Reader’s Request: Finding Motivation

Morning friends <3 Hope you’re having a great day so far!

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a reader’s request, so here’s a recent one I received that I thought would be perfect for today.

Hey Gina,

I love your blog! I had a reader’s request for you: how do you always stay motivated to work out and eat well? I try to do it consistently, but sometimes fall off the wagon for days or weeks at a time. Also, it’s hard for me to stick with it if I don’t see results right away. Any tips?

Here’s the deal:

Working out is one of my all-time favorite things to do. It’s right there under shopping, napping and one other thing I can think of 😉 But there are some mornings where I don’t want to work out. At all. I’m usually have too much going on that day, am tired, or just don’t feel like it. Here are some of the things I do when that happens.

First, I assess the situation. Do I not feel like working out because I’m feeling lazy or just want to do something else instead, or is my body telling me it needs a break? If it’s the latter, I take the break. There’s always tomorrow and if your body is exhausted, listen to it and give it the rest it needs. You won’t have an effective workout anyway, so it’s best you take the break.

me and bell

[Cuddling a fluffy white puppy is optional, but a bonus]

If I realize I’m just bored with my workout options or not feeling extra motivated that day, I’ll use these steps:

1) Make a change. If I originally planned on a date with the elliptical and am dreading it for whatever reason, I’ll go for a walk/jog outside instead. If I don’t feel like doing a weights workout that day, I’ll do the TurboFire Tone DVD or Physique 57 instead. Usually when this happens, I’ve been in a rut and doing the same schedule for too long, without even realizing it.


2) Give it 10 minutes. I start a workout for 10 minutes and if after 10 minutes, I’m over it, I call it good for the day. There’s no need to risk burnout or totally hate your workout while you’re doing it. 99.9% of the time, I keep going because it only takes about 10 minutes to really remember that working out feels amazing and that if you’re doing it right, it’s FUN 🙂


[Now, if only I could work out with Lacey Stone whenever I wanted….]

2) Download a new song or pick up a magazine. A new song is usually enough to pump me up –last night, it was “Barbara Streisand” by Duck Sauce- or I’ll grab a magazine to read while I do cardio. “They” say that you shouldn’t read while working out, but my philosophy is that any type of movement is better than non-movement, whether you’re reading or not. So if you enjoy reading whilst cardio-ing, read on, my friends.

3) I think of getting my daily sweat on as a “part of the day”, not something that’s added to it. It’s right up there with brushing my teeth, so I’ll think to myself, “I wouldn’t skip out on brushing my teeth today, so why would I skip out on a workout?”

4) Read a blog. The past couple of days, it’s been more of a challenge to wake up early and work out, but I prefer to work out early since it’s so stankin’ hot here. So, I’ll read one of my active friends’ blogs. I know that by the time I wake up on the west coast, one of my east coast friends, like Tina, Julie, Kath or Caitlin most likely already got their workout in, so after reading one of their blogs, I feel ready to join in the fun 🙂

As far as eating goes, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with my eats as time has gone on. When I first started the blog, I was still getting into maintenance mode, not eating very many whole foods (lots of processed stuff!), and trying to figure everything out. I didn’t treat myself as often as I do now, and I eventually found that the more I explored more new and fun foods and relaxed I became, the healthier I ate, if that makes sense? It all came down to trusting myself and knowing that I’d be able to maintain what I’d worked hard for.

My biggest tips for continuing to eat well are:

1) Eat food that makes you feel good. Sometimes that means an extra large green juice sometimes that could mean a few bites of a brownie. If you’ve been eating well for a while, you’ll know that nutrient-dense foods will make you feel amazing, but that’s not to say that you don’t need some of the treat-y stuff in there, too, because I think it’s good for the soul 🙂 If you really want something, eat it. Usually, I’ll have a couple of bites and decide if I want the rest, or I’ll share with the Pilot and a friend.


