You know the scenario; we have all seen it happen.
Someone starts out really motivated to workout only to lose that motivation within a few months or less and stop working out altogether.
You probably also know someone who is a stellar athlete, always fit, energetic and motivated.
Is there a difference between these two people? Is it a personality difference? Do they have different values, beliefs or what?
Why can some people stick to workout routine while others lose steam?
In this article, we will discuss the rewards and other factors that motivate a person to continue working out in their home gym.
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
There are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsically motivated behaviors are those performed for the satisfaction one gains from performing the activity itself. Competence and enjoyment are two intrinsic motivators.
Studies found that those who workout because they are motivated by competence or enjoyment also workout longer than those with other motivations.
It is interesting and important to mention that studies show that while many are compelled to workout because of extrinsic motivations, those who workout because or the intrinsic motivations are far more likely to stick with the exercise.
People who workout motivated solely for extrinsic motivations like improving appearance or to be in better shape, are less likely to enjoy the exercise and more apt to dropout.
The 5 Reward Dynamics
The reward that keeps on giving.
Do something because you enjoy doing it! OK, that is not a novel concept, right?
While enjoyment seems like an obvious motivation, it is sometimes overlooked in the pursuit of a fitness goal. It is hard to pursue a goal if the tasks performed to attain the goal are loathsome.
If you construct a home gym, one of the most important factors is that you enjoy the exercises you perform there.
The activities should be stimulating, challenging, entertaining and move you towards your goal. If the activities do not meet these criteria you are setting yourself up for failure.
Several fitness studies reveal that enjoyment was one of the biggest factors to why people stayed motivated.
One study looked at women who suffer from Lupus and assigned them a 10 week fitness routine using a Wii Fit. Not surprisingly the participants stayed motivated and adhered to the routine because they enjoyed the workout.
So, should you add a Wii Fit to your home gym?
I say, if a Wii Fit can help you accomplish your fitness goals and you enjoy it, then yes. If not, then no. Only you, as the creator and architect of your home gym, know what your gym needs.
You know your goals and what activities you enjoy.
Here are some suggestions, just to get your ideas flowing:
Install a smart TV or Wi-Fi DVD player and watch fun, interesting, challenging new or favorite workout videos on Youtube.
Get a radio or stereo for your home gym and maybe make a few mixed tapes…er…CD’s of music that inspires you to move.
Make your gym a place you like spending time in.
Decorate the place with quotes or pictures that inspire you. If you have any athletics awards or trophies place them there. Workout posters, how to charts, mirrors, clean towels, a water cooler, a scale or whatever you need to be comfortable and feel a sense of ownership.
Be invested in the gym and you will be compelled to use it.
Gym equipment/Workout Routine you truly enjoy – it would not be a home gym without these things.
Without getting into specifics, because I don’t know your goals, I will say try to invest in your gym.
The investment you make in your gym is an investment in yourself, your health and your future. The fees for a gym membership could go towards equipment instead.
Investing in something you truly enjoy is one of the best motivations to stick with exercising. Find a workout or fitness activity you love, enjoy and want to do frequently.
This is key.
Improving skill and competence are also strong motivators and the feeling of competence is the reward. Experiencing an increase in skill and accomplishing more is a fundamental human need.
Incorporate exercises and activities where you can work on proficiency and measure achievements. This will be different for each person based on goals and interests but here are some suggestions to get you thinking about this topic.
Using weights. Weights offer variety and can work virtually every muscle if you have the right equipment. Skill comes into play when you focus on your form and take the time to study the muscle structure of your body.
Learning what exercises work each muscle group and which exercises to group together is another skill.
Weights make it easy to assess accomplishment. Accomplishment can be thought of in terms of the amount of weight, reps, good form or many other factors.
Weights are also practical and realistic equipment for a home or garage gym.
Many of these videos incorporate exercises where you build competency and skill.
Any exercise which challenges you physically and skill-wise, and where you can measure progress are good candidates. Take CrossFit as an example.
Many new Cross Fitters find it challenging to successfully complete a box jump. Working up to a box jump by using increasingly larger steps is one way to gauge accomplishment.
Extrinsic motivators were the motivators least likely to lead to adherence t a fitness routine. That does not mean they are unimportant or ‘wrong’. Many people begin with an extrinsic motivation and continue because of an intrinsic one.
This may be the case for your home gym workout too.
As an example, maybe someone created a home gym because they want to lose weight, but then discover that they really like learning about how the body works and enjoy targeting specific muscles so they focus on bodybuilding and this keeps them motivated to use their home gym 5 days a week.
In this example, their extrinsic motivation changed to an intrinsic one.
Social interaction is usually extrinsic to the activity, but social interaction is also a big motivator and can help people adhere to a workout routine.
If you have a home gym social interaction may seem unlikely, but you might be surprised to learn that it is doable.
There are several possibilities.
MyFitnessPal-This is a ‘facebook’ style fitness app where you can add friends and share your workout goals, food diary (optional sharing), workout, and any other notes you have. It is a great way to keep accountable with friends you have and new ones you meet online.
You can encourage each other and discuss fitness related topics. The more adventurous and open members share their daily food diary so if you have a curious or inquisitive nature, you can spy on what they ate that day.
Sport Organizations/Competitions – some organizations meet only for competitions or races while the training is done on your own. Marathons, Bodybuilding Competitions, Mud Runs, and Triathlons are places where you can socialize with other athletes if you workout at home.
Online Forums- Virtually all sports have websites and online forums where you can find likeminded athletes to share knowledge, tips and encouragement with. Just because you workout at home does not mean you have to work out ‘alone’. Plugging into a fitness community is a great way to stay motivated.
Being more fit
Being strong, fit and able is a motivation to continue to workout in your home gym. It is the motivation many people start with and with good reason.
Being fit has so many benefits. Being fit can help you avoid disease, ward off the afflictions of old age and help you open that jar of peanut butter.
Just be aware if that while there is nothing wrong with having fitness as a motivation, if it is your only motivation it may not be strong enough to promote adherence to your home gym workout.
While this is the most common motivation for initiating a workout routine, sadly it is also the motivation least likely to help you stay with it if it is your only motivation.
The reason improving appearance is a weak motivation is because if it is the only motivation it usually means you don’t like the exercise you are doing, and only workout to look better.
If this is the case try different activities to find one you connect with.
Its like vegetables, most people agree they are healthy, but if you don’t like them, health is just not enough of a motivation to eat them every day.
Find a workout you love doing, and the benefit of improved appearance will happen naturally, without as much struggle.
We hope this article has given you some areas to ponder as you build your own home gym. It would be great to see your ideas!