5 Bad Reasons to Get Fit That Most People Think Are Good (And What to Do Instead)


Motivation is what strikes us to behave.

With out motivation, we fail to start out necessary tasks, hand over on issues prematurely, or procrastinate on issues we must always have the ability to simply end.

An absence of motivation, we’re informed, is the explanation we durdle away a whole lot of hours annually scrolling by way of Instagram as an alternative of reading, sitting on the sofa watching Netflix as an alternative of working out, and absentmindedly inhaling junk meals as an alternative of preparing healthy meals.

Take train, for instance. 

Everyone knows being bodily lively is sweet for us, but a surprisingly massive proportion of individuals lack the motivation to finish this easy every day job.

Lower than 47% of U.S. adults are repeatedly active and Europeans are solely marginally higher with 54% of individuals exercising repeatedly. Issues aren’t significantly better in Canada, the place solely 16% of adults meet the nation’s suggestions for every day exercise.

Though issues like bad habit formation, lack of correct planning, and so forth are additionally guilty, there’s no getting round the truth that most individuals merely aren’t in a position or prepared to encourage themselves to work out repeatedly.

Not all motivation is similar, although.

Many individuals encourage themselves by trying into the longer term and considering of the entire great bells and whistles they’ll have the ability to get pleasure from if they’ll summon sufficient grit to intestine out train within the short-term.

Analysis exhibits, although, the perennial exercisers amongst us encourage themselves utilizing a really totally different technique.

The Proper Type of Motivation for Getting in Form

There are two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. 

Intrinsic motivation entails doing one thing as a result of it’s deeply satisfying. 

When intrinsically motivated we carry out actions as a result of we wish to carry out them—as a result of we love doing them—no matter what different individuals suppose or what different advantages they may yield. 

When extrinsically motivated we carry out actions solely due to the advantages they yield sooner or later—attaining a aim, incomes one thing invaluable, or avoiding a penalty of some kind. 

Once we’re extrinsically motivated, we don’t do issues as a result of they offer us pleasure, however as an alternative as a result of they may give us one thing else we would like additional down the road.

After all, there’s loads of overlap between these two sorts of motivation.

Some individuals genuinely get pleasure from train, whereas additionally getting satisfaction from the actual fact their exercises will assist them live longer, stay healthier, and become stronger.

In lots of instances, individuals first get motivated to start out figuring out as a result of extrinsic causes, like: 

  • Desirous to be extra enticing to potential companions
  • Desirous to really feel extra snug in your individual physique
  • Wanting to slot in a sure piece of clothes
  • Desirous to look higher in household photos
  • Wanting to cut back cholesterol, blood strain, or one other well being marker
  • Wanting to finish some type of athletic occasion

These are all reliable causes to start out figuring out, they usually can provide the momentum you have to push by way of your first few months and even years of figuring out. 

The issue, although, is this type of motivation quickly loses its luster. 

That is notably true if you happen to hit a plateau, get injured, or accomplish your goal. When the aim turns into tougher to achieve otherwise you attain it, the sport turns into much less enjoyable, and what acquired you into figuring out isn’t sufficient to maintain you. 

What got you here won’t get you there

So, what creates the glue that makes you keep on with your new exercise plan? 

Intrinsic motivation

A wealth of research shows weight loss program and train packages are significantly better adhered to when persons are pushed by intrinsic targets—the sensation of accomplishment from eating healthy, the satisfaction of getting up early to do one thing necessary to you, the sense of function you’re feeling when doing a heavy set of bench press.

It’s most likely not information to you that most individuals have develop into progressively increasingly driven by extrinsic motivations than intrinsic ones.


Who is aware of, but when I have been a betting man, I’d put my cash on the numerous quick-fix guarantees marketed in every single place you look, the by no means ending stream of fake perfection plastered on social media, and the final decline in private duty introduced on by fashionable consumerist tradition.

Anyway, let’s check out some widespread extrinsic motivations that get individuals within the health club, and how one can barely change them that will help you keep within the health club. 

