Exercise During Pregnancy and Parenting: Motivations

Earlier this week, I did a poll on “Hurdles to maintaining a consistent exercise routine”. The majority of the respondents voted that the biggest hurdle to maintaining an exercise program was “lack of motivation”. So, I am going to address this once again.

There are two kinds of motivations that are important to consider when we are starting or continuing an exercise program- intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the internal drive that causes us to stick with a program: emotional feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction while exercising. Extrinsic motivations are the external factors that drive us to exercise: looking fit, living longer, impressing others around us.

Often, my gym clients come to me with a long list of extrinsic motivations (I want to be thin for a wedding or vacation, I want to turn heads, I want to have energy to chase after my grandkids, etc). While there is nothing wrong with extrinsic motivations, I have found that these external motivators (while strong) do not have a lasting effect and/or create a healthy lifestyle. Intrinsic motivations are a requirement to a lasting and effective exercise program. It gives me so much satisfaction to see my clients graduate out of my program and continue exercising consistently for years to come. I recently trained someone who lost approximately 100 lbs, and I continue to see him in the gym almost daily. He has a great combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, and will be successful for the rest of his life.

So, if you were one of the ladies who answered my poll question and said that it is hard for you to get motivated – that’s OK! All is not lost. Maybe you are simply focusing on the wrong motivations when you start a workout program. If you have only been considering your external reasons to get fit, these are not lasting. Sit down and consider some more “Whys” of exercise. Come up with a great combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, write them down, tell a friend, post them on my blog, and try to get started again in your workouts. Read my post about goals and motivations if you need some examples 🙂 This time will be different for you. Find the inner satisfaction that being healthy and fit brings. Best wishes!

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