Reader’s Request: Staying Motivated

Hey friends! How are you this lovely afternoon??

I’m bueno over here Smile I took a dance class with a lifelong friend last night (which was INCREDIBLE, but no Dance Trance), ate vegetarian take-out for dinner, visited my great-grandmother and had my broken toe massaged by the lovely lady who stays and takes care of her. She put some blue elixir on it that was in a Mole jar and my toe feels 100% better and isn’t swollen today. <3 Life es bueno.

lovin spoonfulslovin spoonfuls (2)

Dinner was salad with black beans, brown rice, fajita veggies, guacamole and salsa


After dance, I made a pumpkin pie per the fam’s request Smile


Holidays are here, yo.

So I’ve gotten this question a few times via email and thought it would be a good reader’s request, particularly during this crazyhecticfrantical season.

Hey Gina,

I was wondering what you do to stay motivated to workout and eat well. It’s easy for me to start something up and stay with it for a little while, but I burn out easily and lose motivation. Any tips?

Here are some of my favorite tips for keeping your motivation mojo in check:

1. Acknowledge burnout, change something and roll with it. It’s been about 4 weeks since I’ve weight trained consistently. After weight training consistently 3-4 times a week for a few years, it got to a point where the LAST thing I wanted to do was go into the weight room and “train myself.”To put it mildly, I was really burned out, so I stopped and traded yoga instead. Is yoga a good long-term substitute for weight training?? I’m not quite sure, but for now, it’s working for me. If you’re getting burned out, take a break so you can come back refreshed or switch it out for something else you enjoy.

2. Don’t see the forest for the trees. Focus on the big picture of how things are going. Instead of evaluating things by the day, check out how you’ve done by the week or month.  I definitely have my days when I don’t feel like working out or want to eat carbs all day (I <3 Carbs), so I roll with it. In the grand scheme of things, I work out and eat the way I like to in a way that fuels my tank efficiently and makes me feel good, so that’s what matters.

3. Think about goals. Of course, working out is amazing for physical health, disease prevention and mental wellbeing. For me, it’s also the thought that I’d like to maintain the my weight loss. It’s also totally ok to think “I want to look seksi in my jeans” or “I want to blast my 5k/10k/half marathon/walk around the block time out of the water.” Write down your goals, make an inspiration board and take a second each day to think about your nutrition and fitness endeavors. Remember that goals should be realistic and measurable.

4. Surround yourself with a support team. Make sure to have at least one good friend or family member to cheer you on with your goals and you can share your success with. If not, the blogworld is an awesome resource for motivation and virtual workout buddies Smile

5. Make a plan, but don’t worry if it ends up being plan B. Take some time at the beginning of each week to plan out your meals and workout routine. It makes it so much easier when you don’t have plan on the spot, and all you have to do is cross it off the list. Need some help? Check out my meal planning, how to create a workout plan and weight training 101 posts.

6. Have fun with it!!! Eating chicken breasts and vegetables all day and giving yourself a redundant, too-long training schedule is a quick recipe for burnout. Experiment with new classes, recipes, ingredients and make it exciting. Variety is the spice of life Open-mouthed smile

Any other tips that I’m missing?? How do you stay motivated?

I’m off to get a tart pan for that raw chocolate tart and meeting a friend for Zumba!



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  1. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on November 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I just try and remember that feeling of how good I feel after a workout. I start each day with a workout so if I don’t do it, I just feel icky the rest of the day!

  2. Savvy on November 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    These are great tips, Gina!! Thanks for sharing with everybody <3 I'm definitely a believer in trying new things – they'll make what bored you before seem like an old friend when you start incorporating it again. I used to run every day. Now I mix it up with elliptical workouts and I've seen improvement across the board.

    New playlists really help me, too. I try to keep them current and as I like poppy music when I run I almost always know the lyrics to songs when I go clubbing with friends. #workoutbonus! ;D

  3. lindsey on November 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    For me, exercise and eating healthy are like brushing my teeth. I just have to do it. If I don’t, I feel sluggish and my self-confidence wanes. If I do, I feel like I can conquer the world…and I LOOOOOVE that feeling.

  4. Christin@purplebirdblog on November 23, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Don’t be afraid to re-try something you didn’t necessarily think was a good fit in the past. I HATED yoga when I first tried it 10 years ago, and now it is such an integral part of my life! I’m so glad I didn’t let my old feelings overshadow my desire to give it another go.

