A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.
"Vanity can be a strong motivation for exercise”
Motivation is an important force driving you to train. Without it you have little to no chance of reaching your personal goals in or out outside the gym. Over the years I have observed three distinctive types of motivation when it comes to been motivated to train.
Fig. 1 Factors affecting your motivation to train
We all have different combinations of the motivating factors. Your combinations are not set in stone they can change at any time depending on a multitude of internal and external influences.
"The most common form of motivation behind training."
The bottom line is most people I see in the gym just want to look better naked. This drives them to come into the gym generally just after the Christmas holidays with fresh New Year’s resolutions in their heads. The most common motivating visual factors I see in the gyms are:
· Special occasions like wedding or summer holiday
· Self esteem
· Attract a mate
· Increase income though their bodies (Instagram, acting and modelling)
One negative to point out with visual motivation, it tends to be short lived. As you get close to reaching your goals the driving force often disappear. For example a bride will on average lose over a stone for their wedding and in most cases put it back on after a year. Work based motivation is longer lived as long as you keep doing the job. We live in a visual world although the motivation to look better is strong I recommend finding a number of different factors from the other groups to support your visual ones.
· Before and after photos
· Record your measurements
· Enter a physique competition
"The most important form of motivation for long term exercise participation"
Enjoyment is arguably the best motivating factor for long term exercise participation. Every gym as a group of members that have been training for years and seem to live in the gym, we usually call them "the regulars". Although they may have different motivations to train, they all seem to get some form of enjoyment from exercise. Give yourself as many reasons to train, not just looking better naked. When I worked for Les Mills in New Zealand they coined a phrase “A club within a club” meaning give the member’s more reasons to be in the club beside training and results.
If you want to increase your chances of becoming a long term exerciser I recommend you find as many enjoyment based motivating factors as you can.
· Train with friends
· Join group activities such as running groups or group fitness classes
· Find types of exercise you enjoy
· Competitive exercise activities like Crossfit or Tough Mudder
"It’s not as strong motivator as it should be"
Health based motivation is an interesting one for most people it only kicks in when you need it, which is often a bit late. Most of my clients over the years have rated appearance as their main reason for joining the gym without much thought on their health. There are two groups who often place health based motivation first, the injured (Chronic and Acute) and the more mature gym member.
Acute injuries can give you a strong motivation to train but this usually only last while its effects can be felt. Chronic injuries like knee cartilage damage or chronic back pain tend to motivate for the long term.
Health based motivation often increases as you age; this is due to the individual trying to slowdown the physical and mental effects of ageing. Another factor is the realisation of one’s mortality and the desire to live a long healthy life.
· There is a huge amount of data supporting exercise and increasing life span.
· Focus on Prehab exercise before you get injured.
· Get regular health screens and use the information to motivate your training.
· The earlier you start training the better the effect on slowing the ageing process.
"Find as many motivational reasons to train as you can, this will increase the likelihood of long term success. Don't just focus on the end result enjoy the process on the way and don’t forget about your health as a motivating factor, you only get one life".