Workout Systems to Help Your Lack of Motivation


I’m a naturally disciplined person. I exercise 6 days a week, usually early mornings. It’s not always easy. That’s not true. It’s never easy.  Getting up at 4:30 a.m., hitting the pavement for a run or going to the gym for a hard workout is often the last thing my body wants to do.  So I have come up with a few systems to help push through when motivation alone is not enough, which happens to be pretty much every day.

workout partner

Set up goals. Different seasons in life I have different goals. They provide me with the motivation I need.  I have trained for a 5k, 10k and marathon. I’ve done triathlons. My current goal is hitting single digits body fat. I’m almost there. If you have a goal, you’ll go much farther, faster.  It gives you a reason to say “no” to the warm cookie the flight attendant offers late at night after a brutal day, or to order the baked tilapia and steamed broccoli at Maggiano’s when your entire family is feasting on a mountain of delicious carbs.

Schedule the workouts. On Sunday night I schedule my entire week’s workouts. If I’m traveling I try to find a gym near my hotel, and if I can’t workout, then I make that day my rest day. This week, for example, I’m doing chest, triceps and abs on Monday, back and biceps and running on Tuesday, shoulders and abs on Wednesday, running and legs on Thursday, arms on Friday and a long run on Saturday.

Prepare the night before. I have a tendency to walk around aimlessly in the mornings. If I don’t pick my clothing and pack my gym bag the night before, I’m usually late for the gym and my workouts don’t get done. I get everything ready so all I have to do is get up, brush my teeth and get out. Self motivation is not enough.

Have an accountability partner. I have a workout partner, several running partners and I even have friends in cities I visit often to get a good workout or run in. Knowing someone is waiting on me, forces me to get up and get going. I also work harder when I’m doing it with another person. But make sure you find someone who is reliable and who’s going to push you. A demotivating, unreliable partner can derail your plans faster than training alone.

Have you developed systems to help when you lack motivation?

  • Derek Brown

    Great article — your workout schedule looks nearly identical to mine.  Gotta love those opposing muscle group exercises  🙂

    • I got a hard one in this morning. Now I need to eat well all day not to waste the effort at the gym.

      • Derek Brown

        Yep, same here too.  I believe it’s 80% nutrition, 20% working out. 

  • It’s all about consistency and showing up. I’m a big fan of that HULK feeling after a good workout. I usually workout in the early morning as well (up at 3am) and find it’s a great way to clear my head. Recently I started using to track calories and so far have lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks.

    • A few of my friends have been using My fitness pal and have had good results with it. I need to give it a try.

      • The brilliance of it is twofold: you can scan the UPC code of a food item AND by counting calories you start to make healthier food choices (which are less calories) and exercise so you can eat more.

        • That sounds like great a tool. I’m definitely going to give it a try.

        • I didn’t know you can scan the UPC code! DUDE! This just got easier!

          • Seriously?! That’s what makes it so much better than LoseIt.

          • I really haven’t played around with the iPhone app yet. Guess I need to get on that. 

    • I’m waiting until Friday to do my weigh-in. I’ve been deliberately not stepping on the scale this week. Here’s hoping for some change!

  • Christian

    Great suggestions, Maurilio. These systems have really helped me stay focused whenever the Super Supreme Pizza or Chocolate Peanut-Butter Moose Tracks Ice Cream calls my name.

    Another workout system that I have found helpful is simply: “mixing it up”. I find myself at times getting stuck in workouts that aren’t much fun. Whenever I switch up the routine; the exercises, weights, reps, sets, etc., I feel like my mind and body are facing a new challenge. Mixing up my routine keeps my workouts fun, fresh, and new, which sometimes is all the motivation I need.   

    • People in the gym are always commenting on how we are always changing our workouts. I too can see the benefit of muscle confusion and getting my body to respond to a new workout program. Even swapping the order of today’s workout: back and bis then running helped me. I’m glad I ran last because by the time I was go back, I was finished–nothing left.

  • I really like the idea of scheduling my workouts in advance. I’ve never been much of a runner or lifter, and during the past few months I’ve been getting regular at both. But most weeks I allow my normal schedule to dictate when I workout, not scheduling my workouts to make sure I get them in. I’ll definitely have to use that one. I’m even considering getting up early to work out. I don’t think people know how dramatic that is for me. I hate mornings. 

    Thanks for the tips Maurilio!

    • If I don’t exercise early in the day, then life takes over and I seldom find time in the afternoon. If you’re not a morning person after trying it for a while. Make sure you block the time, maybe lunch time or early evening, and protect it like any other important meeting.

      • That’s one of the reasons I’m contemplating working out in the morning. I’m taking this week to try working out right after I get off from the PT job and see how that goes. I’ve been pretty good at running at night, so I might keep that going. I just like that it’s cooler and I use that running time to connect with God some more as well. Nothing like running out in the country under the stars. 

  • Great advice Maurilio!   I am going to pass this on to my network.  I can keep you accountable when you are in Houston, although I know you have some people here who are hopefully steering you in the right direction.

    • Mike, my Houston peeps are not morning folks. I usually workout at the LifeTime Fitness in Tomball.

  • Mark Newton

    For years I used a scoring system which we’ve now made available for free at  Over the years, I’ve found the accountability piece to be critical. Thanks for the great post!PS – search “irunurun” on YouTube to hear the story about how desperately I needed a system as you describe so well.

  • Gordon O’Malley

    Great Post. I am a morning person myself and would never make it out of the house by 4:30 am without packing everything the night before.  I feel terrible if I miss the morning workout at the gym or running at the lake.

    • You are part of the early morning tribe. You know how that feels.

      The A Group

      Maurilio Amorim


      615.373.6990 ext 300
      615.373.6991 fax

  • Because I am so ‘process’ driven, I need that process…that roadmap.  I have used and since February to help with the ‘process’ while I travel.  Pretty good results so far.  Down 25 pounds (and yes, I have a goal of 35 by October 1), ran my first 5K, and a goal of 5% reduction in time for next one coming up.  So, SYSTEMS are required.  Without them, the periodic exercise routine loses it’s purpose…it’s ‘Why’…

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