Also, don’t feel like you have to eat something you despise because it’s “healthy.” Think overnight oatmeal is disgusting? Find something else that you enjoy and you want to start the day with 🙂

2) Protein with every meal. This is one I still have to consciously take into action, but I notice that when every meal has at least a little bit of protein, I feel more satisfied and energized throughout the day. It can be in the form of cheese/dairy, animal protein (lean meat or fish), eggs, lentils/beans, quinoa, tofu or tempeh. Protein powder is a nice supplement, but is just that: a supplement, and shouldn’t be relied on for a major source of protein in one’s diet.

3) Look for the forest, not the trees. One of my bosses at the personal training studio told me that they always eat 80% clean, 20% dirty. I didn’t love how it was phrased (like treat-y food is “dirty?”), but liked the philosophy. As long as you’re eating healthy most of the time, that’s bueno 🙂

4) Make sure your goals are realistic and celebrate the little victories. I know from experience that it’s hard to keep going when you feel like you’re not seeing results, but you know what they say about a ball in motion. [I just wrote “mall” in motion] Keep it rolling! Plan fun things along the way, like maybe a more expensive fitness activity (like rock climbing, Pilates reformer session or a new yoga class) or treat yourself with a massage, pedicure, or movie date with a friend.

I hope these tips are a little helpful, but motivation really does come from within. If you want something, you’ll make it happen. Usually for me, it’s the thought of keeping my body healthy so I can travel the world with the Pilot when I’m older and become the crazy energetic grandma one day. Taking care of yourself can be good motivation enough- you only get one body, so might as well take care of it, ya know? 🙂

Hope this helps a little!



Where does your motivation come from? How do you keep yourself on track?

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  1. Namaste Gurl on July 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    SO true– what great exercise and healthy living tips! 🙂

  2. Becc on July 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    So I tried your circuit workout from the other day! Holy soreness!! I am usually just a walker, but I thought I’d give this a try.

    This may be TMI, but it hurts to sit!!! And the toilet forget about it! 🙂 haha… VERY sore, but feels good!
    THanks for the great workout!

    • Fitnessista on July 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      well i’m glad you had a great workout! and extra glad you think of me often while you’re a little sore 😉

      • Becc on July 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm

        That’s for sure. Every time I stand or sit I tell anyone who will listen! 🙂 hehe
        I actually had a friend who is trying to get preggo and I referred her to your site after reading your “family” posts about getting preggers! 🙂 ps. congrats on the boy! 🙂

  3. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on July 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Love this. I have so many motivation issues, it’s pathetic. bUTTTT resting helps so much!!

  4. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on July 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Gina this is a really well done post and really well thought out… I can tell you put some time into this one thinking about it, the suggestions, and then typing it all out!

    “I know that by the time I wake up on the west coast, one of my east coast friends, like Tina, Julie, Kath or Caitlin most likely already got their workout in, so after reading one of their blogs, I feel ready to join in the fun :)”–
    Isn’t that the truth! Out here on the west coast, half the day is done out East by the time I get moving some days 🙂 I am reading about people’s lunchtime posts and we havent even had breakfast…hah!

    And the 80% clean/20% dirty rule…even though you dont love what she called it, I think the message is good. It’s balance, moderation. Overall impact.

    Love the post 🙂

  5. Sara K on July 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Love this! Changing my playlists often keeps me motivated—oh and having some new workout wear to get moving in 🙂

  6. Heather @ get healthy with Heather on July 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Great post Gina! Motivation truely does come from within. For me I love the way exercise and healthy whole foods make me feel… Super energized!

  7. Natasha (OveLoves) on July 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Ah, I love this post! I agree with all of these especially reading blogs (it helps me find new routines or fitness exercises) and I can hardly wait for the new playlist to load before I’m trying to get out the door for a run.

    A huge thing is that if you fall off the bandwagon, just get back on. See it as a treat to yourself rather than a failure. For example, on those days you REALLY don’t want to go and you just can’t bare it, think of it as a day to treat yourself to relaxation and free time. Or, if you had a day where you gorged on cookies & chips, think of it as (like I said) a treat rather than a failure. A lot of people fall off the bandwagon and use it as an excuse to stay off – just because you had one bad day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep going!

    But, the number one thing is to keep switching up your routines – don’t stay constant and stale otherwise you’ll get bored. This blog has DEFINITELY shown me how to switch it up and has kicked my fitness level up several notches.

