What Keeps the Pros on Their Toes?
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As I approach the finish line of training to walk the More/Fitness Half Marathon on April 15, 2012, I have thought a lot about why it is I’m so motivated to move. In one post on More.com, I talked about how friends, especially those who struggle with health issues, motivated me to fully take advantage of the ability to move. In a more recent More.com post, I described how I was born to move. I truly enjoy exercising, and setting goals—even if they’re not triathlons or marathons—to stay fit along the way.
We all have motivational setbacks. Having a cold, being sidelined by injury, feeling down-in-the-dumps, and just having so much on our plate can certainly take their toll on our motivation levels. I have always told clients that if I could bottle up motivation—which I naturally have a lot of—I’d be a gazillionaire. Motivation is not something you can really teach. But I’d argue it’s something that can be spread and soaked in.
I turned to some favorite fitness pros to see what keeps them motivated to move, and to find out how they inspire their clients to move as well. Here’s what they had to say:
Jim White, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia, registered dietitian, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, finds that putting on a pair of headphones, cranking up the music and tuning everything else out always motivates him to workout. He adds, “I also find that having a workout partner is also a good motivator because he or she will pump me up when I don’t feel like fitting my workout in. And I know I do the same for them.”
When asked how he keeps his clients motivated, White says, “I keep my energy level especially high, keep the conversation light, and hand them a pair of weights. Before they know it they are halfway through a workout.”
I can attest to the fact that White is an amazing motivator—I had the unique and wonderful opportunity to do his 30-minute sunrise boot camp in Prague at a conference a few weeks ago and had the best time!
Vonda Wright, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based orthopedic surgeon and author of Guide to Thrive and Fitness After 40, views exercise as an investment in her future. “I reward my efforts with small non-food prizes—that way, I associate exercise with pleasure and not pain,” she says. When her patients lose their motivation, she encourages them to do the same to keep up with their efforts.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Heather Frey, owner, founder and President of SmashFit.com, a personal trainer and fitness matching website on the internet, likes that she can physically see all of her hard work pay off. She often reminds herself that she was once on “the other side”—sad and struggling—and that staying fit makes her never want to live there again.
When her clients’ motivation begins to dip, Frey asks them, “Do you really want to start all over again? Back to feeling sad, frustrated with that uphill climb? Or stay where you are and move forward?”
Cait Morth, an NSCA certified personal trainer, says knowing her family’s medical history keeps her motivated. “If I’ve been stressed out for a while and see that my diet and exercise has suffered as a result, thinking about “heart disease” and “type 2 diabetes” scare me off my couch and out for a run,” she says. Morth adds, “I use the same tactic with my clients. When they feel as though things are tough for them, I remind them why they asked for help in the first place. Everyone needs a sponsor to guide them back on track.”
Jeff Halevy, CEO of Halevy Life, knows just how bad things can get—mentally and physically—when exercise isn’t a part of daily life. When he sees a clients’ motivation wanes, he asks them to take a week off. “I know it seems counter-intuitive, but 99 percent of the time they come back not only motivated, but charged up and ready to go!”
What helps you stay motivated to move? When your motivation dips, what helps you get back on track?
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