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Motivation. Why exercise at all? Why earn money, get good grades? In exercise psychology there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Difference. Intrinsic refers to an internal feeling that drives the athlete. Extrinsic refers to external desires. Often, intrinsic lasts longer.
More details. Let's look deeper into motivation. Maybe this can help get us off of the couch and into a professional bodybuilding career.
Extrinsic:Comes from external sources. People want to have external success, wealth, fame, recognition.
Intrinsic:Comes from internal sources. People want to experience the positive feelings that come from exercise.
Tip:Intrinsic motivation lasts longer. Usually people who have intrinsic motivation tend to exercise longer. They tend to enjoy it more.
Extrinsic. Stephen, Melanie and Jacob exercise to influence external parts of their lives. This is extrinsic motivation. They are not exercising because they like it.
Stephen:Exercises to become more athletic for the football team. By playing football, Stephen hopes to get an attractive girlfriend.
Melanie:Exercises to improve her already attractive figure. She hopes to be more attractive to men.
Jacob:Thinks he is weak and small.
He is intimidated by the bigger boys at school.
He wants not to be threatened by other boys.
Intrinsic. Here you are motivated by how exercise makes you feel. You may simply enjoy the exercise itself. With many kinds of exercise, you get an endorphin high.
Stephen:Exercises regularly because he knows it makes his life better. It gives him a more cheery disposition.Why I Started Lifting Weights
Melanie:Exercises because she really enjoys running. She loves the thrill of the runner's high she sometimes experiences.
Jacob:Exercises because he loves the feeling of lifting weights and the pump he experiences. Lifting weights balances his life.Lift Weights
Research. The topics of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation have been extensively researched. One study describes how intrinsic motivation improves our attitudes towards life.
Specifically, the direct effects of intrinsic motivation on physical self-concept, and of physical self-concept on satisfaction with life were significant....Relationships between intrinsic motivation
Enjoyment. Having fun and enjoying exercise was found to give people more psychological well-being. How important is enjoying exercise?
Tip:This study indicates it is extremely important. It is one thing that can improve your entire attitude about life.
In conclusion, people who perform physical exercise regularly, and who have fun over time will tend to have a better physical self-perception and, consequently, more psychological well-being. Relationships between intrinsic motivation
Question. Is extrinsic motivation better or worse? This may depend on your situation in life. For many top athletes, motivation is a mix of the two.
And:They become famous and wealthy, but also enjoy exercise. But the money is a big motivation. We all need money.
Tip:For regular people, intrinsic motivation is more rewarding. Most of us won't ever become rich or famous from our exercise routines.
So:To continue with exercise, it is best to find motivation from within: intrinsic motivation.Sports, Exercise
Mind. Exercise causes physical changes in your brain. It increases levels of certain feel-good hormones. And it forces you to impose discipline.
Tip:In physical training, you work hard and it does not become much easier over time.
And:This challenge enhances the psychological benefit of the activity. It provides a sense of accomplishment.
Time. Unfortunately, exercising may cause you to spend less time doing other important tasks. These sacrifices are necessary. They may enhance the mental benefits of training.
Do it first. Making exercise your top priority does not mean it is the most important thing you do. It means you should do it before you do anything else.
So:Don't stop the physical training in your life. Focus on the effects of the training upon your mind. This may keep you motivated.
Health. People sometimes ask me how I stay motivated. I thought it would be a good idea to share my motivation. I think others could adapt my ideas to their own lives.
Looking good. Fit people are better looking than less-fit people. Their bodies are firm and they seem to glow. Their clothes fit better and they attract attention and stares.People Stare at Me
Opinion:I believe many in the world are just not shallow enough to focus hours a day on their appearance.
And:For many, working out to look hot is just not going to work. I don't care that much about my appearance in the long run.
Being healthy. Let's remember that working out is critical to being healthy too. Over my life I have had a selection of medical problems. I may have had more problems than average.
Improving my health, so I can feel well throughout the day, keeps me coming back to my workouts.
I come back month
and after month,
year after year. My workouts help my medical problems.
Tip:The effects of exercise on my health make me a believer in daily exercise. But it is fun to get attention in public for your physique.Exercise at 4AM
Positive attitude is everything. Occasionally when I go to my gym, I notice someone who doesn't want to be there. You can tell by how they act—even what exercises they do.
Note:I am the same way as everyone else.
I tend to get depressed and feel discouraged.
But:Exercise and going to the gym has positive effects, even while having some negative effects like muscle soreness and membership fees.
