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I Don’t Want To Go To The Gym But I Have To: A Gym Girl’s Guide to Motivation

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

Ah, so you went all the way to the gym just to groan and cry that you hate going to the gym and want to leave. So then you do–You grab your stuff and go home. But now you just saw a TikTok where a girl showed her absolutely ridiculous gym transformation and now, just like everyone else, you’ve been influenced and now want to go back to the gym.

Then the cycle repeats and you don’t ever step foot in the gym. I get it, honestly! This is especially coming from someone who’s a chronic procrastinator; heck, I procrastinated writing this and now I’m facing the consequences of my actions by writing this super last minute. 

(Not the point.) 

The point is that I even relate to not wanting to go to the gym, and I’ve been going to the gym consistently for about two years now. Sometimes I don’t even want to go to the gym, so here is my list of tips and tricks that I do to keep myself motivated to go.

Get cute gym clothes

Yes, wearing cute gym clothes helps. You’re telling me you put on a cute gym outfit to not get complimented by strangers? Who is your inspiration? Let’s be real. 

I know that when I put on a cute gym outfit; I feel more compelled and confident in myself when I walk into the gym. However, I notice when I don’t wear an outfit that doesn’t make me feel confident and good; I don’t feel as enthusiastic about going to the gym. Many of the gym girls I know also agree -–Also, let’s not lie to each other, I absolutely love it when girls that I don’t know come up and ask me where I get something. It boosts my confidence and I always feel pumped up to do my next set, which is why I love going. So wear something you feel great in.

Aggressive affirmations are your best bet

Okay, now this one is controversial because I know that not a lot of people can be rough on themselves and be motivated. 

But me personally? Aggressive affirmations are the single greatest thing I’ve discovered that has helped me bring myself out of bed and into the gym. Don’t know what an aggressive affirmation is? Well, let me tell you. 

You know how you get those TikToks that say, “Get off your lazy butt because do you think you can get the dream you want by sitting on it for hours and hours on end?” Yeah, that’s what I like to call aggressive affirmations. Even though it’s the hard-earned truth, you have to admit that they’re right. How are you going to get your dream body by sitting and eating chips all day and not going to the gym as you wrote in your new year’s resolution for the fifth year in a row? 

Exactly. Hard truth, but now look. Do you want to go to the gym now?

Stop going to the gym to do things you hate

Okay. Now this one is the hard hitter. Why are you doing free weights and cable machines when you know you literally hate them? If you hate it, then stop doing it.

I hear some of the gym girls say, “Ugh. I don’t want to do all the weights and dumbbells. I just like doing pilates and cardio.” 

If that’s the way you like promoting exercise and healthy habits for yourself, then you should do just that. Stop being miserable in the gym because going will just make you hate everything in general. Do something you like, then work yourself up to doing free weights.

There is no rush in your gym journey. Stop rushing the process.

Give yourself some credit and breaks

If you truly, genuinely want to not go to the gym, then don’t go. It’s a part of the process too–give yourself some breaks and think of this as your body’s way of saying you’ve had enough. You can always go tomorrow. 

As for giving yourself some credit, take pictures of yourself. You’ll quickly realize that a large amount of effort you put into shaping and staying in shape will pull off and you won’t only look great, but you’ll look great too. 

Notice how amazing you are.

Reward yourself

Finally, my favorite post-gym ritual is getting myself an Airhead Xtreme. I know, a weird post-gym ritual especially from someone who has been on bulks and is currently on a cut, but one thing about me is I’m going to have sour candy when and wherever I want. It’s a way of saying thank you to my mental health–I love eating sour candy and this is my way of rewarding myself after a hard workout. 

To Find your own post-gym ritual. It could be eating a nice, cold smoothie to cool yourself down, or it could be talking to your bestie about the most amazing cycling session you just had, or go pet a dog. 

I don’t know–the world is your oyster.

The point is, you should reward yourself for being able to go, and soon enough you’ll get consistent and be like me, obsessed with the gym and always striving for new goals and challenges. 

My goal this year is to do more cardio.

Try some of these out and share them with your friends if you find that they begin to struggle with staying motivated, especially in the gym.

Reece Miller

Virginia Tech '24

Reece is a junior majoring in Psychology and Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Music Technology. She loves spending time with friends, shopping/fashion and going out, but if you can't find her, they're probably sleeping or curling up with a cheesy romcom or horror movie!