    Hope that wasn’t too much rambling 🙂


  8. CAROL on July 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    This post could not have come at a better time!!! You always inspire me, especially with your meals and recipes, but I so needed this for working out! Sometimes I get so over it! Thanks!! <3

  9. Kate on July 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Hi there, just found your blog when googling about Zumba. I’ve been reading a few of your older posts and so glad I stumbled upon this. I’m a new Mum, living in New Zealand and am struggling to find time and the motivation to lose the excess baby kgs. I need to lose approx 11kgs/24lbs to be back in the ballpark of my pre-baby weight and your blog is going to be the inspiration to get me there.
    Anyways, just wanted to pop in and say how much I’ve enjoyed reading this so far, looking forward to future posts.

    • Fitnessista on July 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      thank you, kate! congrats on your new bundle of joy 🙂 nice to meet you!

  10. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on July 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    GREAT advice 🙂 Especially about eating 80% clean. I’m 100% convinced that the secret to being successful in a healthy lifestyle is by letting yourself off the hook every once in a while

  11. Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun on July 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    What a great post…I love your advice! I totally agree with you on the “wait 10 minutes” and then decide if you want to continue to workout. If I’m draggin’ my butt in the beginning of my workout, I ALWAYS feel better after 10 minutes. As far as eating healthy, I like to find things that taste great AND are healthy. I cannot compromise one for the other…it HAS to be both, that’s the only way I’ll stick to it!

  12. Shayla @ The Good Life on July 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Awesome post and love your tips! My motivation comes from remembering how great I feel after a sweaty workout and getting that endorphin rush! So that I don’t get in a rut, I like to plan my Spin class days with instructors I love to go to (i.e. great music!) so I know going into it I’ll get a great workout, that she’ll play awesome music, and that I’ll leave feeling refreshed and energized. And if I’m not feelin’ a workout, I do your tip of getting on the elliptical to read a magazine and listen to new downloaded music.
    As far as food, M-F I like to eat pretty clean and have a small sweet treat at the end of the day so I don’t go crazy! On the weekends, it’s my time to be more loose with my diet and indulge in that 20% of dirty treats 😉

  13. Peggy on July 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Gina! I read your blog all the time, and really respect your advice and knowledge. Since you mentioned protein powder in this post (and linked to your awesome post about it!), I thought I would ask you something I can’t find any information about. I live in California, and the state requires that warnings be placed on products that contain known harmful chemicals. I just noticed the other morning that my big tub of Nutribiotic rice protein powder had a warning that says “this product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm”. I use it every day, so it freaked me out a little, but extensive googling turned up nothing. Have you heard of anything like that–i.e., is it in all protein powders? (Should I buy Sun Warrior instead?) Or in small enough quantity that I shouldn’t worry? Or should we start a large scale grassroots rice protein powder lovers riot to find out the truth? Thanks, Gina, and sorry to bug you–just wondering if you knew.

    • Fitnessista on July 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      wow, i’ve heard of that!! will research tonight and get back to you. i will say that i think as of now, in small doses you should be fine. california also has a warning that using a garmin 305 is linked to cancer, and i know many people who use theirs everyday (i used mine for quite a few months on a daily basis!). so i’ll look into it!

  14. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on July 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Nice post Lady. I am with you on the telling yourself you will work out for ten minutes. By then, I am almost always into it. That works really well with on my own yoga practice! I also like to let myself break my routine if need be. I like to work work outs into my day too. I walk to work, or will walk around on my lunch break. I think the biggest motivator for healthy eating is how you feel after something whole, vs. something more treaty. That is usually enough to keep me on track.

  15. Tiffany on July 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Ahhh! I loooove Ducksauce! 🙂 So motivating, I must concur.

  16. Jess@atasteofconfidence on July 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I think these are great tips! Switching workouts really helps me…and doing exercise that I actually enjoy instead of forcing myself to do things I don’t. Like running!

  17. Sarah on July 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    I love this! Sometimes it’s as though I’m having an eternal battle with myself on deciding to work out every day. However, the stronger side of me ALWAYS wins (except on rest days!), and I always feel 100% better for getting out there and getting some fitness in. I try to incorporate as much healthy and clean food as I possibly can into my diet (without breaking the bank- I’m a college student, so you know how that goes..), but I always leave room for “treats.”

