Joel Peterson, Personal Trainer

Motivational Quotes for Fitness (That Actually Work…)

Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club

I have used motivational quotes all of my workout life. I was a slob at 30 and had to do something to change things. The only quote I could remember was “winners never quit and quitters never win”. I had to repeat this to myself over and over as I pull myself out of bed an hour early to work out. I seriously believe it was that quote that got me up, out, and moving. I wanted to go back to bed, but repeating that mantra over and over in my head prevented me from succumbing to my laziness.

Here are some favorites. Use them. They will inspire you every day.

1. “Stop comparing yourself to others and start competing with yourself.”


Beating your personal record and reaching your own goals is a lot more rewarding than comparing yourself to other people. Need inspiration? Challenge yourself to give up sugary drinks for two weeks in favor of lemon-infused water, or trying to run a 10-minute mile if your best time to date is 12 minutes. It’s all about identifying your self-imposed limits ─ and pushing past them.

2. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” (Or as my wife says: ‘Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle!’)


When clients don’t see results on the scale right away they can become discouraged. It’s the small changes that make a difference over time. It often takes anywhere from four to eight weeks for clients to start to feel a physical difference and as long as six months before they acquire the proper habits for continual well-being.

3. “A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”


The keys are consistency and starting small. Someone can be initially motivated to start a fitness program, but unless it becomes a habit, it doesn’t have the sticking power. Incremental exercise, such as a goal of walking for a minimum of 10 minutes each day feels obtainable.

4. “Falling down is an accident. Staying down is a choice.”


At I Can Move Again (ICMA) in Provo, Utah, this particular quote resonates most with clients. This wellness and fitness center caters to those who suffer from afflictions ranging from arthritis to fibromyalgia to lupus. “These folks have to work hard just to do the simplest things in life … but they are choosing to get up.”

The Body Achieves What the Mind Believes

5. “Just do it … now!”


Getting over the mental block can be half the battle when trying to start a new fitness routine. Many people spend a lot of time in the thinking, planning and ‘knowing they should’ stages, but often fail to take action long enough to effect behavioral changes. Reinforce the action by taking a minute to write down the action step over and over until you fill one page. Then, “Get up and do it!”

6. “One hour from now, do you want to be sweaty ─ or sorry?”


I tell my clients to ask themselves if they’ve ever felt bad after they pushed themselves to work out. The answer is always ‘Of course not.’ But they always feel bad an hour later if they’ve wasted time on Facebook instead of doing a good workout. In a 2014 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 54 percent of people who successfully completed a fitness program became happier.

7. “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”


We live in a world that is addicted to instant results. Combined with all-or-nothing thinking, we believe that if we don’t do 30 or 60 minutes of exercise a day, then it’s pointless. It’s OK to go slow; what matters is that we don’t give up. That’s how real progress happens.

8. “Abs are made in the kitchen.”


The key to successful weight loss is clean, consistent eating habits. Many people hold on to the false belief that they can out-exercise a bad diet but this is simply not true. Spend a few hours each week preparing meals in advance and portioning them into individual containers. You just grab your containers full of healthy treats and go. “That’s my kind of fast food.”

9. “Eat more, move less.” (You read right)


Why should you adopt the inverse of the mantra “Eat less, move more?” The old wisdom is not realistic or effective for those with busy mobile lifestyles. Focus on high return-on-investment exercises such as compound lifts, and to fuel your bodies with more high-protein foods and fibrous vegetables rather than simply curbing food intake. The result is a more sustainable fitness and nutrition routine.

10. “Summer bodies are earned in the winter.”


Many of my clients wait until April to get their “summer hot body”. Be realistic. You should start your “summer body” as early as possible, but no later than February. It takes time.

11. “Those who think they have don’t time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”


Edward Stanley, the Earl of Derby, first coined this sentiment in 1873. Countless studies have concurred with Stanley’s assertion, showing that choosing to be active can improve your health significantly. For instance, Harvard researchers have found that sedentary behavior such as prolonged TV watching was associated with a “significantly elevated risk” of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The good news? Even light to moderate activity was found to substantially lower the risk of such afflictions. Moral of the story: Find a way to move every day!

12. “Goals without deadlines are only dreams.”


Without goals, there is no accurate measure of progress toward getting what you want out of life. Take the time to create a weight-loss strategy by setting goals and outlining the steps to implement them. Once you set goals, you can also prime yourself for success with motivational pictures and visual goal reminders.

13. “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”


Many people approach weight loss as a diet. They make swift and extreme changes, usually involving deprivation and requiring superhuman willpower, in hopes of seeing quick results. Then they are often unable to stick with such drastic measures and give up, feeling defeated. As an alternative, start with small, simple lifestyle changes that are easier to maintain such as:

  • Shopping for healthy foods regularly
  • Wearing an activity monitor
  • Making allowances for portion-controlled, reasonable indulgences
  • Finding a community of like-minded people also striving for wellness and weight loss.

14.“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”


Starting a fitness routine can be a challenging and at times even an uncomfortable endeavor. However, life might really begin ─ or at least lengthen ─ once you start embracing exercise as part of your daily routine.

15. “Stop saying tomorrow.”


When presented with a juicy burger or delicious pizza, it’s easy to say, “I’ll start that diet … tomorrow”. It’s easy to get caught up with something, feel tired or get too distracted to work out or eat right. Whatever the reason, we’ve all said, ‘I’ll be better tomorrow.’ Then tomorrow comes and we do the same. To push past procrastination, try avoiding trigger situations and setting deadlines and devise rewards that will give you an incentive to meet those deadlines.

16. “It is never too late to be who you might have been.”


This is my favorite. (Attributed to author George Eliot) I love this quote because it reminds me that life doesn’t end as we get older. I’ll be sixty nine in a couple of months and I’m in fantastic shape. I have no limitations in or out of the gym. I’ve worked for this end and the rewards are immense. It’s never too late to start working out. When I’m asked “am I too old to start working out” I reply “you’re too old not to”. A study published in November 2013 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men and women older than 63 who began exercising later in life still experienced significant health benefits such as staying disease-free, avoiding depression, and maintaining healthy brain function.

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