  5. salah@myhealthiestlifestyle on November 23, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Staying motivated was hard for me for a while. I like to set goals and go for them. Thats what I’ve done my whole life and thats what works for me. I’ve always trained for sports (bball and volleyball) so athletically related goals were all I had, but now I have optimal health goals….I try to eat a piece of fruit and/or a veggie with each meal and snack….I’ve seen such great resuts 🙂 as well as staying mentally well!

  6. Holly @ couchpotatoathlete on November 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Great tips — for me I just need to change it up if I need to. After a while I get burnt out on running. Then I switch to something else, and then I “miss” running and go back to it. It seems to work out that way. As long as I’m moving I’m feeling good!

  7. Amara@GirlinaWhirl on November 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    With weight training or running I found that having a great book on MP3 or a new playlist on my player really helps me get back downstairs to my gym. Love the planning ahead of time tip. That really helps me. Also there are many ways to do the same thing –like intervals on the treadmill instead of steady state, or pyramids or dropsets weightlifting instead of the 3 sets of 10. It helps me to change it up. Gina –you’ve got great tips on different ways to lift -thanks!

  8. Laura on November 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I think doing something that you love is a big help. If you dread it then it will always be an uphill battle. I think its also important to remember that you aren’t “good” if you work out and “bad” if you don’t. You should do it because you enjoy it and it makes you feel good. If that is the case then if you slip up you will know that you are just listening to your body and will get back to it. Don’t see an off day as a fail.

  9. Jessica @ Jessica Balances on November 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Love this post! I, too, was getting bored with the weight training thing and am doing a lot more yoga these days. I also agree that you’ve got to have FUN! Life is too short to do stuff you hate.

  10. Sassy Molassy on November 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I think having a goal or something to work toward is really helpful for me. I’m a runner and love staying active, but when I sign up for a race or decide I really want to be able to do x y and z poses well in yoga, I have something that I’m able to consistently work toward and achieve.

  11. Carolyn on November 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    My best motivation is just reminding myself the reasons why being healthy and active are important to me. For everyone this is different reasons, such as, keeping up with their children, preventing a disease, or a certain look they are striving for.

    Lovin’ Spoonfulls has quickly became one of my favorite places since I moved to Tucson in August. Most weekends I can be found there. In fact, on Saturday night I had that exact meal!

  12. Jess @moderngirlsguide on November 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks for this post Gina. Something i really needed to read 🙂 xx

  13. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' on November 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Love the tips! I’m all about #1– I get burned-out easily, and have to change it up frequently! Lately, Physique 57 classes are keeping me motivated, but when that changes, I’ve got a whole DVD library at home to keep me interested! (a collection that my husband often gives me grief about… but it’s fun to have a selection!)

    I also try to really APPRECIATE how good I feel now. Eating healthy has literally changed my whole outlook on life, and I’m a happier person because of it. I don’t want to go back to how I used to feel, so it’s good motivation to keep it up!

  14. Karyn on November 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    good tips. i just remember how A) great i’ll feel afterward and B) how not awake i’ll feel if i don’t

  15. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' on November 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    P.S. Your pumpkin pie looks PERFECT!! That photo should be in a cookbook! 😉

  16. Hilary @ Purelicious on November 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks so much for this post!! I definitely find myself getting in workout and/or food ruts, so it’s always nice to see more tips on how to stay IN THE GAME, so to speak. 🙂
    I need to do more switching things up, I find myself on the elliptical a lot and I know there are more fun work outs out there!

  17. carpensm @ A Life Without Ice Cream on November 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Great tips!

    Because I’m focusing on weight loss I find its hard to stay motivated when the scale or measuring tape isn’t moving so I focus on the reasons behind why I do what I do. I actually have to tell myself sometimes that I feel so much better when I’m eating healthy and exercising. Mind you sometimes it takes a more concrete reminder… like having one bad meal out with the girls and feeling icky later. Sounds silly but a reminder does help.

    Great tip on keeping it fresh… I find this is key for me and often when I don’t feel like working out its because I’m not excited about my workout any more. When I try something new or even get new workout gear it really helps to motivate me. Like this spring I tried tennis for the first time and was on the court non-stop for some time!

  18. Amanda on November 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I also think it’s super important to incorporate rest days to avoid burning out. For it to be totally effective, I’ve learned that I have to be mentally ok with not working out. I’ll use the time to paint my nails or do something fun that I usually don’t have time for during my super busy weeks!

  19. Marg on November 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I needed this! I have no motivation right now and need to try and get back on track!

  20. kt on November 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    You came up with enough tips to keep anyone motivated! I loved #6: maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be FUN. For too many years I followed structured workout plans and consumed unenjoyable meals made up of bland proteins and rationed fruits and veggies. How exciting it has been to realize that I can be healthy and happy while eating all the good eats I want and experimenting with fun and different modes of exercise.

