Many things are important in a quality fitness regimen: strength, mobility, flexibility, endurance, calorie and fat burning activities, etc.. but the one area that is by far the most important and what I refer to as the precious commodity of fitness is MOTIVATION! Without motivation to get fit, all the other important areas of fitness are irrelevant.
I believe it is rather easy to initially get motivated for fitness and I see this play out in most people all of the time. It could be that they don’t like what they see in the mirror and want to change that. It could be a health condition they have where a fitness program will help clear up. Maybe they want to take part in a physical event in the future that forces them to have to train to get ready for it. All of these initial motivations happen with many people on a daily basis and it is great to see these people get motivated to start.
BUT as the title to this article suggests, motivation is a precious commodity. Once one has it, it needs to be nurtured and protected. This, by far, is the most abused area of fitness that people go through. This high level of initial motivation comes to a complete stop usually because of bad programming. The workouts are too hard, take too long, or a combination of both. Sometimes this initial excitement leads to too many workouts per week which leads to complete burnout in a short amount of time. All of this happens much too often and is very sad to see play out.
The area of fitness that I am most dialed into as a trainer is understanding that motivation for fitness is a very precious thing. I need to do everything that I can to keep this motivation sky high for a client to keep their path to get fit going down a steady road. Here is a list of 5 things that go into keeping the precious commodity of fitness motivation at a high level:
1.) Keep the number of intense workouts per week at 3 or less. Simply put, too many workouts too often leads to staleness and burnout.
2.) Keep each workout short in duration. 2 hour marathon workouts will chip away at even the most motivated people. 45 minutes or less per workout is ideal.
3.) Workouts need to be fortified with “intelligent intensity“. Doing set after set of intense exercises with no rest will burn out any fitness client. Longer rest periods between sets and reps are very important to keep a steady flow of quality workout time and motivation high. Also the length of the exercise itself needs to be realistic. 20 to 30 seconds of squat jumps is a much better option than 5 minutes of them. This is where the art and science of training are critical.
4.) Workouts should be regimented, but also contain variety. Nobody wants to do the exact same workout all of the time, but there should be some similarity from workout to workout for the client to get in a comfort zone and stay confident. The balance of regimen and variety in a fitness plan is an important one.
5.) Exercises should have levels of difficulty from beginner to advanced. Each client has unique levels of fitness ability and being able to match their ability to the appropriate exercise level needs to be constantly monitored.
Motivation is number 1 when it comes to a client having success in fitness. These 5 things should be a part of any fitness plan to keep the precious commodity of motivation at a high level.