The right way to Get Motivated the Proper Method 

Individuals typically have clear causes for eager to get in form. 

They is likely to be so simple as eager to drop extra pounds or feel and appear higher.

Whether or not we are saying them out loud or not, although, many individuals get taken with health for much less socially acceptable causes, like impressing or feeling higher than others, getting likes on Instagram, and so forth.

Learn on to see how every of those totally different motivations impacts your long-term success, and the way yow will discover higher types of motivation.

Motivation 1: “I Need to Lose Weight”

Desirous to drop extra pounds is maybe the commonest motivation for going to the health club, and at first look, it looks like an affordable cause to start out.

In any case, what’s the issue with eager to lose a number of further kilos when so many of us are carrying round extra weight than we must always?

Being motivated by weight—a quantity on a scale—as the one measure of your success, is an effective strategy to get motivated to work out, however a poor strategy to keep motivated.

Not solely does it utterly low cost the significance of body composition, it makes you see weight loss program and train as a way to an finish. 

Your feeling of self-worth might be made or damaged by the consequence you see on the size. Drop weight by the smallest of margins and you may go about your day guilt free. Lose nothing, or—God forbid—acquire weight, and your day turns into full of self-loathing.

What’s extra, while you chase a aim weight, you typically place an excessive amount of emphasis on the imagined, life-changing results of what reaching that weight will likely be. When these expectations should not met or take too lengthy to materialize, your motivation will inevitably dip, or extra doubtless, utterly disappear. 

Even when many individuals attain their aim weight, they rapidly lose motivation to take care of their weight as a result of they’ve already gained the sport, and don’t see a cause to maintain taking part in.

Though most individuals say they wish to drop extra pounds, what they really imply is that they wish to lose fats—I don’t know anybody who works out to expend all that fairly muscle they’ve hung out building.

For those who’re new to correct weightlifting, it’s extremely doubtless that you simply’ll construct muscle and lose fats on the identical time. That is known as body recomposition, and may make measuring success by specializing in scale weight a irritating enterprise.

Take for instance a 200-pound male with 20% body fat, and subsequent to no muscle. If after 6 months of correct coaching, he’s decreased his physique fats to 15% however added plenty of muscle, his physique weight is likely to be precisely the identical as when he began, however his physique composition might be utterly totally different. 

If this have been you, and also you have been solely involved with the quantity on the size, you is likely to be tempted to surrender. 

In any case, it could seem your weight loss program wasn’t working. After all, a fast look within the mirror would verify that you simply had in reality made enormous progress.

Once you realise that physique composition—or the connection between the quantity of fats and the quantity of muscle you could have in your physique—renders the quantity on the size largely irrelevant, you can also make extra knowledgeable, efficient, productive targets for what to do together with your physique.

Though physique composition is necessary, it’s nonetheless a largely extrinsic aim. 

Whereas it’s good to trace your physique composition, you must also give attention to how your physique feels while you step into the health club and also you’re carrying rather less fats and slightly extra muscle than you have been beforehand.

Obtained extra vitality throughout your exercises? 

Are your reps and weights going up? 

Having fun with the problem of lifting heavy metallic?

These are the issues you must have a good time, as a result of they’re the intrinsically rewarding points of exercising. Who cares whether or not the quantity on the size is decrease, larger, or unmoved since final week—how you’re feeling when you use your physique is what actually counts.

Now let’s take into consideration the way it feels while you method a barbell to try a PR: the joy of pushing your self, the psychological geeing-up, the main focus, the depth, and the anticipation. 

Relishing the problem of figuring out is among the greatest methods to be sure to proceed your health journey which, assuming you ditch the noxious attachment to the size, will doubtless be an extended and profitable one.

Abstract: Don’t use body weight as a measure of success. As a substitute, observe your physique composition to measure your progress—and much more importantly—study to understand how significantly better your physique feels throughout your exercises as you get fitter.

