How To Motivate Yourself To Go To The Gym

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It’s almost the end of a decade! We are 22 days away from ending 2019 and transitioning to 2020.

In 23 days, at the start of the New Year millions of people will begin their resolutions by running on a treadmill. After getting a running start to their their resolutions a few weeks later millions of people will stop going to the gym.

So here’s the question – you want to start exercising, but how to motivate yourself to go to the gym and stay motivated?

To explore this question, I brought on Fitness Expert Jen Bruno onto the podcast.

Jen Bruno is a former college softball player and DePaul University Hall of Famer. She has been passionate about health and wellness for much of her life and has used that passion to build a personal training and holistic health coaching business, J.B. Fitness and Nutrition over the last 11 years.

She has certifications from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Wellcoaches, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and the American Council on Exercise.  

She believes everyone deserves to live their healthiest, strongest, and most energetic life and feels grateful to accompany clients on their journeys.

Jen has a fantastic instagram profile (@jenbrunofitness) where she shares her fitness journey and life lessons on how to motivate yourself to go to the gym.

Jen also maintains a fitness website at

Overall, Jen Bruno is trained to assist you in all aspects of your fitness routine. Whether or not you have set foot in a gym before, she will listen to your needs, help you learn how to motivate yourself to go to the gym, and develop a workout individually designed for you to meet your goals. Training programs may include but are not limited to:

  • Strength & Resistance Training
  • Body Weight Training
  • Cardio-Boxing
  • Boot Camp
  • Balance and Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Body Fat Assessment
  • Diet & Nutrition Monitoring
  • Ongoing coaching

Just shoot her an email at [email protected] if you’re interested in learning more about how to motivate yourself to go to the gym or working with her!

You can watch or listen to our interview about how to motivate yourself to go to the gym down below!

YouTube player
You can download the MP3 of our conversation about how to motivate yourself to go to the gym here, or search your podcast provider for “Eating Enlightenment”

How To Motivate Yourself To Go To The Gym Interview Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions I asked Jen from our interview. My questions are bolded, her answers lightly edited for flow are in italics.

You’ve done half an iron man, which requires you to swim, run and bike. Yet in the beginning you didn’t know how to swim! How did you overcome your fear of drowning?

I’ll tell you when I literally felt like I could drown. It was the first time I did an open water swim in Lake Michigan here in Chicago. Mind you, we’re going at like 5am in the morning when the sun’s not fully up.

So I went with a friend in the morning and I wore a wet suit, because I wanted to at least be a little bit buoyant and give myself a chance. So I went with her. This alone was very uncomfortable for me because I am not a great swimmer at this point and there are no lifeguards. There’s nobody. There might be some cyclists, there might be some people walking.

The first time I got in there I was like, “Okay, I can do this. I’ve been swimming in the pool, no biggie.” I get in there and now this lake is vast. I know you have the ocean there in California, but imagine this is like our version of an ocean. So yeah, it’s big. So I get in there and she takes off. My friend takes off cause she’s really a great swimmer and I’m very cautious and starting to get scared.

And I’m like bobbing around a little bit, I’m just surveying the scene and I think to myself “Nobody’s going to know if I just slip under right now.” Like nobody’s going to know. I was terrified. So I’m like, “Okay, breathe. First thing, just breathe. Like just breathe. Calm yourself. Okay.”

Then I start just going through methodically the checklist of why and how I should be able to succeed. So for people that are fearful of tackling anything, there are times in your past where you have succeeded, you really need to pull those experiences into your mind from your mental Rolodex. How and why you succeeded and just go like so systematically.

I said, “Okay, I know the strokes. Just breathe. My friend is here, she is looking out for me even though she’s kind of taken off on her own little lap there.” And so I just said, “You know, it’s going to be okay. And if it’s not, if I’m not feeling like it’s okay, just start and treading the water.” So whether you’re literally treading water or metaphorically treading water and you need to take a pause, you do that, but you keep going back to those past successes of you succeeding at something and you did do that.

I’ll give a little description of the picture and then Jen will tell us a little bit about the picture, maybe a story behind it.

I think sometimes you need to step back and say “I’m putting in good work.” Like take a look at your body of work and the improvements you made and the accomplishments that you’ve achieved and get a little celebration.

So for flex Friday I like to post some of the pictures! Also, on the trainer side, I love to work with clients on the back side of their body because we as a society, I think we get so caught up in what we see in the mirror, which is usually everything on the front. You know, we want the shoulders, we want the pecs, we want the biceps, we want the ads, and we neglect the whole back chain of our body, which supports posture and keeping us walking upright and keeping us out of pain. And so this photo is also a tribute to that. It’s like, “Hey, don’t forget the muscles you can’t see in the mirror.”

