Exercise Mantras

I’m not one to shy away from delicious leftovers for lunch, so you can bet that last night’s dinner made an appearance in my afternoon meal.


My mid-day meal included an Italian sausage sandwich with mustard, spinach and tomato slices, paired with carrots and green pepper strips and string cheese.

Eat Those Carrots!


Lots of flavahs!

And now for the part of this post that I am super excited to share with all of you!

Exercise Mantras

Call me corny, but I love a good mantra. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, unmotivated, sad or angry, I often look to quotes and motivational phrases to change my state of mind.

When it comes to working out every morning, truthfully I don’t struggle getting to the gym most days. I think it’s because it’s a pattern for me and something I do daily. I know I would feel like I was missing something if I skipped my morning workout.

However, there are obviously days when I’d much rather sleep in. There are mornings when I think I’ll just walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes and call it a day. That’s when I look to my favorite exercise mantras:

After asking you guys for input on your favorite motivational quotes, I received a slew of responses that were funny, uplifting, energizing and inspiring.

Here are some of my favorites (with the name of the person who submitted the quote noted in parenthesis):

  • You know your limit and this is NOT it. (Meaghan)
  • A body at rest wants to stay at rest. A body in motion wants to stay in motion. (Heidi)
  • No hurt, no mini skirt. (Kelly)
  • When your legs are tired, run with your heart. (Gabriela)
  • You don’t HAVE to exercise. You GET to exercise. (Kimberly)
  • Everyone has 24 hours in one day. What you do with those hours is up to you. Make the most of them! (Jessica)
  • You are just one workout away from a good mood. (Cynthia)

And here’s a list of other wonderful mantras you guys submitted in the comments section of yesterday’s post and on PBF’s Facebook page:

  • There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. (Stephanie, a la Beverly Sills)
  • You’re stronger than you think you are! (Annette and Kristen)
  • Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. (Amber K and Meredith, a la Dory from Finding Nemo)
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. (Jess)
  • If it were easy, everyone would do it. (Ang)
  • This is not the hardest thing I’ve ever done. (Kaella)
  • Don’t try. Just do. (Helen)
  • If you can, you must! (Clare and Jen)
  • It won’t kill ya! (Elisa)
  • Just get out the door. If I’m hating it, I can quit in five minutes. (Averie)
  • You can do anything for one minute (or 30 minutes, etc.). (Allison and Eliza)
  • I need to work some things out, leave some things behind, get over some long-held fears. I need to know that Iโ€™m strong in some ways that Iโ€™ve never really believed. (Mindy)
  • Pain is weakness leaving the body. (Margaret)
  • Your limits might not be where you think they are. (Margaret via IronMan Chrissie Wellington)
  • Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe the dedicated. (Alicia)
  • You must expect things of yourself before you can do them. (Jen)
  • If you look good, you feel good, then you’ll do good. (Taryn)
  • Never let the body tell the mind what to do. (Sarah K.)
  • Don’t stop when you’re getting tired. That’s when you’re getting stronger! (Maryann)
  • Rule your mind or it will rule you. (Kelly)
  • The body is stronger than the mind. (Elysie)
  • If my 82-year-old grandma goes to the gym every day, I’ve got no excuses. (Kristin)
  • Time never stops moving. This challenge will come, and this challenge will go because time never stops moving. This will eventually be over and look at what I will have achieved. (Katy)
  • All I need to do is show up. (Arielle)

Healthy Eating Mantras:

  • The food you eat today is the body you wear tomorrow. (Katie)
  • Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom. (Katie)
  • An hour a day keeps obesity away. (Danielle)

Running Mantras:

  • You can’t judge a run by the first mile. (Michelle)
  • For marathon runners: Run the first 10 miles with your head, run the second 10 miles with your legs, and the last 6 miles with your heart. (Sarah K.)
  • If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, but you’ll be hard to beat. (Alicia)
  • You’re blessed to have legs that allow you to run. (Kristen)

Amazing, huh?

Since I’m sure this long list of exercise mantras is a bit intimidating, I’m going to conclude each morning post for the rest of the month with one quote randomly selected from this post to give it some extra attention. Hopefully each daily quote will resonate with you and help motivate all of us to continue to make healthy decisions in our day-to-day lives.


  1. says

    These are totally awesome–thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely be repeating some of these to myself this afternoon as I’m chugging away on the treadmill. Thanks for these great, positive mantras!


  2. Kennis says

    I LOVE this list!

    Here are a couple of my favorites….

