8 Workout Motivation Tips That Actually Work

During a recent email exchange with yogi, fitness expert, and THE/THIRTY contributor Claire Fountain, she brought up an interesting point about motivation that completely reframed the idea in my mind. "[We consider] motivation to be this elusive thing that people we look up to must have," she wrote. But at the same time, "I think most people think that motivation is something they can just will themselves into having without any effort."

It's an interesting (and ironic) duality, especially when I consider the pieces we've published on motivation that have resonated the most with our readers: "How to Get in Shape Without Trying Too Hard or Spending Too Much" and "How to Trick Your Brain Into Loving Running," for example. We're seduced by this concept that if we're clever enough to "hack" our own minds, we'll be rewarded with a bottomless well of proactivity and determination.

This isn't to say that there aren't some "tricks" that are scientifically proven to work—research shows us that our brains tend to respond to certain cues over others. But the point is that there's no skirting around actual effort; it's an invaluable part of the recipe. Really, motivation is just about supplementing that effort with a productive shift in attitude.

So how do we break down mental blocks and access the motivation that (certainly) exists within all of us? We asked Fountain and two other incredibly inspiring fitness experts to share their tried-and-true methods.