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. 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.


  2. 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?


  3. 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.


  4. 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!


  5. 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 🙂


  6. 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


  7. 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?!


  8. 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…


  9. 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 😉


  10. 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. 🙂


  11. 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.


  12. 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!


  13. 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.


  14. 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!!


  15. 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!


  16. 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 🙂


  17. 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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