  21. Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow on November 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Key, critical, mucho importante for me is making it fun!

    Without a bit of fun, fabulous music or changing it up- staying motivated never lasts.

    Awesome tips!

  22. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on November 23, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I agree on all of these! I also find that reassessing your goals once in a while to find out if you really, truly want them is also a good thing to do. Sometimes I see things that have been on my list for AAAAGES that I’ve been putting off – then when I really think about them, they’re not so important to me any more. What IS important though is health, so I like to keep that in mind as a motivator to always eat as healthy and stay as healthy as I can.

  23. grocery goddess jen on November 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Awesome post! I just kinda realize that if I’m not eating that great or not working out, I don’t feel great, so that naturally rolls me back into wanting to eat better and workout more! It’s a cycle for me, for sure.

  24. Krystina (Basil & Wine) on November 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I love tip #1. That’s the reason why I realized I needed a break from yoga. I did it so often (on a daily basis) that it became more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Now I do it less and find that I look forward to a good, relaxing yoga session.

  25. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on November 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Tip #1 is where it’s at…you have got to mix it up and change it up! 10 years ago I walked into yoga as a former runner and cardio queen. I fell in love with it and kept doing some cardio over the years but was always JUST a yoga girl. To the point I had closed my mind to other things (the opposite of what a “goal” of yoga would likely be…staying open minded but i digress.) But after 10 years…this was getting a little…stale.

    So a year or so ago I decided to start weight training in addition to my yoga and light cardio and it’s been such a winning combo for me. Being able to be flexible, change it up, have a variety of things I do…THAT’s what keeps me motivated!

    Lovely post, and glad you’re having such a wonderful time there! 🙂

  26. Shanna @ Shanna LIke Banana on November 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I actually like reading health magazine like Women’s Fitness, etc to get me motivated. I’m always so inspired!

  27. Katie on November 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I find I get burned out either doing workout DVD’s or going to the gym. Right now, I’m burned out on going to the gym, so I’m canceling my monthly membership (for the time being) and am enjoying an early morning Insanity workout sesh. My boyfriend just got me Kinect and the Fit “game” so I will probably do that in the new year (once Insanity is over with). 🙂 I have to switch it up ALL THE TIME with where and what I do. I find a change in scenery really helps.

  28. zoe on November 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    “have fun” — probably THE most important tip!!! for so long i slogged through works out wishing i was anywhere and everywhere else. now i do what sounds fun. since i stopped associating exercise with something i “had to do” it has become pure enjoyment for me. i move in the way my body craves (yoga, rock climbing, running).

    really, the only other tips i would offer are try different things. you never know what you’ll end up liking — not all of us like running or swimming or yoga. we’re all individuals with different needs. once you find what works for you working out becomes an integral part of your life. and hey, on the days you just don’t feel like working out, don’t! your body is smart. trust it 🙂

    thanks for the tips, gina!!!!

  29. Mary @ Bites and Bliss on November 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    One way I stay motivated is I think about how much fun I’ll have during my workout and how great I’lld feel afterward 🙂

  30. Stefanie @thenewhealthy on November 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    How to stay motivated? Well, read blogs of course! Especially posts like this one! Also, to keep myself accountable I include my family and friends in fitness goals. Bringing other people on board also adds more fun to work-outs! 🙂

  31. Caroline on November 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I’m sick of running and lack the time anyway and I can NEVER find the motivation to actually settle down to strength train, but I went rock climbing for the first time this weekend and I think I’m hooked! And my triceps were pleasantly sore afterward as well 🙂

  32. Bliss on November 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    When I start to get bored at the gym it doesn’t take long before I stop going all together. To prevent that (or come back from a “break”), I sign up for a class – usually something fun like Zumba or yoga; that way I have to be at the gym at least once a week for one hour getting a good sweaty work out. Before I know it, I’m hooked on working out again and end up finding new motivation to go regularly.

  33. Allison @ Food for Healing on November 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    my motivation in Mexico in about 2 months!
    I think a good way to stay motivated is to have something to look forward to and work towards

  34. Lynette on November 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Sorry, this is off topic, but I didn’t see a way to contact you on your homepage. Since you love Indian food so much, would you be willing to add a section devoted to Indian food recipes to your Fitnessista Cookbook link?

  35. Kelly on November 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    These motivation posts are popping up everywhere and I’m finding them extremely helpful. I recently lost motivation to do my training runs during the week and had to refocus on my goal to finish a marathon in January. Besides re-finding my motivation, I’ve had to change my workout schedule around too so that I’m working out in the morning instead of the evenings (most of the time). It’s working well for me right now!

