Here at Overland Park Boot Camp we’re all aware that when it comes to having a good work out session – or even just getting started in the first place – motivation is key.
It’s what makes us go faster, lift more weights and give us that competitive edge, whether against ourselves or each other.
The opposite of motivation is, of course, apathy. And one of the best ways to rid yourself of apathy and gain motivation, according to researchers is that old favourite of counsellors and diet coaches everywhere – low self esteem.
Competitiveness = Motivation
Yes, researchers at our State University right here in Kansas, found that those who went to the gym and exercised with a partner they thought was fitter (ie better) than them, tended to exert themselves more in an attempt to keep up and not lose face.
“Inadequacy, when they’re comparing themselves to their peers, can be a strong motivational force to get a person to try a little harder, to excel a little bit more beyond what they feel they can do,” said one personal trainer involved in the study.
The university research involved getting individuals to cycle on a stationary bike for as long as possible. They were shown a TV screen of another person, also cycling, in the next room and told that the individual who stopped cycling first would be the loser. However, unbeknownst to them there was no rider in the next room – it was only a video recording so they were always cycling against themselves and would be the first to stop.
In the end the test subjects cycled around 200 per cent harder than they normally would on a routine work out.
The coach explained the theory behind this.
He said: “If you do 15, I’m going to do my darndest to do 15 reps. The weaker partner will match the stronger partner and they’ll ratchet up the intensity that way.”
One interesting aspect of the study, researchers found, was that if the two individuals were on the same fitness level then the ‘overachieving’ of the weaker partner didn’t work. And by the same token if the partner was far fitter then it didn’t work either. In other words the best ratio is when one individual is a little fitter than the other and regards themselves as being that little bit more inferior fitness-wise.
For tips on motivation or other aspects of gym work outs, feel free to have a chat with any of the coaches here at Overland Park Book Camp.