We see people fail to hold themselves accountable to their new-found fitness routines every year. So many people start out the new year in January with their new fitness goals in mind, ready to kick some butt. Gyms are flooded with new members, the number of views for workout videos on YouTube start rising, and everyone’s talking about their new fitness routines. But we know the drill: after a few months have passed, the number of people still showing up starts to drop off and New Year’s resolutions are neglected. Why does this happen year after year? Why do people stop holding themselves accountable to the resolutions they originally made?
Fitness accountability is tough, whether you’re just starting to hit the gym or whether you’ve been working out regularly for a long time. The biggest factor in whether you succeed or fail in your fitness goals comes down to motivation. If you’re just starting out, trying to motivate yourself to get into a routine can be a big challenge. And if you’ve been doing the same routine for a while, it can lose its sense of challenge, causing you to lose motivation. There are some tips and tricks about building motivation, but for now let’s get a good understanding about the two main types of motivation that exist.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is an internal drive to accomplish something. It’s just “me, myself, and I,” and that’s all you need to set out and reach your goals. You are doing something for your own sake, because you want to, not because someone else is making you do it or because you want something in return. There are a variety of drivers that create intrinsic motivation, including the need for accomplishment or social status, curiosity, power, independence, and honor, among others. To put it into context, you may be intrinsically motivated to workout so you can have more power and control over your health.
Extrinsic motivation means your motivation is coming from something or someone else in order to accomplish some given task. You are working to receive a reward or to avoid a negative outcome. There are certain causes that are known to develop extrinsic motivation too, such as money, praise, threat of competition, or fear of punishment. All of these are external factors that motivate you to do (or not to do) something. An example of this in the fitness world might be working out to receive praise from other people on how great they look.
Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play a role in fitness accountability, the main driving force behind whether or not you see a change in your fitness. Neither one is better than the other because they both can help you to reach your goals.
How Coaching Impacts Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
When you think of fitness coaching, you may think of it as simply an extrinsic motivation technique. Having a coach to give praise, recognition, and feedback to your performance are all factors, other than your own internal drive, that help to hold you accountable. And, since you know that your coach is paying attention to whether or not you are keeping the promises you’ve made, your coach is again a form of extrinsic motivation.
But, having a fitness coach can also help to increase intrinsic motivation. If you start as being extrinsically motivated and are working out to receive a reward like praise, that praise can help to boost self-confidence, which in turn helps to drive that sense of internal need for accomplishment.
Fitness Accountability Without a Coach
If you are trying to create an effective workout plan without a coach, you may never see the results that you want, and here’s why:
The first step to creating a workout plan is setting goals and deciding what specific exercises you can do to achieve those goals. You can do this on your own...kind of. Sure, you can set your own goals and create a plan as to how to achieve those goals, but you don’t know if they are realistic or achievable for you. You could easily set a goal that’s too easy. If it doesn’t challenge you, it can become boring or trivial and you won’t feel motivated to continue with the plan. On the other hand, you could set a goal that’s too difficult for where you’re at now. This makes it feel impossible to achieve, which may also cause disappointment and deteriorate your motivation. Either way, setting a goal on your own can end up being discouraging, can decrease motivation, and can keep you from holding yourself accountable.
In addition, without a coach, you don’t have anyone to check your progress. As the ripple effect goes, if no one is there to check your progress, you don’t know how you’re really doing, what you’re doing well, and what you need to improve on. If you don’t have a guide for the steps you need to take next to stay on track to reaching your goal, it prevents you from seeing the results that you want to see.
Fitness Accountability With a Coach
When you have a fitness coach working with you, you can set realistic goals. Online personal trainers have experience helping a variety of clients to reach their goals, so they’ll be able to assess where you are now so you can have something attainable to reach for. Fitness coaches also know more exercise routines than you can possibly think of, so they can give you an expert opinion on what exercises will work best to help you achieve those goals.
With your coach, you have a source of continuous motivation as they give you praise for your accomplishments and feedback for the future, giving you extrinsic motivation, and building self-confidence to boost intrinsic motivation. This encouragement also keeps you consistent in your routine, giving you the push you need on those days when you just don’t feel like working out.
Sometimes in order to hold yourself accountable, you first need to have someone else hold you accountable. Knowing that you have someone there who’s checking in on your progress helps you stick to the plan you built together. Finally, fitness accountability improves when you have a coach because they help you to update your goals over time and create new workout plans to push you even further, ultimately getting the results that you want.
At Ladder, our coaches work with their clients everyday to build weekly, customized promises, working towards creating a healthier lifestyle. To help you keep those promises, Ladder coaches drive encouragement, accountability, and ultimately build a relationship that makes the health and wellness journey achievable.
Hold yourself accountable with an online personal trainer by joining Ladder.