  36. Avery on November 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    For me it has always been relatively easy to stay motivated with my workouts. I’ve always craved a good sweaty workout, partly because a shower after a workout feels 100x better than a shower without a workout, ya know?

    However,keeping certain foods (sugar, carbs) in moderation has always been tough for me. I am NOT blessed with a good metabolism, despite plenty of workouts, and even the thought of “looking good in jeans” only concerns me when I look in the mirror (which is generally not when I’m in a bar or restaurant) My biggest motivation is to find foods that I like, are satifying and make me feel good for my days and my workouts.

  37. natalie @ on November 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    sometimes motivation is really hard… i just try and remember how good the exercise makes me feel and why its good for my body. Plan B is also a really good idea, its great to push yourself but you also have to realise when to be kind to your body and let it rest.

  38. Megs on November 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    One thing that really helped me become a “life long exerciser” is trying to think about my body as a set of capabilities instead of something to look at. Instead of worrying if my body was looking a certain way (too fat, too frumpy, etc. etc.), I tried to think about all the awesome things my body could do (run, lift heavy things, be flexible, agile, whatever!). Then I’d work on doing some of those awesome things.

  39. Gina on November 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks so much for your great tips!! It’s just what I needed to hear today!

  40. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on November 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I think it’s super important just to find an exercise that you love! If you really love doing something, you will automatically stay motivated, since you actually want to do it. 😀

  41. Naomi on November 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    i think that being realistic is a great one! SO many people go into weight loss or any other goal and go balls to the wall when they start and then get frustrated and lose their focus and drive. Take is slow…something like weight loss takes time…a long time! just believe in yourself andhave fun!

  42. Kelly Michelle on November 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Nice post. I have another reader’s request as well. About finding/choosing doctors. How do you find a natural/holistic Dr that is knowledgeable and qualified? How do you combine this with western medicine? Oftentimes it can be hard to find docs that support alternative lifestyle choices and eating habits but I know you had mentioned having a holistic dr and western dr working together to help you. that is quite a feat so some tips would be appreciated!

    • Sarah on November 24, 2010 at 7:02 am

      Ooooh ditto that request! And thanks for the inspiring post, Gina.

  43. Sara (Milwaukee Kitchen) on November 23, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    This was a nice reminder to keep things in perspective Gina. I find my motivation goes in phases; usually a need to reevaluate my routine every six weeks to two months. The last few days, I just haven’t felt like working out, so I haven’t since Saturday. For me, I know that means I need to take a look at what I am doing and making a few changes. Sometimes even just working out in the morning instead of the evening for a few days can provide enough of a change to get me going again!

  44. Mi-An Dela Cruz on November 24, 2010 at 1:37 am

    1. i know that working out makes me feel good and i tend to eat better/healthier therefore i do it.
    2. when i’m in a rut, i shop for new workout clothes so i can sport them!
    3. reading your blog helps motivate me! so thank u.

    • Fitnessista on November 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

      love new workout clothes, too!
      thank YOU for reading 🙂

  45. Casey Thomas on November 24, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Such FANTASTIC tips Gina! So right on.
    I ADORE making goals and working towards them – a big part of the reason I certified as a Life and Health Coach no doubt – lol!
    Motivation makes me happy 🙂

    Thanks again!

  46. Heather on November 24, 2010 at 8:07 am

    The productivity website Lifehacker has been ruminating recently on Jerry Seinfeld’s advice to a would-be comedian to write every day without fail and keep adding to that chain of consecutive days. I like this concept, the unbroken chain of consecutive days, and think it can be successfully applied to fitness, particularly when my motivation is waning. Do I need to kick butt and set PBs for a training session to be worthwhile? No. I just need to get moving, do a little something and add to the chain.

  47. DebZ on November 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    i love your response to this question, really thoughtful. thanks!

  48. Karen on November 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I love the motivation tips! I really like the one about the inspiration board…I think I need to put one of those together.

  49. Lisa on June 5, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Love your blog! My problem is when I get so excited about a diet I am really hard on myself and end up binging 🙁 How do you prevent guilt- binges that make you feel horrible about yourself and what do you recommend I do after a guilt-binge… Yes, I binged tonight and I’m feeling horrible.

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2013 at 12:57 am

      be patient and kind to yourself. remember tomorrow is a new day and tell yourself that nothing is off limits. when you’re deprived, it’s easy to eat more than you would like to, so if you really want something, eat it. if binging is something that you’ve had a history with, i recommend seeking out some professional guidance in your area. thinking of you!

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