Get Psyched

Today’s lunch included a bowl of dinner leftovers.

soy sauce and honey stir fry

Last night I made a stir fry with a super-easy two-ingredient sauce that combined soy sauce and honey. After sautéing chicken and onion in a bit of olive oil, I added the broccoli, soy sauce and honey and let everything simmer for a while so the flavors of the sauce saturated the chicken and vegetables. 



Get Psyched

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve dedicated a few hours a day to studying for my NASM personal training certification. It’s crunch-time for me and now that I’ve made my way through the entire book and have a ton of notes to review, the past few weeks have been dedicated to committing the information to memory.

Today one of the sections I reviewed discussed strategies to enhance exercise adherence. Some of the strategies were strategies I personally employ to keep myself motivated at the gym. According to NASM, one of the major cognitive strategies is “Psyching Up” where a personal trainer works to help a client to feel excited, positive and engaged before exercise. Positive thoughts, imagery and music are common ways people psych themselves up.

I am a big fan of music as a way to psych myself up. I also use motivational quotes (you can find a ton of them in this post: Exercise Mantras). These are two of the most effective ways I’ve found to psych myself up. I cannot help but feel energetic when I blast old school Jock Jams tunes when I’m getting dressed for the gym on a Saturday morning.

Question of the Afternoon

  • How do you psych yourself up for a workout?
  • Do you have any tricks you use to psych yourself up when you’re feeling less than motivated?


  1. Katy says

    Good luck on your exam! I took mine a few weeks ago (NASM as well). Best advice I have for ya – utilize that online practice exam. They change the questions each time you take it (some of them) and it will help you out a lot on the test. Also, remember that you just need a 70% to pass. I started freaking a week or so before my exam, thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to know everything in the book & “get a good grade”. Um no. Not like a college final exam – where you NEED that 94+. 🙂 You will do great!


  2. says

    Putting together a new playlist always gets me psyched to work out! But on days when I don’t have a new playlist and just don’t feel motivated I ask my dog if she’s ready to go for a run. Ha, as soon as I ask her she gets all excited and I can’t help but get a little psyched. 🙂


  3. says

    Dinner looks amazing! I’m not such a fan of soy sauce as I think it’s tastes a little bitter but with honey, I bet it gives it just a nice sweet flavor! As for getting pumped for a work out what motivates me is the end result! Knowing that I’m doing it to better myself on days that I just want to stay in my nice warm bed is what helps get me going! Good luck on your test!


  4. says

    I psych myself up by asking friends to join me for workouts and getting it done early. If it is a run, I’ll download at least 1 new song each week to help me rock!


  5. says

    Definitely music! For me, the power of music is amazing and has such a strong effect on me. Often times I find myself less than motivated to hit the gym but once I get myself there, throw on some tunes and get started, I feel oddly energetic!


  6. says

    Music does wonders for me! I find that when I start to get less than excited for a long run, a nice, new playlist really helps!

    I also love to buy new gear! Anything new, even something little like socks, helps me get excited for a workout!

    Having a training plan and working towards a goal is great too!


  7. says

    Julie — I can’t wait to see what everyone writes about. Lately I’ve been bribing myself with rewards. The rewards have ranged from dumb things like a fried treat at the bar to something bigger like a piece of jewelry (maybe $100 or so) for attaining a bigger goal. Dumb but it works for me!



  8. says

    I had to use a method like this today to get my butt out the door to run. I usually just use motivational kind of thinking to get me going. Today is was something like, “Because I can, I will.” I would have been psyched up during my run with music, but as soon as I got to my running spot, I realized my ipod was dead. Fail! Music is a HUGE motivator for me. It turns blah runs into personal records!


  9. says

    I am a runner so I have an app on my phone that sends me a motivational running quote everyday. If I am having a moment where I don’t want to run, I can just look at my quote of the day and that usually gets me motivated. Today’s quote is “motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” (Jim Ryun). Love it!


  10. Amanda says

    I usually psych myself up by planning to meet a friend for a class at the gym. If I’m going solo, I’ll make sure my ipod is good to go and I’ll often treat myself to a magazine if I’ll just be on a machine. New workout clothes helps, too!


  11. says

    Psyching myself up was a huge motivator when I competed in swimming, but now that I just exercise for overall health, I find I don’t need the psych ups that I once did. I guess it just depends on each persons needs!


  12. says

    The best workout motivation tip I have is to put on your workout clothes, tie up your sneaks, and THEN decide whether or not you’re going to work out. I try to tell myself that I do not HAVE to do anything…once I’m dressed it’s my decision to make.
    Wouldn’t you know I almost always end up heading out for a run!
    I write about similar topics on my blog, – check it out!


  13. says

    I went to a personal trainer for about 3 months. There were some days I would go in NOT ready to work out, but he would pump me up by saying what a great workout he had in store for me and how we were going to burn so many calories. He gave me the visual of seeing myself burn calories and lose weight, and that pumped me up for our sessions and made me want to give it everything I’ve got!