Motivation 2: “I Need to Be Extra Enticing”

A standard fashionable affliction is taking, sharing and viewing an inordinately excessive variety of photos.

Particularly (pretend or doctored) photos of fairly individuals.

Not solely does this make us obsessed with how we glance, nevertheless it encourages us to obsess over how different individuals look, typically with horrible psychological consequences

Digesting the every day deluge of manufactured perfection we discover on-line has us hating ourselves, and wishing desperately to be extra like the gorgeous, profitable, and comfortable individuals we see on social media.

Spurred on by emotions of not being adequate, many individuals hit the health club with the aim of merely making themselves extra enticing. They consider if they’ll get a physique extra much like those they see on social media, they’ll be happier with themselves. Now not will they be the particular person gawping at lovely individuals on-line, however as an alternative they’ll be the particular person driving others loopy with their fairly photos. 

Many of those individuals consider having a greater physique will change the whole lot. Now not will they agonize by their dead-end jobs, laid low with their unrealised ambitions, or pissed off by their unfulfilling relationships—they may have ripped abs, bulging biceps, and a bangin’ booty, the fitness-influencer equal of being welcomed into Valhalla to take their place among the many gods. 

Desirous to look higher shouldn’t be one thing that’ll ever present intrinsic satisfaction—for it to be in any respect rewarding, different individuals should validate the efforts you’re making by way of reward or admiration.

Searching for approval on this approach has been proven to extend psychological misery and any variety of neuroses together with anxiousness, fear, concern, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depressed temper, and loneliness. 

Once you give attention to trying good, you miss out on what it means to really feel good. Luckily, you’ll have loads of alternatives to discover what feeling good is like each time you step foot within the weights room. 

Your time within the health club is a time to face your anxieties, fears and preconceived notions of who you might be, and confront them head-on. 

Standing in entrance of a loaded barbell has a approach of testing your willpower like nothing else. To elevate it’s to beat no matter self-doubt you beforehand had.

It presents struggles you need to overcome, ache you need to push by way of, and assessments of your structure you need to endure. 

The extra you present up and check your self, the extra you push the boundaries of what you thought attainable, the much less you’ll take into consideration what others suppose, and the extra you’ll study to like the method. 

This give attention to the method additionally, you will unencumber an unlimited quantity of psychological vitality that you simply beforehand used worrying about exterior components. 

When you banish the anxieties, the self-doubt, the preoccupation with outcomes, and the obsession with different individuals’s opinions, you’ll have much more psychological vitality to provide to the issues in life you get pleasure from, like spending time with household, pals, or having fun with your hobbies.

Abstract: Cease caring a lot about the way you look—being extra enticing won’t ever fulfill you intrinsically. Relish the possibility to check your self within the health club, and benefit from the psychological freedom not worrying provides you—when you study to benefit from the course of, outcomes gained’t be far behind.

Motivation 3: “I Need to Be Higher Than Different Individuals”

We’re exceptionally good at telling ourselves tales.

Whether or not recounting the story of successful at work, or an argument with our accomplice, we’re deftly in a position to alter particulars and selectively keep in mind specifics so the whole lot suits with our most popular narrative. 

When requested about our motivations to train, we’re fast to supply very balanced, largely intrinsic causes: we would say we get pleasure from it, it’s meditative, it retains us grounded, and so forth. 

After all, these causes additionally match superbly with the narrative we inform ourselves about being rational—it could be unlikely that folks would divulge their honest motivations if the motivations in query made them appear to be egotistical maniacs that wish to be higher than everybody else. 

We’ve got an innate drive to judge ourselves based mostly on how we evaluate to others. Typically the individuals we evaluate ourselves to are these closest to us.

People select pals who’re much like them in quite a lot of methods, together with age, intelligence, bodily attractiveness, and social class. If our pals have been noticeably higher than us on any of those standards, we would lose the attentions of different individuals to them. If our pals have been markedly decrease than us on any of those standards, they may socially repel others.

