Friday, October 29, 2010

Staying Motivated with Fitness

Stick to your fitness plan by understanding the science of motivation. Make a few behavioral tweaks to keep you going. Here are 3 tips to get you moving (literally).

Research shows that 50 percent of people who start an exercise program drop out within six months. The fact is, working out to make others happy is the least successful way to compel you to break a sweat. The more you do stuff you like to do instead of what you think you should do, the more you'll keep doing it. This is the Self Determination Theory (SDT). The benefits of this intrinsic motivation have been proven in studies across the board.

Step 1: Taking Charge

Take charge of your fitness decisions. Psychologists call this autonomy, and it is one thing you must develop if you want to harness intrinsic motivation; people who feel as if they're making their own decisions report feeling higher levels of self worth.  High self worth leaves people feeling more motivated. You are empowered by your ability to take control. This creates synergy and the motivation effect can multiply.

Start by asking yourself why you want to exercise in the first place. You're more likely to be successful because the end result means something to you. Ask yourself: "What is the ultimate reason I am doing this?"

Next, find a variety of exercise you enjoy so much you'd do even if it seemed they were bad for you. If you're invested in what you're doing, your performance will improve-which will feed your desire to go back for more.

Tangible accomplishments, like completing an hour long workout twice a week, or doing five pull ups or 10 pushups (daily action) are what is needed to make meaningful goals. But at the same time refrain from stepping on a scale. Your goals should be based on feeling good-that's what will get you coming back to the gym.

Remember fitness is a feeling and a lifestyle rather than a number on the scale. Physical accomplishments give you positive feelings about yourself and increase your motivation because they're intrinsic.

Step 2: Give Yourself Props for Progress

Once we master a new skill we stick with it because we know we can do it, but this also impedes progress and breeds big time boredom. Break the monotony. This is where a trainer can help you.

The solution: Pushing yourself and mixing things up. Increase the number of reps and sets by 10 percent each week. Next, write everything down; an exercise log functions as a workout checklist and a concrete record of how for you've come and is a way to motivate yourself if you become frustrated. Tracking your results is a good tool to improving your fitness plan. This is referred to establishing competence and is the important in fueling motivation that lasts. You most focus on what you can do, rather than what you are unable to do. Never compare yourself to anyone else. Ignite a cycle of positive reinforcement that will keep you on your fitness journey.

Step 3: Make It Social

Feeling connected is a great motivator for fitness. Start by finding a "like minded" workout buddy (Burn Buddy). Get your burn buddy to go to RHF Burn30 Bootcamp with you. This creates accountability and "built in support." Make a sweat session more like happy hour and it will help you stroke your motivation. Congenial atmospheres help people stay motivated by providing a source of encouragement as well. With built in support, it's more fun than working out alone.

If you go to a gym, get to know a few trainers-even if your relationship is just limited to them giving you pointers on form. If you hate gyms, try and find a friend who is at the same fitness level or searching the message boards of local leagues or clubs the find people who have the same definition of fun as you do. If you're a lone ranger at heart, never sweat it (pardon the pun). Just focus more on taking charge of your fitness and feeling good about you progress.


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