  14. says

    I love psyching myself up for it! I always think about how GREAT I will feel, why I want to do this, and I use music a ton too. I always have it playing before all the classes I teach to help get people stoked to workout! 🙂


  15. Cassie Findley says

    That is so excited you are so close to your personal training certification!!! Do you plan on training at a local gym once you pass?


  16. says

    haha Jock jams are where it’s at! I still have the awful 5th grade cheer competition dance permanently burned into my brain to the tune of Jock James #1!


  17. says

    Music, music, music! I know it’s a common one, but if I don’t have pumped up jams in my earbuds I can’t work it. Even when I bring my kindle and set it up on the elliptical I have to have music!


  18. says

    Yum. That stir fry sounds amazing.

    Really good music helps me get into the mood. If I’m training for something specific, I’ll make a specific mix. For example, I’m going on a Disney cruise next year, and while I don’t necessarily want or need to fit into a bikini next year, being stronger and less likely to be huffing and puffing as I walk up and down the boat are definitely motivation. To remember that, I’ve got Disney music on my phone to listen to while I work out.


  19. says

    Thank you for sharing what you had for dinner. I love hearing about what you are eating. I love home Asian food instead of ordering take out.

    I am excited everyday for my afternoon workout; it gets me out of the office for an hour during the day. Then, I come back to work, work, work.


  20. says

    Music pumps me up too! Kind of sad that I need to rely on it, but hey whatever works right! I also try to envision how I will feel after my workout, which is usally awesome! That motivates me to go to the gym etc. when I don’t feel like it.


  21. says

    Amazing what a good music will do for people’s energy and enthusiasm. When I’m instructing I try to play stuff that will get everyone pumped up (90s hip hop always works!) and when I want to bring up the energy level even higher I’ll crank up the music a bit during certain parts!


  22. says

    It’s funny, but lately I’ve been thinking about the Biggest Loser contestants when I work out. If they can handle those crazy tough workouts with Jillian that I can handle 30 minutes on the treadmill.


  23. says

    Do you feel like NASM is the best way to become certified as a personal trainer? I have always been so intrigued by the idea but there seem to be so many ways to become certified and it is hard to tell what places are the most legit and marketable! I am so glad you posted this today. It has been on my mind so much lately. Thanks!


  24. Sara Lopez says

    I just wanted you to know how much you inspire me!! I have started working out more and you are my dream personal trainer. I read your blog everyday. I am fourteen years old. I hope one day to meet you in person:)


  25. says

    Good luck on your exam!! I plan on starting my certification this year!

    I always remind myself that I’ve never felt WORSE after a workout. I’ve always felt better walking out then I did walking in. That, and I have my own little mantras – “You OWN this workout” and “STRONG is the new sexy”. 🙂


  26. says

    This is my first time commenting on your blog but I have been reading and following it since August and I love it. I read it everyday and look forward to seeing your recipes, work-out ideas and crazy Sadie stories 🙂 Your blog posts really inspire me and my fitness routines. Music definitely helps me too. I turn on Spotify during the last hour at work to get myself pumped.

    Also – my boyfreind and I use Bragg Liquid Aminos as an alternative to Soy Sauce. It tastes just like Soy but without all of the sodium. You can get it at the Vitamin Store. You probably know about it but I just wanted to share it with you and your readers just in case 🙂


  27. says

    I can psych myself up pretty easily as well but music is a big thing to KEEP me focused and energized on the workouts that are more of a struggle. I really enjoyed that section of the NASM book because I KNOW there are people who need that extra push more often.


  28. Katie says

    Just today I was forced to skip my usual morning workout!
    This afternoon I kind of pouted thinking I was just too tired to squeeze a workout in.
    I live in the city of Pittsburgh, so as I walked home from a day full of classes and library time, I visualized the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline that I get to see when I run my usual trails. I usually pass PNC park and Heinz field which is exciting in itself. By the time I got back to my apartment, it wasn’t even a thought in my mind… I threw on the gym clothes and headed out, just to savor that AWESOME view.
    Obviously I had absolutely noooo regrets once my sneaks hit the streets 🙂


  29. says

    I psych myself up with music or by going to my favorite group exercise class. I also like accountability to keep me motivated (whether it’s meeting a friend at the gym or doing something like BBB to keep track of my workouts)


  30. Sammy says

    music is def my way of getting pumped! a great playlist can keep me going forever. when i need that extra boost, i imagine myself in an outfit i want to wear or ill make up sill songs about staying healthy and keeping fit!


  31. Hollie says

    I’ve never been a fan of working out, so it’s a struggle every day to motivate myself into working out. What has helped me is looking at Pins on my Exercise board that have motivational quotes such as, No matter how slow you run, you’re lapping everyone that chose to stay home on their couch. Or I set low expectations, I tell myself hey just put in 20 minutes or do the short run, and once I start the workout, I push myself past 20 minutes (probably not the best positive motivator).