The issue with all of that is that when considered one of our pals begins to tug forward of us, we begin to see them as a rival. We’d not speak about it, however secretly we harbor emotions of resentment in the direction of our extra clever, profitable, or on this case, extra bodily enticing pals.

How will we cope with this?

We do our damnedest to shut the attractiveness hole and reestablish parity, in fact.

Competing with different individuals, particularly these closest to you, gained’t fulfill you intrinsically. In actual fact, it’s extremely prone to make you very unhappy.

What would serve you nicely nonetheless, is a few wholesome competition with your self.

Utilizing a precept so simple as progressive overload will encourage you to set private information within the health club, and work in the direction of regularly breaking them. It additionally provides you a improbable alternative to create optimal experiences.

Optimum experiences, as outlined within the scientific literature, are events the place we really feel a way of exhilaration or a deep sense of enjoyment. 

These moments are sometimes not passive or enjoyable. They have an inclination to happen when your physique or thoughts is stretched to its limits in a deliberate effort to do one thing that’s troublesome or significant. For instance, this is likely to be the second of doubt that washes over you as you attain the underside of the squat.

Re-racking that barbell having accomplished the rep will appear to be some of the rewarding and ecstatic moments of your life. That’s, in fact, till you end up again there once more subsequent week, when the daunting and superb course of will begin over.

For those who can’t be sincere out loud—and let’s face it, it’s most likely greatest you aren’t—be sincere with your self about your motivation. Don’t disguise behind the lie of loving train while you truly solely do it to maintain up with the Joneses. 

Discovering pleasure in competing with your self may have you going again to the health club time and time once more, and hitting your exercises with focus and willpower. When you notice this, your claims of loving the health club will extra doubtless be honest, as an alternative of thinly veiled untruths that cowl up your precise, extra aggressive motivations.

Abstract: Cease making an attempt to be higher than different individuals. The one particular person you have to be higher than is previous you.

Motivation 4: “I Need Consideration from Others for Being in Nice Form”

Again in March 2014, information web sites the place awash with tales of a brand new psychological dysfunction that was affecting your complete world. 

What was the identify of this horrible affliction?


Selfitis was a situation characterized by “the obsessive compulsive want to take photographs of 1’s self and publish them on social media as a strategy to make up for a scarcity of shallowness and to fill a niche in intimacy.”

Selfitis was in fact a hoax, however what made it so plausible was the prevalence of the behaviours it poked enjoyable at. 

Narcissism is on the rise, which according to the scientific literature is a part of the explanation individuals take so many selfies.

This additionally implies that consideration looking for—one of many key elements of narcissistic behaviour—is extra widespread now than ever.

People crave consideration—it’s a part of being a social species. A variety of the time, it doesn’t matter how a lot consideration we get, simply so long as it isn’t none.

We search small-scale fame and social distinction of this type as a result of we would like social acceptance and exterior validation.

There’s no getting away from it—being in nice form turns heads and will get individuals speaking about you. Spend any time in a social setting, and compliments and questions will come your approach. 

Individuals wish to know the way you eat, practice, and keep so disciplined. They ask you for hints, suggestions, recipes, and if you happen to’re free subsequent week to provide them some coaching. 

It feels good to be the centre of everybody’s consideration, however is it cause sufficient to get match?

In all probability not.

Aiming at social acceptance or standing by spending hours within the health club so that you simply get consideration for being in nice form is unlikely to fulfill you intrinsically. 

Don’t get match since you wish to impress others. Once you give attention to being accepted by others, you miss what it’s wish to be happy with, and thus settle for, your self.

Top-of-the-line issues about ends in the health club is they’ll’t be purchased or gifted to you. They will solely be achieved by way of laborious work, self-discipline, and perseverance. Subsequent time you end a troublesome set, savour the sensation of accomplishment—you possibly can take nice delight within the hardships you overcome within the health club, they usually’ll develop into so addictive you’ll wish to maintain going again again and again.

