How to stay motivated to workout at home - expert advice to keep you going

Knowing how to stay motivated to workout is half the battle, and trainer Dalton Wong will help you acheive your fitness goals

How to stay motivated to workout at a home gym with boxing bag and mirror and barre
(Image credit: Cass + Nico)

How to stay motivated to workout can come down to a number of factors. Have you set goals? Do you have a workout plan? Is all your gear placed within easy access. There are plenty of tips and tricks that home decor can play in keeping you on your fitness journey, and trainer Dalton Wong, performance coach and founder of Twenty Two Training, knows just how to make sure you're engaged.

When it comes to home gym ideas, it helps if you have a dedicated space to workout in, that doesn't require too much manoeuvring of your furniture to use. One idea is to put your weights and accessories into a wheelie basket which you can easily bring out and put away at the start and end of each session. But perhaps your lack of motiation is more emotional than that and you need an extra push? Read on.

How to stay motivated to workout at home

1. Make a ritual

'For my clients, the hardest part about staying fit is working out at home, where it can be difficult to make the time for it,' Dalton says. 'But there are some easy wins that only take a few minutes. I tell my clients to start their day with something like 50 squats or 10 press-ups - in whatever way works with their fitness level (for example, you could do press-ups with your knees on the floor). Doing exercise on waking needs to become a habit, like your morning coffee.'

2. Squeeze fitness into odd moments

'When you're all watching TV, instead of scrolling through your phone in the ad breaks, get everyone into a plank position (it’s more motivating with the whole household involved),' Dalton says. 'While you’re waiting for your kettle to boil, do some push-ups or dips. If you’re waiting for something to cook, do a wall sit for a few minutes or some lunges (if you’re already very active in your day, focus these moments more on stretching). Just as you can gain weight incrementally, you can also build your fitness incrementally - even in your normal clothes - and by the end of a week, you might have done an extra hour.'

3. Schedule fitness at the right times

'It’s important to build cardio into your workout,' Dalton says. 'You need good lung and heart health in order to be resilient to infections. That doesn’t mean you need to do 1,000 burpees, you just need to get your heart rate up and slightly out of breath. It’s best to schedule cardio for the morning (if it’s in your diary, you’re more likely to do it), because that spike of cortisol will help; it’s safer to do resistance-training later in the afternoon when you've had more fuel and your body is more primed for strenuous exercise - if you're lifting heavier weights, there are more mechanical things that can go wrong if your body isn’t ready.'

4. Be realistic

'If you think you need a whole hour to exercise, you’re less likely to do it,' Dalton advises, suggesting you master all of this before worrying too much about how to make a home gym. 'If you only have 10 minutes to spare, make it a sprint, not a walk, or a kettlebell HIIT session rather than bicep curls - it's about going all out within that time to achieve the results.'

Fleur Britten is a well-respected journalist who for years was the Senior Features Editor at Sunday Times Style. She is known as one of the smartest lifestyle journalists around, revered for being able to decode trends and report on new zeitgeists as they happen. She now writes for the Telegraph, Livingetc, Vogue and The Mail on Sunday's You magazine.