How To Motivate Yourself To Workout and Build Muscle

Men tasying motivated to workout in the gym

Consistency is one of the biggest hurdles that most people face when it comes to their fitness journey. 

Yes, we all know that it’s not enough to just get started. Sticking to a regular exercise routine has a tonne of health benefits—and is critical when it comes to hitting health and wellbeing goals. Especially when it comes to building muscle.

You’re not going to grow muscles with a sporadic, inconsistent workout schedule—it’s going to take hard work, grit and determination. This is where motivation comes in.

It’s the driving force that keeps you going when the going gets tough. Without motivation, it's easy to give in to excuses and skip workouts. 

So, how can you stay motivated all year round to build muscle? Here, we’re going to explore how you can keep yourself motivated throughout the year and keep smashing your fitness goals.

Ready? Let’s go.

Why does motivation wear off?

There are loads of reasons that motivation can fall off a cliff: boredom, overwhelm or lack of progress.

It’s the 1st of January. You’ve set goals, and you’re ready to stick to them. Motivation is at an all-time high, and you are revving up to introduce physical activity into your daily routine. 

But inevitably, motivation is going to wane—and you may not feel quite as excited about hitting the gym as the weeks roll on.

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That’s why it’s important to understand what you are trying to achieve and create a schedule and lifestyle that will help keep you on track.

How to get motivated to workout

But that said, there’s no reason that you can’t set yourself up for success and build your motivation as much as possible. 

Making sustainable lifestyle changes can help you stick to a workout routine, even when you don’t feel like it. 

These are our top tips for staying motivated so that you can reach your goals.

1. Find your “why”

When you’re sitting on the couch on a Thursday after work, and you don’t have any energy to drag yourself to the gym—what’s going to make you get up and smash out a quality workout?

It’s going to differ for every single person, but what is it that is going to drive you to succeed?

  • Do you want to look good at the beach? 
  • Feel good in clothes? 
  • Be able to lift your child with ease? 

Whatever the reason behind your desire to build muscle, make sure that it’s really clear and that it’s something you really want. 

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The you is this equation is very important…

If you’re trying to build muscle for someone else or your motivation is external, you’re really going to struggle to convince yourself that an extra muscle-defining workout is worth it. 

So find your why, and you’ll feel motivated and driven to work out. The muscles will follow. 

2. Make a plan

If you’re turning up inconsistently, you will not reach your goals. And the best way to ensure that you stay consistent is to make a plan for success.

Know what days you’re going to work out in advance and what you are going to do so that analysis paralysis doesn’t take over and give you an excuse to skip the gym. 

Go one step further and commit to scheduling time into your diary so that you don’t have any excuses and don’t double-book yourself. It offers a constant reminder to build exercise into your daily routine to hit your goals.

Adding it to your to-do list also helps incorporate discipline into your workout routine (more on why that’s important later). 

SmartTip: Plan your training progressions. Your programme should evolve every few weeks to allow you to push yourself and hit your goals. 
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And don’t worry.

You won’t stick to your plan 100% of the time, and that’s okay. But if you miss a workout or don’t hit the macros on a meal, just get back on it as soon as you can.

3. Do something you enjoy

Newsflash…You don’t have to fill your training diary with exercises that you hate

If building muscle is your primary goal, then yes, there are some things that you are going to have to do (even if you don’t want to).

Following a muscle-building diet and adding resistance training to your plan—these are two things that you’re going to have to do to grab the gains you deserve.

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But, there are still things that you can do to keep your motivation levels in the green week in, week out.

Love lifting? Focus on heavy strength training sessions. 

Need people around to stay motivated? Join an exercise class or WOD (workout of the day).. 

SmartTip: If you are including aerobic exercise, ensure that you fuel up with plenty of protein to avoid losing muscle. 

4. Find a workout buddy

You might be a lone wolf, but it’s a lot easier to skip a workout when you don’t have someone holding you accountable.

That’s why it’s a good idea to mix meeting friends with working out, to help keep you motivated and stick to your goals. 

In fact, studies show that staying accountable to other people (1) can help you stick to goals —and so it’s a good idea to share your goals with other people. That way, you can keep each other on track.

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You might even want to make it into a competition if that is something that will motivate you to work out. 

5. Pay a professional

You might know exactly what you need to do to build muscle—but if not—you can lose momentum and fall off your muscle-building train pretty quickly. After all, not seeing results is the fastest way to lose motivation.

Professional trainer
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Hiring a personal trainer will help keep you accountable and will ensure that you’re training in a way that is actually going to help you reach your goals. 

Plus, you’re paying them (often in advance). So having some skin in the game ensures that you turn up and train—even when you don’t want to.

SmartTip: Buying new workout clothes can also give you a financial reason to hit the gym, although just don’t do it too often 

6. Set realistic goals

Maybe your goal is to look like Arnie.

But if you’re currently lacking muscle definition, it’s unlikely you will make it there in a couple of months.

Unrealistic goals are a surefire way to kill your workout motivation quickly. 

Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) is a good way to ensure that you set realistic goals, that will help keep up momentum and continue working towards your goals. 

SMART goals
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So, instead of saying I want to look better, try: “I want to gain 10lbs of muscle mass, within the next 10 months”.

Doing so will empower you to keep taking small consistent steps towards your fitness goals and keep motivated at all times.

7. Set yourself up for success with supplements

Remember, not all muscle-building work happens in the gym.  Your diet is equally, if not more, important when it comes to growing muscle. 

But remember, that food is not the only way to consume the macro and micronutrients that you need to build muscle. 

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Whey protein and creatine can help your muscles repair and grow when you are resting, and electrolytes will help replenish your body—allowing you to work out harder and more often. 

While the diet and supplements might feel like an afterthought—it’s definitely not something to skimp on. Not one bit.

Our build muscle kit is a great way to get those gains—and will help you hit everything you need alongside the gym.

Do you really need motivation to exercise and build muscle?

We’ve just talked all about how to keep yourself motivated on your muscle-building journey. So, yes, motivation is essential when it comes to achieving those all-important goals. 

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Motivation is the why behind what you do—but discipline is what you do. It doesn’t matter how motivated you are—you actually need to work to achieve your goals. The two concepts go hand in hand.

If you truly want to reach your destination, you can’t rely on feeling motivated all the time because the reality is that you won’t always feel it—and you’ll still have to act if you want to meet your muscle-building goals.

How to stay motivated to workout

Staying motivated is half the battle, but you’ll also need to make sure you’re fuelling your body with the right stuff.

As well as eating the right muscle-building foods, supplements can help you hit your nutritional goals.

Build more muscle the Smart way

If building muscle is your number one goal, then we recommend our Build Muscle Kit, with whey protein, creatine and electrolytes, to help refuel and replenish your body pre and post-workout. Start your journey today—the Smart way.


Smart Protein is committed to sourcing only the best and scientifically-backed research in our articles.

1. Science Direct:

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