The “why” of fitness motivation
One of the most difficult aspects of self motivation when it comes to fitness training, is embracing both discomfort and discipline.
Any way you stack it up, improvements to ones fitness require a combination of both physical discomfort and the consistent discipline to engage, embrace and overcome the challenges that present themselves in building a healthier body.
Whether it’s that last rep of curls that feels like battery acid is coursing through ones biceps, or the feeling that your heart is going to beat out of your chest for that last “hill climb” during spinning class, motivation must always be the dominant mind-set in overcoming a variety of physical, and yes, psychological challenges.
Teachers and coaches often refer to this as a person’s “why” – that driving force, usually emotional in nature that will keep a person aligned on the course towards bettering themselves on a goal-based program.
Whether it’s looking better in a swimsuit, dropping unwanted pounds, improving ones sprint speed, or walking up a flight of stairs without breathing like a buffalo in winter, all fitness programs should be driven by the simple, yet profound question of “why.”
When this question is asked, it will elicit the emotional trigger that plays the biggest role in motivation. Likewise, if someone else in your circle of care or influence wants the “why” for a person more than they want it for themselves, a collision course with failure is inevitable.
In my years a a trainer, I have often sensed the enemy of successful outcomes when a person’s “why” begins to erode. This multi-headed snake presents itself in the form of chronic late arrivals for scheduled training sessions, cancellation excuses of exaggerated magnitude, great training sessions immediately followed by binge eating (you know, the “reward” for having worked so hard in the gym), and the convenient amnesia of failing to list highly caloric foods in food journals.
Naturally, these excuses are not specific to working only with a fitness trainer. They can apply to a person’s consistency in days per week in the gym, creating excuses to linger between sets, or not showing up to the gym if one’s usual training partner is unavailable to join you at the gym that day.
The bigger part of this, are ways that will help a person succeed in creating that powerful “why” to build an environment for success. Listed below are some of the techniques I have learned from my clients over the years that help build great motivators for moving forward:
Keep it emotional – Let’s face it. Emotion can be a huge driver towards a goal. Whether you were negatively chastised as a kid for your body type, are tired of having to use a walker to move around, or find yourself wishing you could be a “player” of the fun things in life instead of a spectator, harness those powerful emotions to work for you.
Pictures – Pictures can be terrific triggers. Perhaps a picture of how you would like to look or once looked, posted in highly visible places (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, car dashboard) can remind your thoughts to initiate actions that will take you towards your goal.
Accountability – It always helps to have a partner who counts on you, and to whom you can count on to train or work-out together. This will drive you to avoid “letting that person down” by creating petty excuses for a no-show at your training sessions. They too, should be equally accountable.
Compliments – Have you ever noticed how good it feels to receive a compliment? Compliments nourish a human need to be acknowledged and appreciated. Improved appearance through an effective fitness program will give others a reason to take notice and remind you of your improvements. This is not a bad “why” as it is more significant than many people are willing to admit.
There are literally hundreds of “why’s” that drive people to move towards fitness and a healthy lifestyle – each one, specific to the person and personality of the individual in search of motivation. The most important thing however, is spending time thinking about the “why” in your life, that will move you towards a healthier body and a more fulfilling life.
Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness and Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at http://VictorFitnessSystems.com or http://theflashpoint.org .