The Motivational Phrases Trainers LOVE to Use During Your Workout—And Why These Words Matter

When it comes to working out, one of the greatest struggles can be finding motivation. If you actually muster up the gumption to get your butt out of bed and to the gym, congratulations, that’s a huge step right there! But when you arrive to class, how do you find a second dose of motivation to stick with the workout and finish it in its entirety? 

Personally, I find the coaches and trainers who lead my workouts are a huge source of my motivation during my workouts (and those of you who took our annual State of Fitness survey agree; in fact, over 70 percent of you said your instructor preferences were strong or very strong).

It’s not just the coaches and trainers themselves though; it’s their words of motivation that can give you that extra push, but have you ever wondered why coaches and trainers say what the say? I  spoke with some of Chicago’s finest coaches and trainers to learn what their go-to motivational phrases are and why they use them with clients.

motivational phrases from trainers

Betina Gozo, Nike Global Master Trainer

Motivational Quote: “Strength comes from overcoming things you once thought you couldn’t do, not things you already could do!”

Why: “Strength training really is something that I love to push my clients with – and this quote helps me articulate to my clients that it’s OK that you are unable to do something right away,” explains Gozo. “It pushes them in a way that they choose to put themselves through and when they accomplish amazing things like this, they can feel more accomplished in their everyday lives.”

How you can apply this outside of the gym: Whether it’s crushing a presentation at the office or going on a first date, you gain strength each time you accomplish something you didn’t think you could do. Who knows, something amazing may come of it.

Kelly Matkovich, SWEAT Fitness Studios

Motivational Quote: “No regrets. Leave it all here on the floor. You got this”

Why: “I love that clients carve out the time to do something really great for themselves – taking the time to sweat it out to reap the physical and mental benefits of movement,” says Matkovich. “When they come to a class, it’s always going to be challenging, so I want to make sure they leave class knowing they gave it their all and they feel really good about the work they just put in. That sense of accomplishment can be carried through to all areas of our life and that is what is incredibly powerful about fitness.”

How you can apply this outside of the gym: Live your life with no regrets. Just like with a workout, put it all there. Whether you are going through something enjoyable or unpleasant, it will be over before you know it, so enjoy it while it’s there and push your way through it when life gets challenging. 

Antonia DeSantis, Studio Lagree  

Motivational Quote: “Leave nothing to chance. Leave nothing to luck. Own it. You are writing your own story every day so why not make it epic?”

Why: We are in control of our lives so why not make it the one we want?” points out DeSantis. “A lot of time we give our power away because we don’t believe in ourselves and our abilities enough, but if we do our best each day, set our intentions & goals for the life we do want to have and take action daily, we will eventually get there. Small wins matter. They really do.”

How you can apply this outside of the gym: Antonia said it best, but whether we realize it or not, we are in control of our lives, so why not do all we can to make it the life we actually want to live. Make goals, set intentions and take action daily. 

Paul Tadalan, Owner Fit Results

Motivational Quote: “Let’s make everything we do here matter. Let’s leave a little stronger today. Stronger than last time. Better than last time. ”

Why: Every training session we do should be purposeful with the intent to discover our next strongest self,” Tadalan believes. “Being better at something requires repetition, consistency and constantly finding ourselves at new levels of discomfort. When things get hard in training, we will be presented with the decision of either holding back and doing the same thing we have done before in that moment or pushing ourselves harder than we ever have.”

He continues, “Right when it gets tough, right when all the voices in your head are telling you to take it back, rest or quit, that’s when we should push the hardest. It’s the choices in those moments that build character, resiliency and the capacity to take on the larger challenges ahead.”

How You Can Apply This Outside of the Gym: Life is full of challenges, which can be uncomfortable but comes with an opportunity for growth. By pushing through the discomfort of the unfamiliar, we earn the opportunity to grow stronger.

Vince DiGirolamo, SWEAT Fitness Studios

Motivational Quote: “You don’t come to get strong. You come to get stronger.”

Why: “What I’m trying to get across is two-fold,” explains DiGirolamo. “First, I want everyone to look at themselves and see that they’re a strong f***ing person. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first class, if the person next to you is using a heavier weight, if can’t do a pushup, if you skipped the past five days, or whatever. You showed up and you are working your ass off. You are strong when you walk in, and you’re going to be stronger when you walk out.”

“Secondly,” he continues, “I want to remind everyone that the work they’re doing inside the gym positively impacts all aspects of their lives outside of the gym as well. Maybe they hate their job, they have relationship baggage, or just are having a shitty day – those workouts help with all of that. It lets them get their frustrations out. It clears their minds. It sets them on the right path for the rest of their day. It prepares them to deal with [insert any hectic thing about life here].”

How you can apply this outside of the gym: Whether it’s a challenging client, a tough workout or growing pains in a personal relationship, you can get through whatever life throws at you. 

Bret Gornik, Barry’s Bootcamp and Live Better Co.

Motivational Quote: “What you do in here translates to what you do out of here. You only get one chance to finish. Every class is an opportunity. Seize that opportunity to make today the best day ever.”

Why: “I use motivation to create action. I want people to realize when they push themselves in class that it translates to what they do outside of class.” says Gornik.

How you can apply this outside of the gym: No matter if it’s a workout or a challenging situation outside of the gym, push yourself through it. You only get one chance every day to live your best life, so seize the moment and the opportunity to make it your absolute best. Why would you choose anything else anyways?

Paul Michael Rahn, SWEAT Fitness Studios

Motivational Quote: “What is the perfect vision of the body YOU want? That’s what you’re working for! Fight for that!”

Why: I always want clients to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing in class, in fitness and in life. I want them to think about their bodies and what they actually want it to look like, that vision of it that will make them happy,” Rahn emphasizes. “By thinking about the visuals, that makes us workout harder to get closer to that goal!”

How you can apply this outside of the gym: Just like in the gym, we have goals for our lives and when times get tough, we have to visualize the end result of our goals. Thinking of the visuals can help us get closer to our goals.

Cat Aldana, Eat Stretch Nap

Motivational Quote: “Everything is temporary.”

Why: “The feelings, thoughts, emotions and physical conditions you are experiencing in class never last forever,” Aldana reminds us. “We sometimes think they do, but it’s not true. Nothing is permanent. Everything is temporary. This applies to both joy and pain, so to embrace it all.”

How you can apply this outside of the gym: Everything in life, both good and bad is temporary, so enjoy the highs and ride out the lows because eventually it will all pass.

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About Ashley Martens

Ashley Martens is a Wellness Writer based in Chicago, Illinois. With a lifelong passion for all things health and wellness, Ashley enjoys writing about topics to help people live happier and healthier lives. With a foundation in fitness, food, and nutrition, Ashley covers it all including sexual health and travel topics.