  32. says

    I say to myself “You only regret the runs you DON’T do!”…long runs I usually say “run for the mocha”!! And I go get a mocha after. I also run with friends so that always motivates me because I get to spend time with them. And my dog LOVES running.


  33. says

    Someone asked this earlier, but I wanted to ask too. I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a personal trainer but wasn’t sure what the best way to go about it was. Do you think NASM is the best one?


  34. says

    It depends on the workout. If it’s cardio or yoga, I need piece of mind and will sometimes turn on some calming music before. If it’s weights, I try to be hardcore and blast some tunes.


  35. says

    I am a certified personal trainer through NSCA, but I do have my NASM-CES and I must say that I do like how NASM does their online education. It’s very though if you don’t have any background in biology and exercise science. Did you get the premier package with the online course portion? If you did then you should be completely fine. I found a lot of the questions for the CES exam were very similar to those of the review questions at the end of each learning module. Definitely learn the muscles and what functions they do in human movement. I find the best trainers know how the human body functions and moves, which means they can create the most effective workouts for their clients. Enjoy!


    • says

      that’s been the biggest obstacle for me so far! i haven’t taken biology since my freshman year in college, so i felt like i had a lot of learning to do. thanks for the tips about muscle function. i took my first online practice test yesterday and a lot of questions about the isolated function of a muscle popped up!


  36. Megan says

    This receipe looks AH-MAY-ZING… and best of all easy! I can follow it!

    Plus, I recently started running and working out again! yay! Today I had my first road block where I felt, BLAH and too tired and out of it! I talked myself through it and very glad I did! I read your older blog on mantras and I love them!! My friend told me one today, I really like, “the only thing you have to lose is the weight!” love it! Thanks for the post 🙂


  37. says

    it might be horrid to say but when i needed to psych myself out of bed during th years i got up at 445 for weekday w/os, i really focused on how HARD it had been to MAKE it a habit….it was MUCH easier to retain the habit than make it at the start ad if i fell off the wagon too much, i’d have to start over


  38. says

    Hi, there! I’ve been following your blog for a while but haven’t commented yet. Good luck with your exam! It’s funny that you posted this today. My husband and I have a running joke that Hans Zimmer’s music will pump you up for anything. We’ve added our favorite music of his to our ipods but we have been known to play it when we need to fold the laundry or do the dishes. I know it’s just a mental thing but if it work, why not?!


  39. Lia says

    I try to focus on the “runners high” that I’ll feel after I’m done. Working out (especially running) gives me so much energy and usually puts me in a great mood. Or I tell my hubby to force me out the door ;). Running with the dog also helps because she can just pull me along…


  40. says

    Not really- I just go and think of my members and how much it’s going to benefit them. Plus I realise it’s Body Step and that I’m in love with it so that makes it a bit easier 😉


  41. says

    I definitely have to psych myself up sometimes–music is the way to go for me! Or I can just go through the reasons why I should workout and know that I will feel AWESOME after the workout is done. 🙂


  42. Susanna Clark says

    Having a race or goals to work toward always psyche me up. I am a physical therapist and I feel like if you don’t have a goal to work toward when training or rehabbing you don’t have a reason to be doing it.


  43. Amanda says

    I always have to have a schedule so that I know exactly how far I need to run each day and then I mentally prepare myself the whole day. I like to envision myself at the finish line of the race I’m training for so that I keep my goal in mind! I also do not let my mind make any excuses during a long run and keep my thoughts positive! Thanks for the post, Julie! Best of luck studying!


  44. Sabrina says

    Good luck on your NASM exam!! I will be taking it in April/May 🙂
    I do not enjoy a workout without music. In fact, I will drive home to get headphones if I forget them! Music really pumps me up especially when doing exercises that really push me.


  45. Natalie says

    When it seems to be too much of a time crunch to get some activity in, I think to myself, “when have I ever regretted a workout before”? Even if I feel so tired and unmotivated, once I get there and start, nearly every time I am so happy I did it!!


  46. says

    That marinade – could it BE any simpler?? Love the sweet and salty combo. Cannot wait to try it on my next stir fry 🙂

    Any Flo Rida song can get my out of my funk and to the gym. His songs have the perfect amount of energy and excitement that really get me going!


  47. says

    I struggle with psyching myself up most days. Music just doesn’t do it for me (unfortunately, it seems to help a lot of people!) I basically know how to trick myself – I wake up and immediately get dressed and start a workout video before I “realize” I’m doing it. At that point, I start telling myself I want to stop, but I convince myself that I’ve already invested the time in getting up early and getting dressed, so I keep going and finish it. If I miss my morning workout, all bets are off as to whether I’ll ever convince myself to do it later 🙂


  48. Sarah says

    NASM has an app. download it, it has a ton of questions. Also, google nasm practice quizzes and some more questions should come up. Practice the test over and over again. Do the work shop if you can before you take the test. Everything makes more sense.


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