If a woman wanted to build muscle, what if she came to you and said that she’s afraid about getting too buff?

That’s not gonna happen unless she’s taking some sort of testosterone and steroids, there’s no way. So what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna exchange that fat tissue for lean muscle tissue. Everyone should have more of that. So I would not worry at all about.

You know, lifting weights and getting too big, it’s like almost being afraid of driving a car and worrying that all of a sudden you’re going to become an Indy 500 racer. That’s just not how it goes! So what you’re going to do is you’re going to change the composition of your body and you’re probably going to feel better and have less impact on your joints and your clothes are gonna fit better.

So like that, I wouldn’t even worry that you’re going to get bulky. I would be looking forward to the fact that you’re going to feel better and you’re going to move better. So, and as far as building that muscle, that lean, lean muscle, you just have to be consistent. You can’t just like one salad a week isn’t going to make you healthy. Lifting one day a week isn’t going to do it. You gotta be consistent each week and then consistent week to week to week, year to year to year. So it’s just putting in that work.

What do you think about Simon Sinek’s quote? Can you share a story about hard work where stayed motivated despite challenges?

That is when you need to see the forest from the trees. Okay, so I took a swim workshop on a weekend in January in Chicago, but the pool heater was broken. It was the worst one of the physically worst, most uncomfortable experiences of my whole life because I didn’t have a lot of body fat to begin with.

I was in the locker room under the hot shower for a good portion of this workshop. I’m like, “I’m not getting better cause I’m not in the pool swimming.”

I’m in this shower cause the heater was broken. But I finally was like, “Okay, I need to, I need to get my head right. I need to get in that pool even though it’s freezing.” So what I did was I said, “Okay, this is a means towards something bigger. This is going to help me swim better. This is going to help me reach my goals.

The goal was to utilize this experience as a tool and as a stepping stone. So that stress, it was a bad stress. I wasn’t happy. It was a miserable, physically miserable stress. But when it’s part of your path, you just gotta roll with some of these punches and just show up. Just show up. Just do it.

What about emotional eating? What’s this photo about?

Generally speaking, we want to start out with awareness. But generally speaking, the first step is if you’re struggling with this, it might very typically occur at the same time every day. So, say Jared, you’re like, “Man, every, every night at seven o’clock, I raid the fridge.”

Then we peel back the onion on that. Like what happens every night? And you might not have ever even thought about about what leads up to that cause you’re blocking that stuff out cause your end goal is to get to that fridge.

So you may say, “Well, you know, X, Y and Z happens and I get a little bit lonely or I get a little bit isolated or a little bit bored.” So then we’re going to look at how we can fix those things. Like how can we make those things better so that you don’t need that, you know?

And then we look at your beliefs. Most people where it’s a punitive thing, food is related to punishment. Punishment tied to food. I really, really don’t like that. I really dislike that. We need food to survive. Like we don’t demonize water. We need water to survive. We don’t say “Oh, I don’t deserve water today.”

This punitive belief system around food and that there’s certain foods that you can’t have, or you don’t deserve to have or they’re bad or they’re this or they’re that. I just don’t believe that. And so I try to help clients get out of that mindset like, “Do you love chocolate caramels? I love them so much, but I can’t have them.” Why can’t you have them?

You know, “Why can’t you have one every night after dinner instead of saying for the next month you can’t have them. And then when you, when you just can’t say no anymore, you have 20, in one sitting, why?” So it’s almost like you give them permission to reevaluate their relationship with food and to discover these false belief systems that somehow we’ve either picked up from family, friends, media, or the world around us.

(for another blog article of mine about emotional eating, read here)

And then last, last question I always end with like, what’s your biggest enlightenment moment? Enlightenment meaning like a light bulb moment. What’s one of them?

Well, they tie together and this goes out to a lot of the females out there. When I was younger I thought, don’t eat that much and I’ll lose weight. Don’t eat that much and exercise like a crazy person – less food, a lot more exercise. When I was in my twenties and I would run myself into the ground. I would be totally exhausted.

Yet when I flipped that and I ate more and I ate better quality food and I took more rest and I took more recovery, my body completely changed. So I literally did the opposite of what I believed was going to get me there and it wasn’t. I would also say you need to eat quality good foods. Your body will give you that feedback and tell you how it feels about that because you’ll know by it, your energy.

And again, you need to take rest days. I see people, too many people they go too hard too often. Don’t take any rest or recovery. Your body never has a chance to take on those changes and you know, metabolize and assimilate those in your body. So rest and recovery, better nutrition.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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