Gyms and Fitness Clubs

How Are You Motivated?


The dictionary defines motivation as the act or process of providing an incentive to stimulate action. When you think back to my opening comments about how exercise makes you sweat and causes your muscles to be sore, how can this be an incentive to stimulate action?

For many years our society has studied motivation. It's a crucial element to becoming successful. Business owners want to know what motivates their employees. Likewise, teachers want to know how they can motivate their students to learn. In the same way, personal trainers look for ways to motivate their clients so they keep exercising.

Motivation is often broken down into two categories: external and internal motivation. External motivation is when a person is motivated for reasons like social approval, material rewards or status. For example, people may be motivated by the possibility of becoming popular, a raise in pay, a bonus, trophies or a promotion.

On the other hand, you have those who are motivated by internal reasons such as personal pride, sheer joy for what they are doing, a strong work ethic or the personal mastery involved with the experience.

Over the years I've spent working in health clubs and counseling people, I've found that many people are externally motivated usually in the form of vanity. People want to look good for their wedding or vacation. That social approval is important to them, in many cases more important than what's happening inside their bodies. By this I mean the positive physiological effects exercise can have on your health. Unfortunately, these external motivators are ones that don't often endure. They may work in the short term and fade as time goes on. This explains why many people give up on exercise so quickly.

I came across something interesting while reading through a chapter in Zig Ziglar's book Over the Top. If you don't know who Zig Ziglar is you're missing out. He is one of the greatest motivational speakers on the planet!

In a chapter on motivation he talks about how people who attend his seminars have said that listening to his motivational tapes have helped them to lose weight. Some of these people said they've lost as much as 50 pounds. Zig mentions that he "assumed they had been inspired to change their eating and exercise habits when actually the body's chemical response to motivation itself was an important factor."

Zig says that the motivational seminar or audiotape activates chemicals in the brain like endorphins, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals, when released, increase your energy and endurance.

Let's look at how you can increase your motivation for exercise while at the same time activate chemicals in the brain that will enhance other areas of your life.

Being motivated can actually help you lose weight!