Motivation is the hardest part of starting and maintaining an exercise routine. It’s exciting to plan what classes you’re going to do or where you’ll go for a walk/run but when the alarm goes off early or you’ve had a tiring day, the motivation to get moving sometimes leaves you completely. Motivation is what drives us to achieve our goals and it can be extrinsic or intrinsic.
This often gets us started with exercise. It’s a motivation that comes from the desire to earn a reward or avoid a punishment, for instance, ‘I’ll fit in my bikini if I exercise’ or ‘I’ll get fat if I don’t exercise’. In our mind, we expect to get something in return or avoid something unpleasant if we exercise.
This motivation comes from within, you exercise because you find it rewarding rather than because it gives you an external reward. Feeling good when you exercise and enjoying exercise as a stress-buster are great examples of intrinsic motivation.
Both types of motivation are important for keeping us going on our exercise routine. Extrinsic motivation can get us started and spur us on whilst intrinsic motivation keeps us going back for more. External motivators can be short-lived – what if you don’t look as good in your bikini as you’d expected? (You look amazing, by the way!) so it’s important to find the internal motivators to enjoy what you do for its own sake.
There are lots of barriers to exercising but the only way to get really motivated is to just get on and do it. Levels of motivation can vary day by day, depending on the weather, how much sleep you got, how your boss spoke to you at work, etc. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find your motivation and set yourself a reward for after your workout – a coffee with a friend or the new episode of your favourite box set (preferably not a big bar of chocolate!).
You can encourage your motivation by creating the right environment to support your exercise habit and remove those barriers.
1. Find something you love – whether it’s dance, swimming or paddleboarding, you will benefit so much more if you’re doing an exercise you fall in love with.
2. Make exercise easy – get everything ready for your workout ahead of time. Put your exercise gear on first thing or lay it out the night before.
3. Exercise with a friend – either find someone who enjoys the same class as you or ask a friend to be your accountability buddy, someone to report back on your exercise success.
4. Vary your exercise – don’t get stuck in a rut, try different types of exercise to find what you love best and also to give different parts of your body a workout. So now we know! Extrinsic motivation can help to get us started with our exercise plans or to get a workout done. To keep up with our routine and love the exercise we do, we need to tap into our intrinsic motivation so that the benefits are almost a side effect of our enjoyment.
To find your best motivation, come and join a Gemma Pearce Fitness class, either online or face-to-face! There’s plenty of fun and enjoyment to motivate you! Find out more at www.gemmapearcefitness.co.uk