    From my favorite yoga teacher: “You are stronger than you know”

    and when I’m really not feeling like cardio —
    “I have to run, I do not have to run fast”

    …almost always once I start running, I’m back on track ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Mary says

    My cross country coach in high school used to always tell us to “Get out of your comfort zone!” when we were racing. It helps with many aspects of life though – situations when I’m nervous, workouts, you name it…


  4. says

    I’m glad you liked mine, thanks for reposting! I love “what you eat today is the body you’ll wear tomorrow.” Genetics play a role, but the way we treat our bodies accounts for so much of what we look like!


  5. Natalia@ The Health Script says

    This was probably one of my favorite posts you’ve done! LOVE THEM ALL! I will definitely be using some of these to get my lazy but running!


  6. says

    These are all great!
    “Just get out the door. If Iโ€™m hating it, I can quit in five minutes. (Averie)”

    Averie, I love this one! This sums up how I often feel, and it works!


  7. Laura says

    I love the very last one! It is really similar to my montra…when I am running and I feel like my legs are toast and Im out of breath, I think to myself–“Run for everyone who cant, you are blessed.”


  8. Rebecca says

    “Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”
    As a college student, I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this mantra. It’s hard enough to make healthy living a priority, but amongst college students with diets of beer and chips, it’s extra difficult. I hear all too often “just have one cookie” or “you’re so obsessed with working out/yoga etc” and it really gets to me! I’m so glad that I now have a snappy response to those people who don’t even try to understand my healthy ways. Because, it’s true–“The food you eat today is the body you’ll wear tomorrow”–and I’d like my body to look good!


  9. says

    OH my goodness I am LOVING this compiliation of quotes!!! Thank you so much (and everyone who contributed!) for providing all of these wonderful quotes. I am now going to print them off so I can have them handy to read when I need them most. Love it!


  10. says

    I’ve been listening to zac brown a lot and getting those songs stuck in my head has helped me run a lot

    “Quiet Your Mind” makes me feel so at peace- which is why I run in the first place.

    Love them all!


  11. Anita says

    Oh my gosh. I love “I’ve never regretted a workout.”

    I’m in college, too, and sometimes all of the homework and lack of sleep makes me want to just push it to another day. I think this will help remind me that every time I work out, I feel a little bit better after I finish!

    Love your blog, by the way :0)


  12. Jackie W says

    Oh I loved all of those. Thanks for posting. The “There are 168 hours in a week, I am only asking for 7 of them” really hit home with me.

    My husband’s favorite saying recently is, “Every excuse is ten pounds. When you lose the excuses, you lose the weight.”


  13. lenna ezelle says

    Currently I am training for a half=marathon (my first) and when I am training and want to stop I tthink about this:

    NewYork Firefighters of September 11 ran 50 flights of stairs to save lives and still continued before the towers fell down. If they kept going so can I ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. Kinley says

    I like most of these but a few sound disturbingly similar to the “thinspire” quotes that many pro-eating disorder websites frequently use (I suggest googling ProAna and ProMia if you don’t know what I am referring to).

    “No hurt, no mini skirt.”
    “If you look good, you feel good, then youโ€™ll do good.”
    “The food you eat today is the body you wear tomorrow.”

    These all seem extremely similar to ProAna phrases like:

    “Hunger hurts but starving works.”
    “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.”
    “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”

    That being said, I want to reiterate that I really do love some of these (especially “When your legs are tired, run with your heart.”)


    • says

      I get where you’re coming from, and I’ve seen a few of these quotes in Fitness Magazines, such as the “Moment on the lips, forever on the hips” one. I’m just wondering whether these are filtering into general consciousness. I do love 99% of these mantras though, and will definitely be using

      “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going”!


  15. Geraldine says

    It’s hard to choose a favourite but “No hurt, no mini skirt” rings true for me! I have to work hard on my bottom half – curse those pear-shape tendancies!!


  16. Monica says

    Those mantras are great! Very inspirational! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I find myself using mantras on occasion, but my usual one is just a statement of the obvious to myself. I go to the gym extra early in the morning, and when I get the urge to lazy it up and leave before I finish my workout, I just tell myself I’ll have nothing to fill the remaining time up with, so why not just keep going? I could’ve slept in that extra hour rather than laze around!


  17. says

    Ah I love them. I wish I was just motivated to actually work out considering I have been paying for a gym I do not attend since April. Such a waste of money.


