How to Stay Motivated to Work Out at Home

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

Working out in general is a challenge for many people. Exercise is often uncomfortable, takes up precious time, and can be frustrating when you feel like you aren’t making progress. Going through all that in your own home—where you already eat, sleep, relax, and maybe work—can be even more challenging. 

Maintaining motivation is key to a consistent at-home exercise routine. Stay motivated to work out at home with these tips and tricks. 

Challenges When Working Out at Home

You may find yourself unmotivated to work out at home for a number of reasons, such as: 

  • You used to go to the gym and now you don’t have any equipment
  • You prefer working out in a group setting or with a friend
  • You keep getting distracted by chores, kids, or work 
  • You feel the call of your couch and refrigerator 

These are all valid challenges. With the right tools and tricks, however, you can overcome all of these and be on your way to a successful at-home fitness routine

How to Motivate Yourself for Your At-Home Workout

Amidst the challenges of working out at home, there are plenty of ways to stay on track and to spark that motivation you've been looking for.

Create a Dedicated Workout Space

If you feel you just can’t work out at home because you’re not going to a different location, minimize that dissonance by creating a dedicated workout space. This can make it feel more like you’re going to the gym or your favorite studio.

The space doesn’t have to be large—you just need enough room to move your body. Keep all of your equipment in this space and don’t do anything else in the space aside from working out.  

Eliminate Distractions

If you don’t need your phone for your workout, keep it out of your workout space for the duration of your session. Checking your phone in between sets prolongs your workout and prevents you from being all-in. 

If you use your phone to house your workouts, try writing them in a notebook instead. If you stream, check to see if you can do so on your TV or another screen where texts, calls, and emails don’t come in. 

Commit to a Set Time Frame (and Write It Down) 

Schedule your workouts as if they are meetings you must attend. Workouts are, in many ways, the most important appointments of your week. Create an event in your virtual calendar or write it down in your physical planner.

Seeing time blocked off for fitness prepares you to dedicate that time to your workout.

Choose Your Workouts in Advance

There’s nothing like getting hyped up to work out, only to spend 30 minutes searching for a workout to do. Avoid this by choosing your workouts in advance. Write out the workouts on paper or save links to streamed workouts for easy access. 

Try your best to stick to your predetermined workouts, but do give yourself leeway if something comes up (for instance, if your legs are so sore that you’re hobbling, swap a full-body workout for an upper body-only workout). Using a fitness app can help with this.

Join a Virtual Workout Community

If you're not attending in-person group classes, you might miss the community aspect of fitness. From Fitbit to MyFitnessPal to Peloton, there are dozens of online communities for fitness enthusiasts.

Work Out With a Friend Over Video

If a full-on virtual community isn’t your thing (we’re here for you, introverts!), perhaps working out with a trusted friend through FaceTime or Zoom can give you the oomph you need.

Not only does having a friend make home workouts more fun, but it serves as a source of accountability. 

Invest in Equipment You Love

The best workout plan is the one you’ll stick to, and if your favorite type of exercise requires equipment, it’s definitely worth investing. For instance, if you love kettlebell workouts, you’ll be far more motivated to work out if you have a kettlebell at home rather than forcing yourself to do bodyweight workouts.

Track Your Progress

If you’re exercising to lose weight, build muscle, or accomplish any other health- or physique-related goal, tracking your progress could be the key to consistency. Progress pictures, food logs and journal entries are all good ways to track your progress. A health or fitness app can help with this.

Hire a Virtual Personal Trainer

If your schedule and finances allow, a professional personal trainer can be a valuable asset to your at-home fitness journey. A good personal trainer customizes workout plans for their clients, regularly checks in for progress and feedback, and provides accountability and motivation.

Quick Ways to Psych Yourself Up

On some days, smart scheduling and planning just won’t do the trick. When you feel tempted to use your exercise hour for Netflix bingeing, try one of these quick motivating tips.

Play Your Favorite Hype Song

A good song will get you in the right mood to work out, even if you’re feeling down in the dumps. It’s not just placebo: Science supports music as a way to enhance fitness training and can even make high-intensity exercise feel easier, so go ahead and turn up the jams. 

Ask Your Housemate for Words of Encouragement

If you live with someone, shout that you need some help getting off the couch to work out. A quick “You got this!” from your spouse or bestie might be all the encouragement you need. 

Put on Your Favorite Workout Outfit

You’ve heard you should dress for success when it comes to your career—the same concept applies to fitness. Throw on your favorite workout clothes for an instant mindset boost.

Voice Three Things You Want From Your Workout

Visualize the version of yourself that manifests after exercise. Why do you work out? To gain energy, to feel more productive, to build muscle? Out loud, voice what you want from your workout. This trick might help the effects of exercise feel more tangible, thus motivating you to work out. 

A Word From Verywell

Working out at home presents several challenges—lack of motivation being a gigantic hurdle—but with a bit of planning, smart scheduling and some mindset work, you’ll begin to love your at-home workout routine.  

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Thakare AE, Mehrotra R, Singh A. Effect of music tempo on exercise performance and heart rate among young adultsInt J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 2017;9(2):35-39.

  2. Maddigan ME, Sullivan KM, Halperin I, Basset FA, Behm DG. High tempo music prolongs high intensity exercise. PeerJ. 2019;6:e6164. doi:10.7717/peerj.6164

By Amanda Capritto, ACE-CPT, INHC
Amanda Capritto, ACE-CPT, INHC, is an advocate for simple health and wellness. She writes about nutrition, exercise and overall well-being.