What makes you work hard in the gym?

What makes you work hard in the gym?

Intensity is the one independent variable in the gym that drives change. If you are looking to lose weight, get more fit, or just increase energy levels, it makes sense that putting hard work in at the gym will drive change. Now, there are many other variables that can affect how you adapt to the hard work you do in the gym, but those variables are outside the gym (sleep, nutrition, recovery…).

I have found that different types of people respond differently to different types of motivational styles from a coach. When I was playing youth soccer I once had a coach that was a yeller. Every time a player made a mistake, he would yell at them and sometime bench them. I hated that! He focused on punishing negative behavior, like making a bad pass, with a response or a consequence. Didn’t work for me. I played out of fear not to get yelled at. When I was a pro, I had a coach who reinforced positive behavior. He would always tell you when you made a good pass. If you played well when we were traveling, he would reward you with a first class seat on the airplane.

The design of the workout and the delivery of the workout by a coach can change the way you perform depending on who you are. Here is a crash course in Sports Psych 101 and how it relates to the intensity of your work in the gym.

  • Positive Reinforcement: When the workout and coach reinforce a positive behavior by adding something positive. Example: You ran the mile faster than you did last time therefore you get a gold star by your name!

  • Negative Reinforcement: When the workout and coach reinforce a positive behavior by taking something away.  Example: You ran the mile faster than you did last time therefore you don’t have to do 100 burpees now!

  • Intrinsic motivation: This comes from an athlete that is self-motivated. This athlete is driven from within. A group of athletes like this is easy to coach!

  • Achievement motivation: This comes from an athlete that is competitive. This athlete is driven by what they see around them.  

I think it’s important to know what drives and motivates you to work hard in the gym.  Let's find out this week!