Not everyone has the self motivation to adhere to an exercise program, go to the gym on a regular basis, and stay fit long-term. Those who make fitness look easy were most likely the typical gym rat in high school or they have motivation that stems from within to keep them moving. The difference between someone who can't wait to workout and someone who needs that extra push has to do with internal vs external motivation.
The gym rat is internally motivated, they naturally gravitate towards sports, fitness, and working out because it's something they truly enjoy. They don't need much accountability, if any at all, to get up and get moving. Their sustained physique is simply a byproduct of what they love to do.
On the other hand is anyone and everyone who doesn't possess this natural passion to move, run, and put their body through pain. Such individuals are externally motivated, it takes added accountability for them to sustain their fitness levels. Their motivation to exercise is reward based and driven by results rather than passion.
Whether you're internally or externally motivated towards fitness life's more enjoyable when others are involved. Studies have shown that those who work out with others have a higher success rate towards program adherence than those who work out alone. Whether you do best with a workout buddy, group settings, or a personal trainer, accountability is a necessary kick in the butt!
Being held accountable is the not so attractive path but vital road to travel in order to stay on track with fitness, health, and wellness. The question is how do you make the process of being held accountable more enjoyable and less daunting of a task? Here's 5 ways to do just that:
1) WORK OUT TOGETHER
If you have a friend or partner willing to work out with you do it. Having someone there by your side as you push yourself through the pain will motivate you beyond your typical last rep, best time, or furthest distance. Ideally it's best to find someone with a similar fitness level to avoid feelings of defeat, under-training, and over-training that leads to injury.
2) JOIN A FITNESS CLASS
This may be best for you if you're new to fitness and gym settings. It's a fun and inviting way to stay healthy with like minded individuals. There's many classes to choose from such as zumba, yoga, pilates, spin, circuit, etc. Most gyms offer a wide variety of group classes at different fitness levels to meet you where you're at.
3) SIGN UP FOR A LOCAL RACE
Registering for your first 5km walk/run or similar race is another great option to keep you moving. Even if you can't convince someone to join you most races have training clinics available for all entrants. Typically these clinics are conducted on a weekly basis where you train with other competitors at your fitness level. A quick google search for a local race and you're off running (or biking)!
4) HIRE A PERSONAL TRAINER
This may seem bias coming from a personal trainer such as myself but having someone there to show you the ropes is not only an excellent learning tool but a great form of accountability as well. If you can find a trainer who understands your goals and knows how to help you accomplish them this may be a good fit for you. Before you hire a trainer and spend your hard earned money make sure they have the necessary credentials, insurance, and personality that you can relate to.
5) TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
If you're getting back in shape or getting in shape for the first time, let others know about it. Just putting the word out there compels you to live up to your own hype. Find a couple family members, friends, or both that you trust and ask them to support you on your fitness journey by checking in on your progress from time to time.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
We're clearly not meant to live this life alone and the same applies to working out. Some may view their time in the gym as a good opportunity to spend time with self and process life, which I can relate to, but working out with a friend, partner, or group gives you an extra boost. Having others involved in what you're doing creates a level of motivation and enjoyment that isn't possible on your own.
Whether you exercise with someone else, join a fitness group, train for your first race, hire a personal trainer, or reinforce your goals with friends and family there's strength in numbers that can't be matched flying solo. Internally motivated or not, challenge yourself by doing at least one of the above.
So get fit, stay fit, and enjoy life . . . but don't do it alone!