Motivation is arguably the most important factor in exercise adherence, but the type of motivation we use for training can influence the likelihood of continuing for a long period of time. With this in mind, we’ll discuss intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Continued engagement in physical activity past the usual seasonal fluctuations in training is vital for developing sustainable long-term changes in our bodies. Short term bursts in training intensity and frequency are too often followed by periods of absence from physical activity that bring you right back to square one to start all over again. While these fluctuations can occur for several reasons, motivation is often one of the main culprits. This is often down to unsustainable training practices, lack of results or short-term goals such as losing weight for a wedding.
Extrinsic motivation is outcome related where the reason for engaging in activity is for a reward such as losing weight, trophies etc. This is the most common form in the fitness industry as body related goals are strived for by the majority. Intrinsic motivation on the other hand is task related and involves gaining enjoyment in achieving competence in an activity and taking on new challenges. This is most common in those who engage in sporting activities. While many may engage in activity for many reasons, those who are more intrinsically motivated statistically are more likely to adhere to a long-term exercise programme. This is because those with bodily related goals see exercise as a chore and a means to an end rather than something they want to do so becomes unsustainable, especially if those goals aren’t met. Whereas intrinsically motivated people have genuine enjoyment performing the activity so are more likely to continue.
While it’s easier said than done, changing your mind set from outcome to task related can be the difference between keeping it going or letting it slip. With this in mind, the challenge for most is to try enjoy the challenges that come your way in the gym, and looking to gain competence in new movements and workouts. It may be the difference between you still going in 2 months or not. At SG23 we cover a wide range of different movements and are always bringing something new to the plate which provides you ample opportunity to keep challenging yourself to gain competence in the exercises.
In summary, if you want to stay at a gym in order to reach your goals, you MUST enjoy yourself.