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Strong

Motivation. I pull off my shirt and check out my body in the mirror. I flex my chest muscles. That guy is strong. Motivation got him here.


With years of workouts, my body changed. But why did I lift so many times? I could have sat on the couch and snacked on donuts. I like donuts.

Tip: Donuts with sprinkles are the best. Also I like glazed ones more than just sugar-coated donuts.

Motivation: But back to motivation. I kept working out because I enjoyed it. Not because I wanted people to admire my body.


In exercise psychology, there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic refers to an internal feeling. It usually lasts longer.


More details. Here we 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. This lasts longer.


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.

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.


Research. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation have been 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?

Answer: This study indicates it is 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


A comparison. 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.


Mind. Exercise causes physical changes in your brain (nothing harmful or bad). It increases levels of certain feel-good hormones.

Hard: In physical training, you work hard and this does not become much easier over time.

And: This challenge enhances the mental benefit of the activity. It provides a sense of accomplishment.


Time. Exercising may cause you to spend less time doing other important tasks. These sacrifices are necessary. They may enhance the mental benefits of training.


Tip: 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.


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.

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.

Tip: Improving my health, so I can feel well throughout the day, keeps me coming back to my workouts.

Tip 2: The effects of exercise on health is key. But it is fun to get attention in public for your physique.


Positive attitude is everything. Occasionally when I go to my gym, I notice someone who doesn't want to be there. I can tell by how the person acts.

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.


Be positive. The gym is not just misery and pain. Suppose you do not look like a fitness model. You can think about how unattractive you are every time you visit the gym.

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.


Tip: laugh. Try to laugh about your experiences at the gym. Talk to people about it. Tell them about the experiences you have there. Sometimes they will 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 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.


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. 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.


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?


Tip: respect. Before I started working out, I did not get as much feedback about my appearance. After a while I found people seemed to expect greater things.

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

Brothers. In some families the younger brother is more interested in building muscle. The younger brother may be more accustomed to being smaller, or even picked on.

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

People stare. If you work out, people will pay you more attention. This can be confusing at first. But it is probably a good thing if you find people staring.

People Stare at Me

Everyone should lift. I think everyone should lift weights. And for older people, or people with medical problems, lifting is more important.

Lift Weights

Popular exercises. I tried to determine which exercises are most popular. Running and football are far more popular than bodybuilding.

Sports, Exercise

A 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.

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. Melanie, my friend


A personal message. Motivation is important in every aspect of life—not just having a buff body. It helps you succeed and even help others. I hope you become and stay motivated.


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.