourself whenever you need a little extra motivation. It could be something like "I am strong" or "I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to." Use the refrain as a tool to push yourself forward, especially when the going gets tough.

4. Pick a Workout Buddy

Having a workout buddy is a great way to stay motivated. There’s nothing like knowing someone’s counting on you to keep you accountable when you have no motivation to work out. So how do you find a workout buddy or accountability partner? Look for someone who shares your fitness goals and interests, and is committed to working out on a regular basis. If you’re not exercising together in person, you can always run or cycle together virtually. Having someone you can share your trials and tribulations with will help keep you both focused on doing your best when one of you feels less motivated.

5. Celebrate Your Wins

It's important to celebrate your successes. This provides a dopamine hit in your brain, which has repercussions throughout your body. One fun way to do this: Set up a reward system where you treat yourself to something special whenever you hit a fitness milestone. The reward could be a massage, a new workout outfit, or a night out with friends. The important thing is to regularly engage in that reward behavior so that it keeps you coming back for more. 

6. Know Your Why

Everyone has a reason that drives them to do the things they do. By understanding your reasons for working out (aka your intrinsic motivation), it can help you remain committed to your fitness goals. Don’t think you have a why? Oh, but you do. To find out what it is, ask yourself why you started working out in the first place and what you hoped to achieve. Keep your reasons in mind, especially when you're feeling less motivated. Your own personal rationale and reasoning can serve as inspiration to keep you moving forward. 

Motivational Quotes

If you’ve ever gotten stuck in a rut or felt unable to garner the desire to do a single healthy thing, you know how important it is to be inspired and motivated. Sometimes all it takes is a single word or phrase to spark inspiration and reignite your passion for working out. It could be something simple or profound—but when it hits, it resonates on a deeply personal level.

What follows are words from Peloton instructors that have impacted others who were struggling to overcome a fitness plateau or just feeling like they had no motivation to work out. We hope that well-timed words of encouragement or inspiration will help you regain your momentum, achieve the results you want, and feel great about yourself in the process.

Opening Line

“I love how Jess Sims starts most workouts with, ‘The hardest part is over. You showed up.’ When I’m not feeling as motivated, I commit to 20 minutes, whether it’s a walk, ride, strength or yoga class. I always feel stronger and less stressed afterwards.” —Liz L.

Treat Yourself

“In an Arms & Light Weights class I took with Jess King, she talked a lot about being strong. She said, ‘I’m a big fan of being strong, not skinny.’ I think about that a lot. For days when I’m completely unmotivated, I try to log on and at least do a 10-minute stretch or meditation—something that is good for my body.” —Karen C.

Stay in the Moment

Emma Lovewell said during a ride: ‘You can’t see the future anyway, so you might as well be here now.’ That resonated because being present is something I’ve been working on long term.” —Jennifer M.

Two for One

“Both Robin Arzón and Tunde Oyeneyin have said, ‘You’ve survived 100 percent of your worst days.’ This has stuck with me.” —Cristina L.

Go Team!

Denis Morton is famous for ‘I make suggestions, you make decisions.’ I even use that a lot to coach my team at work when discussing how to go about projects. I don't need them to do everything my way, but I'm happy to offer advice. As long as we come to the right analysis at the end.” —Stacie A.

Yes, It IS That Easy

“What gets me on the Peloton Bike every time is thinking about Tunde saying, ‘The hardest part is clipping in.’ Once you decide to get off your butt and just clip in, the rest is ‘easy.’ I also love her quote, ‘The pain you feel today will show itself as strength tomorrow!’” —Kerri A.

You Are #Blessed

Alex Toussaint often starts his rides with ‘You woke up today.’ I try to remember that life itself is a blessing and ‘Don’t waste your blessing!’ when I don’t want to ride. I think of all the people that struggle just to walk and would give anything to be able to ride or run.” —Cori V.

Love Yourself

Hannah Corbin says, ‘Treat your body like someone you love.’ It reminded me that I don’t always have to like my body. But just like family, however, I do love them unconditionally. That’s how I must approach the relationship with my body. Regardless of everything, I’m thankful and happy for all it gives me.” —Jessica M.


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