Tip:You can learn to keep the positive effects, endorphins and good feelings, foremost in your mind when you think of the gym.
Appearances are important. But often there are few ways to change our appearances. Someone like me is never going to be extremely beautiful. I look more average than that.
But:You can learn that exercise is about so much more than just your appearance.
Thus:If you emphasize non-appearance aspects of your workouts, you possibly can feel more positive about them.
Positive. Let's suppose you don't look like an average fitness model. Every time you visit the gym, you can think about how unattractive you are.
Or:You can focus on the positive effects of the exercise routine. Not focusing on your appearance will make you happier.
And:This will allow you to enjoy your exercise even if you don't look perfect.
Tip:If you do look like a fitness model, you will probably be happier focusing on the positive effects as well.
Laugh. Here's a tip. Laugh about your experiences at the gym and talk to people about the gym. Tell people about the experiences you have there. People tend to support you.
Appearance. Exercise for the reasons you find most important. Often we are concerned about our appearances. Be mindful of your appearance, but don't focus extensively on it.
Attractive. It is desirable to look attractive. It is fun. But basing too much of your workout routine on physical attractiveness leads to disappointment.
Because:It is an unrealistic expectation. You cannot match the physiques in the magazines in every way.
However:A better goal to focus on is your health and happiness. Exercise improves your physical health—and your mental health.
So:You will have no magazine models to compare yourself to on this metric. This is an intrinsic goal.
Goals. The less superficial your goals regarding your workouts are, the more likely you will succeed in the long term. Human beings can seek happiness their whole lives.
But:We cannot look beautiful every moment for the rest of our lives. Seeking happiness is a long-term effective motivation.Muscle Man
Mirrors. When I go to my gym, I notice that the walls are covered with mirrors. Some lifters might want to check their form while exercising with free weights.
Also:The mirrors are around the treadmills and other cardiovascular machines. This is annoying.
Tip:Exercising is not only about your appearance, what you look like. Other factors like health are more important.
Appearances versus health. Your health is more important than your appearance. But your appearance may improve as your health improves. The two are connected.
A review. Motivation is an important aspect of physical fitness. It is easier for people to motivate themselves if they feel the benefits are to their health.
Note:Exercising so you can exploit your appearance for personal gain might not be.
However:Using your appearance for personal gain is not necessarily bad. But many realize this is not meaningful in the long term.
Internal. Why do gyms have so many mirrors? The gym is not so much about our external selves, but our internal selves. The most important benefits are in our internal organs.
And:They occur in our hearts and our lungs and our muscles we cannot fully see. Physical fitness is inside of you, not outside of you.
So:Exercising is not so much about your appearance but rather your health and thoughts.
Respect. Motivation is sometimes related to respect. Most of us want respect. But few of us get it. Can being physically fit cause people to respect you more?
Feedback. Before I started working out, I did not get as much feedback about my appearance. After I became more fit, I recognized people seemed to expect greater things from me.
So:Becoming more fit made people respect me more. It does make people think I am more motivated and likely to succeed.
Prison. Inmates like to lift weights. But they have as many problems with motivation as everyone else. I did some research into prison and weight lifting.Prison, Lifting Weights
Tip:Please do not commit any crimes or do anything that people think should land you in prison.
Brothers. I have noticed in some families that the younger brother is more interested in building muscle and fitness. Is there any reason behind this? Is the younger brother more motivated?
Note:The younger brother in some families may be more accustomed to being smaller, or even picked on. But this is not always true.Younger Brother Stronger?
Muscle dysmorphia. Some forms of motivation are negative. Anorexia nervosa, and its muscle-size counterpart "muscle dysmorphia" are examples.Muscle Dysmorphia
Muscle addiction. Sometimes we can become addicted to lifting weights. Power lifting is even more addictive than running. People manage to turn everything into something bad.Workout Addiction
Story. I asked a friend about her experiences with physical fitness, with respect. I became acquainted with Melanie in the gym where we work out. This is what she said.
I think so. My girl friends look up to me more now that I lost weight. They often try to be like me, and they didn't before I started working out. I think people respect me more in public, both women and men.
People respect most that which they admire. No one will argue with me when I say that people admire those who are physically fit. It is an ideal to which many aspire.
Thus:These experiences support the idea that an increased level of fitness can lead to more respect.
Benefits. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivations both have their benefits. A combination of the two usually exists. Motivation that is heavy on intrinsic factors may last longer.