Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What Motivates You?


As most of the readers of this blog know, I'm married to a professional athlete. Because of this, life is a little bit different sometimes, especially when it comes down to physical condition and how he treats his body. For today's post, I thought it would be interesting to chat with Nick's personal trainer, Seth Anderson, and hear what he thinks the differences in training and motivation are for regular people (like you and I) versus my husband and other professional athletes. Without further ado, I'll turn it over to Seth here!


Average Joe’s VS The Pros

The basic difference between training an average joe and training a professional athlete is more than just the amount of volume and intensity of the physical training. To really dive into it, you have to look at the mentality of the individuals. To truly understand an individual we need to look at what motivates us. Our lives are all about pain vs pleasure. We try to enhance the things that bring us pleasure and limit the things bring us pain. It is in our biology. This motivation can be divided into extrinsic and intrinsic. 

Extrinsic motivation is usually what average Joes use, while intrinsic motivation is what the pros use. When you use intrinsic motivation you are much more likely to not only have increased intensity in your workouts but also stay more consistent. Extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity in order to earn a reward or avoid a punishment. Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.

So what does this all mean? Average Joe’s usually go to the gym and hire a trainer because they have certain goals in mind. Some might want to drop some weight for health reasons, some might want to look more healthy for an upcoming trip to the beach, and others might want to feel better about themselves and their body. Whatever the reason that they come to the gym, it is great that they have found the motivation. They are willing to go through the “process” and accept the pain so that they may have the reward or pleasure of a great six pack or losing weight. 

On the other hand, professional athletes come to the gym usually for a different reason. The pro’s that I have worked with come to the gym firstly because they love the “process”. Yes, it is their job and for the most part they absolutely love what they do but they think differently than an average Joe does. It gets back to that extrinsic versus intrinsic thought process. Most people focus on the reward, (and that’s absolutely ok) but for pros, they just plain love the process and don’t look at the work to be done as “pain”. They look at is as “pleasure” and enjoy it as they work towards their goal. 

One of my jobs as an Personal Trainer is to help to motivate people. Sometimes I have to motivate people to push a little harder, to do one more rep, dig a little bit deeper, etc and this is why they hire me. I have to be the rock for them and sometimes the boot in the butt to get em going. Along with the motivation comes my expertise of training knowledge to know what exercises to do, when to do them, how much volume and intensity etc. All of these things are why people hire personal trainers. When I train pros, they are already hyper motivated. An example would be if we have a 90 min training session starting at 10 am. I can almost always guarantee that the pros will be there 15-30 minutes early, stretching and warming up so that when 10 am hits, the pro can get every minute out of the workout. They do this because they love the process and not just the results. They know that if they put the work in, then the results will follow. 

I feel that if we can start to “love the process” just like the pros do, then the results and satisfaction will be greater. Understanding what motivates us is so important, not just in the gym but in everyday life. Just imagine if we started to love the process in other parts of our life.

This article was written by 
Seth Scott Anderson
B.S. Kinesiology (University of Minnesota)
N.A.S.M- Certified Personal Trainer

Owner and founder of The Training Protocol

36 comments:

  1. Great article!! It's true. As an average jane I also come to the gym expecting that eventually I'll pick up the pace etc but that's bad, if we only change the perspective of why we are doing things we might enjoy the journey & have a bigger purpose. I really loved this article Samantha!

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    1. Thanks Ana! It was interesting for me even, because when my husband and I work out together it always feels different. Helps me to understand things as well!

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  2. This was a great article, especially for someone like me who is in need of motivation. I really need to lose weight this year and my motivation is at an all time low. I wish I could afford a personal trainer to push me and make me achieve my goals and learn to love to working out process.

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    1. Fiona, like you I am also in need of motivation. It was interesting to learn about how my husband and even myself are motivated differently- hopefully one day I can learn from him!

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  3. That was really interesting to read, especially as someone who hates working out LOL. I do workout, but it's a struggle to get to the gym.

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  4. What a great article! I got a gym membership for the first time in my life about 4 months ago but I haven't gone in weeks. It's funny because I bike everyday and do yoga but it takes a lot to get me in the gym. I like exercising but I'm just not a gym person!

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    1. Angelic, it is great that you know what you like then. I'm similar, where I don't particularly like going to the gym, so I have found other activities- like biking and running- to do instead.

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  5. Competition motivates me - either with myself or others. I used to train so hard. Personal trainers are worth their weight in gold (sorry!).

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    1. Sara, like you competition has always been good for me. I definitely think personal trainers are a huge help!

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  6. Great post! It provides interesting insight into how pro atheletes think about their workouts. I've got to learn to love the process more!

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    1. Eileen, it was interesting even for myself to examine the differences in motivation between my husband and myself.

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  7. I actually enjoy working out. It's the getting up and actually doing it part that's hard for me.

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    1. Kristi, I feel you on that! sometimes the hardest part is just the act of going to the gym, then it is easy.

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  8. Wonderful post. I'm not 100% sure that I have found that perfect motivation yet. I have little motivators, but I want that one that just smacks me in the face and says, "DO IT!".

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  9. That is a great distinction. It's your job not your chore. Love it

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    1. Margarita, that is exactly true. And most professional athletes really do love their job, so they enjoy it.

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  10. Wow!!! Such a great read!!! I go threw phases with working out....iM either a beast or straight up lazy... No in between lol

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    1. Courtney, I go back and forth like you- hard to find the motivation year round!

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  11. Training isn't for everyone, you have to honestly want it to go anywhere; most people who do it just because they think they have to end up giving up so fast. It's sad.

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    1. That's exactly right. My husband certainly loves it, while I have more trouble finding the motivation.

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  12. This is a beautifully written post. I love the overall tone and vibe of this post. I don't really exercise much but what motivates me is my family and friends.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I think Seth did a good job with it as well.

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  13. .how great post, i love working out,, individual we need this to look at what motivates us.. great idea, thanks for the tips,

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  14. This is so true, beautiful article. I as an average joe i usually go to the gym with a certain go in mind to tone up or lose some weight for a special occasion but never as a pleasure lol

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    1. Miranda, I do the exact same thing. It was interesting to learn about the differences between my husband and myself!

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  15. This is an interesting post indeed. I love that you asked your husbands trainer what the difference is because it does make sense that it is all in what motivates us. Thanks for sharing. I need to start loving the process as well.

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    1. Rebecca, it definitely makes a lot of sense once you've learned about it!

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  16. This was an excellent post and so timely for this girl! I am having so much trouble with staying motivated long enough to produce any results.

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    1. Tami, I'm with you! Motivation is one of the hardest things about working out, at least for me!

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  17. It's so strange how the mindset can also change though. I was never, by any means, a professional athlete but I used to get up in the morning and just run...like freakin' Forrest Gump...because, at any time of day, my body felt good doing it. It wasn't for any reason, there was no set goal behind it. I was just, as said in the movie, "a running fool" lol. I ran, worked out at the gym, walked everywhere and never even considered a vehicle and didn't think twice about it. Fitness wasn't a goal, obligation, chore or even a thought- it was just way of life. Fast forward a few years and the idea of running around is laughable. I'm not fat, or lethargic....but I am most definitely an "average joe" now.

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    1. Alysia, that is so awesome that you were able to do that! A lot of the times I enjoy working out or running, but there are definitely moments where the motivation is hard to come by.

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  18. This is an excellent post. Staying motivated is harder. Not that I want to make excuses, cos I know that doesn't help. Working out is my go to for my depression, stress, anxiety.

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    1. Natalie, like you said working out can be good for so many different things. For me, it is definitely a stress reliever!

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