Posted by: Admin | August 27, 2010

The Motivator

Alan Carson

I’m delighted to introduce a Guest Contributor today. Personal Trainer, Alan Carson, is an age-positive young man with a plan – to motivate us all to get fit so that we can live the lives we want to.  Alan has just started up in business in Northamptonshire and can be contacted on alan@reshaperesults.co.uk

We all know that feeling, it’s 8 am and you were going to get up at 7:30am and go for a half hour jog. But you didn’t and now you have to get ready and go to work, maybe even skipping breakfast (the most important meal of the day).

Apart from breakfast, what was missing? You guessed, it’s the M word. Motivation is the activation of goal-orientated behaviour. I describe it as an invisible energy that helps us do stuff. If there had been enough of this invisible energy when your alarm went off at 7:30am, you’d have put your trainers on (maybe some clothes too) and gone for a run.

Part of my job as a Personal Trainer is to help people get and stay motivated. In the case of a healthy lifestyle, American Physical Therapist Jim Johnson states there are two important components of motivation:

1. Importance, e.g. knowing that eating less saturated fat is good for your health.
2. Confidence, e.g. knowing what foods to eat and how to prepare them.

But even both components can be present and there still be a lack of motivation. I think most people know that eating less saturated fat lowers risk of heart disease. But that’s just not important enough for some people…

Let me put it a different way, by eating less saturated fat you’re less likely to die young and have your grandchildren growing up without a loving Grandparent. Ouch, what you just felt there is emotion. Emotion is the key in making something important. Your goal might be to lose 6lbs. Motivated? Not yet. How about to look good in that new dress at the Christmas party? (Ladies only please). Not to be ashamed to take your shirt off in summer? (guys only please).

One of the best examples of someone suddenly increasing their levels of motivation came recently when a client of mine announced that he was getting married. The thought of being 4 stone overweight in his wedding photos pushed him to take action. I had my client visualise being his ideal weight, looking vibrant and healthy on his big day. This became a powerful formula of pushing away from what he didn’t want whilst simultaneously pulling himself towards what he did want. This is a classic example of extrinsic motivation (motivation coming from outside of ones self e.g. an event). In my clients case he actually started to enjoy the exercise and healthy eating in its self, and this is called intrinsic motivation. Research shows that individuals that are intrinsically motivated to do exercise i.e. they enjoy the exercise in its self, are more successful in the long term when it comes to the amount of exercise they do. Or to simplify that, people that enjoy exercise to do more of it.

To sum up I will give you 3 steps for getting and staying motivated to improve your health.

1. Choose a reason that is important to you. The reason must be as emotionally charged as possible e.g. you want more energy to play with your Grandchildren.

2. If you don’t already know how to exercise, educate yourself on the many ways you can exercise, even half an hour of gardening can count. It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle and the sooner you start the better.

3. Enjoy it! Whatever exercise you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it. Because if you do then there is more chance that you will continue with it. What about golf, dancing, walking in the countryside, cycling, rowing a boat, yoga, tai chi? The possibilities are endless and can whirl in your mind, like a kaleidoscope of visions.

I’d like to thank Alan for taking the time to write this article for us and wish him all the best in his new venture.

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Responses

  1. He’s pretty and he’s right.


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