How to Stay Motivated to Get Fitter (Teen Girls)

Four Parts:Staying Motivated VisuallyStaying Motivated with GoalsStaying Motivated with ActivitiesStaying Motivated with Food

If you’re a teenage girl looking to stay motivated to get fitter, there are a lot of things you can do. But bottom line, have fun with it. Your teenage years don’t have to be filled with pressure to look a particular way. Instead, focus on getting and staying healthy, and having fun while doing so—you’ll end up with plenty of motivation that way.

Part 1
Staying Motivated Visually

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    Make an inspirational board to hang in your room. Creating a visual display of your goals and positioning it where you can look at it throughout the day is a big motivator. If you don’t keep your goals in front of your eyes, it’s easy to forget them or justify procrastinating.
    • Get creative with your board. You can make a basic 2D collage with magazine photo cutouts, or you can give the board dimension by adding small toy versions of your favorite healthy things—soccer or basketballs, pompoms, even play food like your little brother or sister has in their play kitchen.
    • Write your #1 goal in large letters in the center, something like, “To be fast enough to score a goal.”
    • Post a picture of yourself when you were fit and happy, or when you were accomplishing a big physical feat like scoring a goal or winning a race.
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    Create a board on Pinterest. You can create a virtual inspiration board by “pinning” inspiring images, websites, and articles that you find on the internet. This way, you can easily flip to the board on your smartphone and scroll through it to get fitness ideas or get excited about exercising.[1]
    • Include images of your favorite strong women, like Serena Williams or Carly Lloyd.
    • Include quotes like, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," by Eleanor Roosevelt.
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    Draw your goals in a journal. You can also draw your goals in a journal or diary (or paste magazine clippings on the pages). This journal can become a mobile inspiration board that you can open instantly no matter where you are. If you like to draw, this creative journal can be a great way to combine fitness with your other interests.
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    Read success stories. Find articles about girls just like you who had to overcome obstacles in order to get fit. You can find stories like this in teen magazines, young adult books (both fiction and nonfiction), or in blog posts on the internet. Just use a search engine to get started online, or visit a local library and search their catalog to check out a book or magazine.
    • Look up the stories of young women like Stephanie Jallen, who skis with only one leg, or Sarah Storey, who is a bicycling champion with a malformed left hand.

Part 2
Staying Motivated with Goals

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    Write down things you can do only when you’re fit. One day in the future, when your goals are achieved and your muscles are toned, you will be able to do things that you can’t do right now. What are these things? Perhaps you will be able to bench press 200 pounds or run an 8-minute mile. Write these goals down.
    • Write them down in more than one place. Write them in a journal that you can carry with you; write them on a board that you hang on your wall; even type them up and place them on your social media profiles so that your friends can help you stay on track.
    • Think about being able to do these things when you don’t want to work out or eat a healthy meal by pulling out your notebook or looking at the words on your wall.
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    Make a chart and write down your progress each day. Either create a paper chart to keep on your desk or hang up on the wall, or make a virtual chart on your phone or computer (there are apps that allow you to do this as well). When you’re a teenager, it’s easy to forget what you did yesterday, and a chart can help you remember.[2]
    • Keeping track of your progress is a great motivator because it reminds you that you are actually changing things.
    • You can keep track of things like weight loss, inches around your waist, how you feel, what you eat, how much water you drink, and so on.
    • Log your diet and exercise each day in an app.
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    Set up a weekly fitness schedule. Setting up a fitness schedule for each week will help you not only to remember to exercise and eat right, but will prevent you from quitting or procrastinating. When you work activities into a schedule, they become a habit. Sticking to a routine will help you get fit even if you don’t want to sometimes.
    • You should also plan for healthier eating habits, such as making one day a week “salad day,” another day “salmon day,” and so on.

