Workout Motivation – Why Some Have It…and Some Don’t

Happy Friday my friends!! I had another killer workout this morning! Most of you who know me, know that I’m a morning person! I love getting up early, working out, having coffee and starting my day right away. I’m not the type of person that needs an hour or two to slowly mosey around and wake up. I’m the type of person that hops up and get’s to it right away. I don’t know why I’m that way, but I’m glad I am and sometimes I wish more people I know were the same way.

I get asked a lot by clients, friends and family “How do you have the motivation to get up early every day and workout at home?”. My response is usually “I just do”. I don’t know why or how…but I just do it.

So…I thought I would do a little research for you and see why some people do and some people don’t have the motivation.

Here’s what I found….

There were a few studies done on rats to determine whether or not having the motivation to exercise is inherited through our genes or if it’s more psychological…how they can determine if rats have an emotional trait similar to humans…I’m not sure…but it’s an interesting study. The scientists of this study basically say that there is some genetic element to whether or not we have the motivation to exercise. I’m not sure I entirely believe this…my mom is not an exerciser and neither is my dad (although my dad is very active…he doesn’t exercise).

Research suggests that 50% of persons starting an exercise program will drop out within the first 6 months (Wilson and Brookfield, 2009)

In an article by Len Kravitz, PhD it states that “how people view themselves, from past experiences to current reality, will soundly influence their choice for physical activity. A person’s sense of self-perception plays a major role in whether she/he will start an exercise program. So, even if for medical reasons a person has been encouraged to exercise, his/her own self-perception may impede this from happening. In fact, some people may view themselves as incompetent without ever trying to exercise. Whatley and Schrider highlight that a person’s future hopes may also motivate them to exercise. For instance, if a person wishes to be independent in older adulthood, he/she may begin an exercise program and stay physically active to reach that goal. Whaley and Schrider assert that research consistently shows that positive feedback (from exercise professionals), reinforcement (that exercise is worthy and beneficial) and social support  (from significant others) will improve a person’s self-perception to initiate an exercise program.”

This makes a little more sense to me. I personally, see myself as a very fit, healthy, and active 90 year old woman, which motivates me to live a healthy and fit life. I don’t want to be the “old person’ stigma where I need to use a walker and live in an “old folks” home. I feel like so many people see the elderly as decrepit, helpless and dumb. I’ve been reading more about the Blue Zone regions and in those regions where the majority of those people live to be 100 or close to it, they are a healthy 100. AND the people there look to the elderly as wise and knowledgeable with years of experience. That is vastly different to how people here in the US view the elderly.

Use Positive Thinking to help Motivate Yourself

I’m a huge believer in the Power of Positive Thinking. It’s a great way to motivate yourself. If you’re a runner and are trying to decide as to whether or not you should get out of bed in the morning to go for a run…imagine how good the morning sun will feel on your face as your running and how energized you will feel at the end of that run. If you’re not a runner and you need motivation to just work out at home…imagine how you will feel once you start seeing those muscles developing from all your morning strength training workouts.

Find Something to Look Forward to in the Morning

I look forward to my morning routine of drinking my favorite pre-workout drink, crushing my workout, then enjoying my morning cup(s) of coffee and my fav breakfast smoothie. It might sound silly, but when you enjoy your morning routine, it makes getting up more enjoyable. Do you have a favorite breakfast that you enjoy? Reward yourself after your morning workout with it every day.

Surround Yourself With a Support Group

Surrounding yourself with people who motivate, encourage and support you will also go a long way in helping motivate yourself to exercise. I tell all of my clients that “I am YOUR accountability partner” because I’m there to hold them accountable to their workouts. (Side Note: money sometimes is a motivational factor: if my clients cancel on me within 24 hours they still pay for that session) If you can’t afford a trainer, or the gym, and you don’t have the motivational support from friends or family…find someone who will workout with you. Go to a park or a walking path (our local hospital has a path where I see people walking all the time) and find someone to walk or run with.

Like Nike says “Just Do It” – Set your alarm a few minutes earlier each day and just start off with a 15 minute workout 3-5 times a week…then the next week do a 20 minute workout and keep adding on a little more time. Believe in yourself…visualize yourself enjoying the mornings and your workouts…and don’t give up!

Stay Healthy my Friends!

XO,

Carrie A Groff

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