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How to motivate yourself to workout, even when you don’t want to

With work deadlines looming, dinner to cook for your family, and the million and one other reasons you really don’t have time for the gym, sometimes it’s just so hard to stay motivated.

We know how hard it can be to drag your butt to the gym. With work deadlines looming, dinner to cook for your family, and the million and one other reasons you really don't have time for the gym, sometimes it's just so hard to stay motivated. (Trust me—I feel your pain daily!) But a new study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder, found that even when you force yourself to workout, exercise can help protect against anxiety and stress. And I bet once you're sporting that post-workout glow and all those endorphins kick in, you'll forget why you even wanted to ditch your workout in the first place!

Still need a little help getting from the office to gym without making a beeline for the couch? Woman's Health Magazine blogger Kelly Thore talked to Wendy Larkin, master trainer at Crunch San Francisco, and got some of her best tactics to keep you motivated:

Schedule sessions with a trainer
"Think about it: You commit a) weeks in advance to b) actual appointments where c) someone will be expecting you, so you basically have to show," writes Thore. Not to mention, a lot of gyms and studios enforce at least a 24-hour cancellation policy so if you decide to no-show at the last minute, your fitness goals won't be the only thing that a take a hit – your wallet will be hurting, too. And if personal training sessions don't fit in your budget, grab a couple of friends and go in on group training together, Larkin suggests, "You'll get the same workout, but you can divvy up the cost."

Splurge on foxy workout gear
Just like your favorite dress that makes you look your best, gym gear that you love sporting will make you want to put it to good use. "When you look and feel good, you have a little more pep in your step, and the reasons you didn't feel like going to the gym earlier will fade," says Larkin. Plus, when you know those $108.00 Lululemon yoga pants that totally didn't fit in your budget are sitting in your gym bag, you'll have an added incentive to put them on and get your money's worth.

Establish a gym family
There's always a group of "regulars" at every class, make it a point to get to know them – I did at my training studio and it's made all the difference!  "As people get to know you, they'll be more likely to learn your capabilities, push you if they see you slacking off, and call you out when you skip a week," Larkin says. And now that I know all of the regulars at my classes and we make it a point to push each other, I definitely feel more compelled to show up because I know they expect to see me.

Leave important things in your gym locker
What if you were to, oh I don't know, accidently leave your hairdryer in your locker after your gym sesh? Now there's no way to blow out your hair after your shower without getting your butt to the gym first. "Half the challenge is getting in the door, so the more reasons you give yourself to stop by, the better," Larkin says. Make it something small but essential.

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