    Reading healthy living blogs (like yours, of course!) has helped me find a healthier path when it comes to eating. Without your words of wisdom, I wouldn’t be eating the way I am now or maintaining a healthy, physically fit bod because I just didn’t know ‘healthy living’ could easily become routine! So I just wanted to thank you for keeping up with this blog, because it’s truly inspiring!

  18. Sarah @ Serotonin for Breakfast on July 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you for the thoughtful post, Gina! I don’t comment nearly as much as I should on your blog, but motivation is such a huge part of feeling good about ourselves that I wanted to add to the discussion. 🙂 A lot of the things you mentioned are very motivating to me…particularly keeping in the loop of wellness blogs, but recently starting my own has made an even bigger difference! I exercise and eat well for myself first and foremost, but if i can inspire someone else to do the same, then even better!! Making exercise part of the daily routine is also helpful, as we really are creatures of habit. If I regularly go to a group fitness class and enjoy it, I definitely feel like I miss out, even if I do get in a different work out that day. Exercise is such a great way to build confidence…and it’s pretty easy to recall how good I felt after the last time I went to the gym!

  19. Marie on July 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    You look so cute!!! I love tht shirt! You hair looks cute up! 😉

  20. Karen on July 22, 2011 at 3:07 am

    Hi, can I ask where you get the P57 DVD and how much does they costs?!

    Oh btw, where did you get the red top saying “sweating for two”.. I thought that was cute!

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

      tank is from here:
      the dvds you can buy online- the company sent me the dvds a while ago to try and i love them

      • Karen on July 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        Thanks for the link! 🙂
        Anyway, would you mind doing a review about P57 DVDs so that I can know how it actually works? I found the DvDs online and for volume 1 it costs 59.99. I’m still hesitant on whether I should get it. In fact I have many Jillian Michael’s DvDs and they are tough to a certain level. I just hoping that I will not get the same type of workout DVDs.

        • Fitnessista on July 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

          they’re TOTALLY different. i’ll do a focus on post next week for physique 🙂

          • Karen on July 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm

            Awesome! Thank you so much!!! Have a good day! :))

  21. LisaG on July 22, 2011 at 9:38 am

    It helps me to pencil it in on my daily calendars along w/ my food journal. (Like you taught me) That way you can go back and review anything you need to change or shake up in your routine.

  22. Hillary on July 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    My motivation comes from knowing that I’ve never regretted a workout…but I HAVE regretted NOT working out. I always feel better after sweating, and like you said, it’s easier when I consider exercise a part of my day, not a random addition to it!

  23. Meg | One Love Meg on July 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    This is a great list. The new music playlist always motivates me. I have a few yoga playlists on my blog but I plan on adding some cardio mixes too. But making the workout one of your daily routines that you wouldn’t want to skip is a good mentality to have. I also think its helpful you have a workout partner that you are committed to or maybe even a group. Then you are head accountable to get your butt in shape. 🙂 Thanks for the tips! Happy Friday!

  24. julie @ pbfingers on July 24, 2011 at 8:23 am

    thanks so much for the shout out, gina! you better believe i derive motivation from your blog every single day. 🙂 you’re a breath of fresh air. <3

  25. RachelG on September 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I know this is an old post but I’ve been paroozing the blog like crazy since I discovered it. Loving going from reading about food, to fitness, to cute maxi dresses and how they can fit my uber short frame. 🙂 This post has come to be on the perfect day…I’m feeling motivated to be active but not sure if I really want that to mean going to the gym and doing the same old elliptical/ab workout. Thinking about it, I decided that I will shake things up a bit and do the Bridal Bootcamp Week 1 workout and then go to yoga at a local studio for some vinyasa flow. I also decided to eat the damn piece of chocolate. lol. My boss bought the good stuff and I’ve been staring at it for a few days now. Really working on getting over the whole “I ate chocolate, I feel so fat” mindset. Thankfully yoga and blog posts like this are helping! 🙂

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