Part 3
Staying Motivated with Activities

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    Brainstorm about fitness activities you might like. To help you choose an exercise that will be something you look forward to, sit down and make a list of every kind of exercise you can think of. Get your mom or dad to sit down and help you think. If you don’t already play sports in school, this type of brainstorming is especially helpful.
    • Every type of exercise burns a specific amount of calories, and you want to pick a type of exercise that will help you burn your goal amount of calories.[3]
    • If you don’t like traditional sports, consider taking a class at your mom’s gym, like yoga, Pilates, or kickboxing.
    • Consider joining a sports team if you’re not on one already, or maybe a fitness club like hiking or rock climbing at your school.
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    Do trials of each type of fitness. Once you have thought of some activities you think sound fun, give them a try. For example, if no sports sounded appealing, a yoga class at the gym might sound like something you’d enjoy. Before committing to a yoga routine, attend a class to make sure that it’s for you.
    • If you’re thinking about joining a fitness club at school, perhaps attend one meeting on a trial basis, and tell the club leader.
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    Have fun. The most effective way for a teenager to stay motivated to do physical activity is to have fun with it.[4] Pick activities that you don’t even think of as “exercise.” Do you like horseback riding? Swimming, hiking, or canoeing? Pretty much any outside activity requires physical exercise.
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    Grab a friend. One way to stay motivated and have fun at the same time is to have a friend with you. Ask one of your friends to become your fitness buddy, and if you're on a sports team, find a teammate you can exercise with.
    • Schedule weekly meetings with your fitness buddy so that you develop the habit of getting exercise together.

Part 4
Staying Motivated with Food

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    Decide what types of food will help you stay healthy. Talk to your parents and physical education coaches at school, perhaps even your doctor, to determine what type of diet is the best for your metabolism and physical needs. For the most part, healthy eating means eating lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with limited sugars and fats.
    • If you have any known medical conditions, speak to your doctor before beginning a fitness routine. If you ever suspect something is wrong, such as having symptoms like a racing heartbeat even when sitting down, see a doctor as soon as you can.[5]
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    Buy the food you need each week. Make a list with your parents of foods that you need to eat to stay on target with becoming fit. If these foods are different from what they usually bring home from the grocery store, ask your mom or dad to start getting them. You may even want to ask for a weekly food budget so that you can purchase these foods yourself.
    • For example, if your family eats a lot of deep-fried foods, you may want to switch to steaming and sautéing and eating more fresh veggies. Fresh veggies may be a new thing for your family, so you should communicate your desire to have more of them on hand at home.
    • You may want to learn how to cook for yourself if your family does not cook the way that you know you should.
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    Keep track of what you eat. Use a journal that you write in every day or a fitness app to keep track of what you eat. Most apps even calculate your caloric intake so that you can see if you are eating more calories than is good for your body.
    • Being able to see your food intake is also a good motivator to eat less or eat more, depending on your health habits before starting a fitness routine.
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    Avoid taking dieting too far. Don't get caught up in dieting, calorie counting, or portion control. You a growing girl and indulging in sweet treats is a normal and healthy part of your teenage years. Adopt a mindset of "all things in moderation" and change your approach to food in moderation as well.
    • If you think you have a problem with food, whether eating too little or too much, or obsessing over food, talk to someone. Tell a parent, a coach, a guidance counselor, or another trusted adult.


  • Keep in mind that getting fit is not the most important thing about being a teenager. You are beautiful the way you are, and getting fit is just a means to becoming healthier—not skinnier.
  • Joining sports teams and fitness clubs is good for your mind as well as your body because it helps you make friends, making you a happier person.


  • If you are considering a very restrictive diet or intense exercise plan, consult your doctor first.
  • If you have symptoms of an eating disorder or exercise addiction, seek help immediately. These signs may include:[6]
    • Avoidance of food
    • Over-indulging in food
    • Purging (throwing up on purpose)
    • Muscle aches and pains
    • Tendonitis
    • Feelings of extreme inadequacy when looking in the mirror

Article Info

Categories: Youth Diets and Nutrition