Abstract: Don’t get in form to get consideration, admiration, or approval from others. Do it to construct your self-worth and delight for what you’ve achieved—that’s all you want.

Motivation 5: “I Need to Escape My Issues by Obsessing Over My Physique”

Obtained a ball-breaker of a boss?

Have an argument together with your partner?

Are monetary troubles supplying you with sleepless nights?

Simply go for a long term or a grueling health club sesh, health and self enchancment magazines say.

After all, there’s a kernel of reality to this declare—train has a profound impact on our psychological well-being. 

Analysis exhibits that being bodily lively improves our happiness, mental health, self-efficacy, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and mood

Consequently, it additionally will increase our confidence, may help us deal with life’s issues, and even reduces our stress levels.

Like something, although, you possibly can take this concept too far.

As a substitute of utilizing train to assist clean the inevitable ups and downs of life, many individuals use it as a strategy to escape from their issues. 

“Nevermind the truth that my life’s a multitude—not less than I’ve acquired abs,” they inform themselves.  

Train is arguably a extra productive distraction than conspicuous consumption, video video games, or Netflix binges, however some individuals nonetheless use it to dodge duty.

While few would argue that taking slightly time away from the pressures of actual life each every now and then is an effective factor, is escaping your issues by partaking in a interest all the time the most effective answer?

Research suggests all of it depends upon why you wish to escape.

For instance, if you happen to immerse your self in common train since you view it as a possibility for self-development, and you may clearly see the way it will positively have an effect on your life, you then’re in luck—you gained’t simply expertise constructive psychological results throughout your exercises, however post-workout, too. 

However, if you happen to have interaction in common train to direct your consideration away from issues which are weighing heavy in your thoughts, then not solely are you blocking the sources of tension out of your consciousness, you’re additionally hindering any constructive psychological results train would usually grant you.  

Whilst you can’t bicep curl away life’s issues, this isn’t a cause to surrender on train—as an alternative, you merely must ask your self why you wish to work out.

If it’s to keep away from the torment of being alone together with your ideas, or to fill within the time you ought to be utilizing to work by way of your issues, train isn’t going to assist.

If nonetheless, you employ it as a time to construct the kind of resilience and fortitude that can higher equip you to deal with life’s issues, you’re prone to get much more out of it.

The health club isn’t merely a spot to train, however a possibility to take the trail of most resistance. It’s, as David Goggins may say, a spot to callus your thoughts in the identical approach you may callus your fingers. It’s a place to check our mettle, toughen up, and follow resilience within the face of hardship.

Train can be fantastically cathartic—time spent pushing your self within the health club is the right alternative to eliminate any angst or ailing will you could be harboring, and work by way of the problems you’re making an attempt to resolve with a transparent thoughts. Typically, the best ideas, and options will come to you while you’re knee deep in a tricky exercise.

If throughout you is in chaos, having a routine—like a every day exercise—generally is a good factor, too. Whereas the whole lot else is likely to be up within the air, you all the time know the place you stand with a tough health club session. 

Abstract: Don’t exercise to cover out of your issues. Use your time within the health club to hone psychological energy in addition to bodily, and exploit train’s means to make you suppose extra clearly—it can provide help to face your issues and resolve them. 

The Backside Line on the Greatest Approach to Get Motivated 

Whereas eager to drop extra pounds, really feel sexier, or get extra consideration from potential companions is likely to be completely good causes to get in form, they gained’t encourage you endlessly. 

Eventually, you’ll want a deeper drive.

Wading by way of the extrinsic motivations to search out issues that fulfill you intrinsically won’t all the time be easy, however fulfilling motivations might be present in even essentially the most extrinsic targets. 

Earlier than you focus all of your consideration on chasing one thing you suppose will make you content, take a second to contemplate if it’s truly nearly as good because it appears. For those who discover it isn’t, it is likely to be time to rethink—common train will provide help to in numerous methods each bodily and mentally, however provided that you do it with the correct of motivation.

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