  18. Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter says

    Great mantras. I honestly crave working out. It feels so good, gets a lot of energy out of me and I always see my friends at the gym, so it truly is a lot of fun.


  19. Lindsey says

    My Body Pump instructor tonight actually yelled out “Use it and LOSE IT!!!” during squats. It made me think of your awesome mantra list ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. says

    Wonderful mantras! There’s a quote that I keep on my desk at work and at home. It keeps me wildly motivated:
    “There is no passion to be found in playing small … in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
    I think I first read it on the Fitnessista’s blog. I love that quote!

    If you have time… are there any yoga training DVDs that you have tried and recommended? I just had to ask because you seem to really enjoy yoga.


  21. Emily says

    I know I’m late on this but I wanted to share one that always helps me.
    Back when I was swimming very competitively, I would get extremely nervous and anxious before a final race.

    My dad would always encourage me to go my hardest, saying , “what are you saving up for? The car ride home?”

    That always struck home with me. Now, when I’m doing a hard workout and I wanna ease up a bit, I think, What am I saving it up for? Breakfast?

    Have a good day!


  22. Christa says

    This was an awesome post. Especially like the “all you have to do is show up” mantra which I sort of have my own version of… I always tell new managers I’m training “all you really have to do is 2 things: 1) show up and 2) TRY.”


  23. says

    Thank you for this list! I picked my favorites and posted the around my apartment (on my mirror, in my closet, inside my pantry door…). Very motivational!

    Also, I just discovered wheat germ and I’m obsessed. I put it in my yogurt this morning..yum! I also just baked some steel cut oatmeal cookies and added it to them! Delish!


  24. says

    For those just getting started with exercising: “Inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is hard”. Start out small maybe with just walking twenty minutes a day versus running 2 miles when you’ve been inactive for the past 5 years!


    “Preparing to fail is failing to prepare” = if you’ve made the decision to start exercising, come up with a plan on HOW. For me, I have to do it right after work or else it won’t get done. If I just went straight home it’s really hard to motivate myself to get up and do it after I’ve already hoped into my lounging gear, aka my PJs lol. Make a plan, stick to it… don’t wing it.


  25. says

    These are awesome, I love mantra too…and I’m always looking for new ones.

    With working out, when I’m feeling tired and I want to quit, I usually rotate between “you are NOT a quitter” and “just x more minutes/miles and then you can stop” but by the time i get to my goal, i add on another mile or another 5 minutes and start all over again until I’ve finished a full workout.


  26. Caroline says

    On a similar theme, along one of my favorite running routes is a small wooden cross someone erected to honor someone who died in a car accident in that spot and every time I see it I feel grateful that I can run and tell the person I’m doing it for them.


  27. Holly B says

    I actually thought a lot about the mantra you listed, “I’ve never regretted a workout.” It got me out of bed this morning and onto the treadmill for 4.1 miles. I hate the feeling of late-night regret and it’s sooo true! I’ve never regretted a workout or a long dog walk for that matter. I’m happier and my mini-dachshund is happier and healthier because of it.


  28. says

    You are a great inspiration for me – I love that you workout so regularly. And this list of motivational quotes is highly inspiring as well – I am always telling myself: You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great! And as I made the first step I will normally continue ๐Ÿ˜‰


  29. Mimi says

    Before reading this, I was trying to psyched up for a workout today. Now I’m determined to go!

    P.S. I usually say, “I never regret a workout.”


  30. says

    Thanks so much! This has actually gotten me to get off of my butt and do a quick run at 7:45am. I figure it’s plenty of time before my first class, so why not!

    My favorite ones are:
    *When your legs are tired, run with your heart
    *Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe the DEDICATED


  31. says

    I loved these tips. I will start following your blog now to see what other great things you have to say.

    I can use these mantras to get me through those days when i just don’t want to move at all. lol

    Thank you again fro taking out the time to share.


  32. Kami says

    Inspired by one of my favorite running songs, I often tell myself: “I’ve got the magic in me!” Puts a smile on my face every time!

    Also, I had a teacher at the gym say once, “If you want to look like an athlete, you have to work like an athlete.” And I tell myself all the time: YOU ARE AN ATHLETE!!


  33. Haley @ Fit, Young, and Fabulous says

    I LOVE these! I look back at them all of the time. And I love using them as Facebook statuses to inspire others as well! Mantras=LOVE! (: <3


  34. Barbara Ann says

    I was just doing an online search for some new mantras and this post popped up. Just wanted to let you know that even years later it is still making a difference!



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