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  • Tami McCandlish

4 Ways to Fuel Your Workouts

To stop starting then stopping, to overcome a funk, or to deepen your workouts, delve into these four fuels.

1. Nutrition.

Typically, we emphasize what breaks down our bodies (exercise) more than what builds it up. If you want energy, stamina, lean muscle mass, and results, work harder on your nutrition than you do on the treadmill. And keep it simple.

  • Drink water (general amount: bodyweight / 2 = minimum ounces of water daily).

  • Eat clean – lean meats (ex: chicken, turkey, fish), fruits, veggies, grains (ex: oats, brown rice, and quinoa), seeds, nuts.

  • Limit or avoid refined sugar, pop, alcohol.

  • Treat don’t cheat.

2. Music.

Music is an awesome motivator, but isn’t it insane how mindless it can become? It’s easy to get lost in the beat without being aware of what we’re listening to.

If we fuel our bodies with good nutrition, why would we fuel our movement with lazy language and trashy lyrics?

I recently listened to a song I'd heard a gazillion times, and all of a sudden, the lyrics hit me, and I was like, "What'd she just say?!”

I avoid explicit songs and try to be aware of lyrics, but it’s crazy how things slip through. And as I become more aware of satanic imagery, I become more vigilant not only about what I allow into my ears but what’s displayed on album covers. So periodically, I clean up my playlists.

It’s also easy to pair music with our emotions. When we routinely use music to cater to our emotions, we risk being controlled by our emotions, and our workouts can follow the same inconsistent pattern. To avoid this:

  • Choose music not based on how you feel but how you want to feel.

  • Try listening to instrumental beats without lyrics.

  • Or maybe it’s time to take a break from music and focus on fuels #3 and 4.

3. Purpose.

Why do you workout? “To feel better” and “tone up” might get you going, might even keep you going, but if you don’t know why you’re busting your butt, there’s a good chance you’ll quit or burnout.

Weddings and vacations are great motivators, but if you only set short-term goals, you’ll only achieve short-term results.

What’s going to make you start when you’d rather take a nap? Or keep going when you want to stop? We need something bigger than ourselves and the things of this world to do what we’re too weak to accomplish on our own.

The people I train who achieve optimal, individual results and continual growth all have a purpose. Reasons like:

“My mother uses a walker. I don’t want to end up like her.”

“My son. I want to be the dad I never had.”

“I never want to go back to who I used to be.”

For me, what Jesus did on the Cross has kept me going for over twenty years, five days a week at a high intensity. When I think about what He did for me, for all of us, how can I not run one more lap, perform one more set, or start when it’s easier to stand still? It's what I must do because it's built into the fiber of my being.

For more on purpose, I recommend The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.

4. Prayer.

Have you ever considered your workouts as a form of worship?

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 19-20)

Inviting the Holy Spirit into my mind and body is the deepest way I fuel my workouts. It’s how I tap into strength and endurance that are not my own, and you can too.

If you’re ready to spiritually fuel your workouts, start with this prayer and adapt it as you learn more about the Holy Spirit.

And if you're looking for even more, download my free resource: Worship While You Work Out: 7-Steps to Meaningful Workouts.


Tami McCandlish is a writer and speaker who brings hope and healing in the name of Jesus. She is the author of Let the Bees Buzz: Finding Redemption in the Aftermath of School Bullying.

Since 2004, she has worked alongside her husband coaching thousands of people in exercise and wellness.

Tami is an National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Behavior Change Specialist, Golf Fitness Specialist, Youth Exercise Specialist, and Fitness Nutritional Specialist, a Precision Nutrition - Level 1 Coach, and she holds a B.A. in English and Journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University.

For more on fitness, faith, friendship, and felines, join her email list at

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