Exercise and motivation are often correlated strongly with one another. People have the desire to seek out and engage in challenging tasks (Gill & Williams, 2008). Often, people will begin an exercise program and see immediate gains, but after a bit, gains level off and motivation may start to diminish. If subjects start to see a lack of fitness or personal gains (social, life, etc.), they see no reason to keep using valuable time to exercise. Research has shown that even if exercise programs are started by subjects, the adherence is low and attrition rate can reach as high as 50% (Richard, Frederick, Lepes, Rubio & Sheldon, 1997). Finding the internal or external motivation ques to keep exercising is important, and desirable to follow Gill and Williams (2008) found that challenging tasks are what drive people. In the case of Jack, he seems to be losing the motivation for the reason that he is getting bored with activity repetition. Motivation is essential to exercise program completion, but many lose this desire when no reward is seen as a result of hard work.
When looking at motivation, it is important to see that there are many forces acting to influence the levels of determination. Motivation requires the consideration of individual differences and situational factors (Gill & Williams, 2008). Every person has their own reason for implementing a workout program, whether it is for fitness gains, weight loss, cardiovascular health benefit, or even an increase in social life. Intrinsic motivational factors are often times the most important when it comes to engaging in motivation. People engage in physical activity for the satisfaction one gains for performing the task (Richard, 1997). Gill and Williams (2008) also agree with this statement by stating that when people feel competent and becoming more motivated with interesting and challenging tasks. Developing a sense of success and reward is needed, and will increase the desire to keep up with an activity, such as exercise.
Motivation levels will lead to increased self-determination. A person’s self perceptions of competence and autonomy are found to play large mediation roles in physical domains (Gill & Williams, 2008). It also seems as though Jack as a sense of learned helplessness affecting his motivation to exercise. If Jack no longer sees desired gains, he may lose motivation to continue working out. Helplessness has negative effect on motivation (Shamloo & Cox, 2010). It is therefore, extremely important to keep activities spontaneous and allow for the pursuit of challenging goals to keep the drive. One must be able to persist over the fact that plateaus may occur, but continuing to work towards a goal will lead to more gains and rewards. People often attribute success internally, while externally attributing failure (Gill & Williams, 2008). In order to maintain drive, it is important to find success in activity to keep the internal motivation alive.
In the case of Jack, it is not something that is surprising, many non-athletes and athletes alike experience the same problem. I have even experienced the same type of drawbacks personally. The first thing that should be done is to have Jack sit down and explain his workout plan and desired goals. Once the plan and goals are known, it will be easier to implement strategies to keep motivation levels up. Jack had inquired about group aerobic training, but Ben insisted on only weight training. The first item on my agenda would be to tell Jack to look into different forms of training. Strength and aerobic training will offer different fitness gains, which will give rewards in both areas. Cardiovascular benefits and endurance are found with aerobic fitness and increasing fat free body mass and muscle definition can be seen with strength training. Five days of resistance training will never let the body go through the workout process of progressive overload. Keeping strength training workouts at 2-3 days a week will allow the muscles to recover, and rebuild stronger. By competing in different workout regimes, Jack can see fitness gains and keep his mind fresh as well.
From personal experience, in order to keep motivation levels high, I must do different activities to prevent boredom. This seems to be the biggest factor inhibiting Jack from wanting to keep exercising. If he can attribute fitness gains by alternating days of different programs, he will once again become motivated. Depending on the season, always changing up the types of exercise will also occur. During the summer months, more time outside can be used doing swimming, hiking, running, biking to decrease time inside. Colder months can use weight training and group aerobic classes. Jack can once again regain his motivation by taking part in different activities that will provide differing goals and challenges to keep the mind motivated to succeed.
The purpose of this review was to try and keep Jacks motivational levels from dipping to exercise “halting” levels. He was starting to experience a lack of motivation, believing that he wouldn’t make any fitness gains. He should know that fitness can be gained by taking part in many differing activities. Intrinsic motivation with positive feedback led to increased perceived competence and thus increased motivation (Gill & Williams, 2008). Both internal and external factors influence motivation, and rewards in each area can influence how the attribution of success occurs. Body image can externally motivate one to maintain exercise, and feeling good after completing a hard workout will internally increase the drive to complete another session. It is important to keep the body guessing, and by only going to the gym for five days a week and participating in strength training, boredom seemed to have set in for Jack. If Jack can re-shape goals to increase his motivation levels, he will once again find exercising enjoyable.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Ryan, R. M., Frederick, C. M., Lepes, D., Rubio, N., & Sheldon, K. M. (1997). Intrinsic motivation and exercise adherence. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 28, 335-354.
Shamloo, Z. H., & Cox, W. M. (2010). The relationship between motivational structure, sense of control, intrinsic motivation and university students’ alcohol consumption. Addictive Behaviors, 35, 140-146.