What motivates you?

Motivated to exercise - Louise out running

What motivates you to move?

I was listening to a podcast the other day, Dr Rangan Chatterjee and strongman swimmer and adventurer, Ross Edgley. Ross was describing where he finds motivation in long swims (when I say long, I am talking 12 hours a day for 157 days) It was an enlightening conversation to hear. He could bravely and honestly admit that he liked the extrinsic motivation; fanfare of press and adoration but
at 60 miles away from land that’s not going to keep you motivated you have to look inside and ask yourself what makes you tick. This got me thinking about what motivates me to exercise, as a fitness instructor there’s an obvious external motivator – you gotta practice what you preach, right?

Are you intrinsically motivated or externally motivated to exercise?

Being intrinsically motivated means you move/exercise because it feels good. You look forward to the endorphins of a class, or the relaxation in your body and mind. Basically, you enjoy it and that is what keeps us coming back for more.

Or are you motivated to exercise because of some external reason such as, a challenge/event add sponsorship to that and you’ve got a double whammy! Your motivation to exercise could be you want your body to look good in a bikini or you want to share your photos/success with friends on social media?

Neither is good or bad, but I think it’s good to recognise where you are coming from and this can be different for everyone.

Personally, I have worked out that I am more inclined to be externally motivated to exercise.

I love a challenge and when I add charity or team to it, I am super motivated and will drag myself out for a run or onto the bike whatever the weather. Simply because I said I am going to do this so I can’t let myself or the others down!

With my personal Pilates practice, I know I am going to feel better as soon as I get onto the mat and feel 10 times better after I have finished my practice. That is for me, the motivation comes from within. I do it because I know I feel more connected in my mind and body, I love it!

Where does your motivation to move come from to exercise?

I have had lots of chats with clients in the last year, a great deal of people have mentioned accountability; knowing they have a time booked for their workout and they are being watched (some have admitted openly to not trying as hard because they don’t have the pressure of the other people in the class or my beady eye above them)!

I can agree with this if I do a video and I’m not 100% invested or not particularly enjoying it I can happily start playing with Luna the pup instead or begin to organise some papers right in the middle of the class! I certainly don’t work as hard.

How do you find motivation to move?

Well, that really depends on those first couple of questions, are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to exercise? Once you work that out it should get easier to trick the mind when its telling you to stay in bed and/or don’t do anything today.

If you’re with me and it is outside factors, then here’s 5 ways to kick start your movement practice.

  1. Set yourself a challenge, maybe for charity and tell EVERYONE about it! This way you get to do something good, raising money for charity and get your ego stroked too. Win win!
  2. Do your exercise with a friend and tell all your other friends all about it, (choose carefully though you don’t want to have to motivate yourself and somebody else it needs to be an equal partnership).
  3. Gamification – track yourself on your phone, an app or watch. Again, it’s about setting yourself a target and then noting every little achievement. My watch does a little firework display when I have met my 15000 steps in a day. I love it as it usually happens whilst I’m making dinner and I feel all smug and often tell my partner (or the dog).
  4. Go to a class! Book ahead, paying for it and having it in your diary means you are less likely to put it off. Once you are there the others in the room and your teacher will encourage you and you can show off your skills.
  5. Love social media? Why not post on social media, join a group and share what you’re doing and your progress! You will get lots of love, virtual high fives and the boost you may need to get you outside, on the mat or to class and keep it up.

If you are motivated by how you feel on the inside, then that’s a little harder…You need to work out what makes you tick. Think about what you enjoyed as a child, or when you were a bit younger. Did you love a bit of Swingball or Edgy? Swimming, climbing, Rounders, or simply loved to prance and roll about on the floor?

Find something that sounds like fun and give it a go.

Likewise ask yourself what you want out of this exercise, it doesn’t have to be to lose weight. Do you know that Pilates for example, is going to help you achieve something else that is important to you in your everyday life? For example, getting down and back up from the floor easily to play with a pet or small person? Getting rid of pain so you can live, work and move with freedom.

Whatever you do, remember it’s never too late to start something new. If you’re not enjoying your current exercise regime then change it up. Move your body with joy, explore your body and what
you can do with it. Remember exercise and movement is supposed to be fun not punishment.