Monday, October 18, 2010

Keep the drive alive

WHAT: Ben insists that him and his friend Jack need to start working out. They hired Rudy, a personal trainer, to give them assistance in monitoring them and putting them in the right direction of training. The first two months of their training have been going great. Ben and Jack have been making great progress and showing amazing results. They weight train at least five times a week and are staying true to their program. Jack suggests to Ben that they should join group aerobic workouts to switch things up and add to their weight-training program only. Ben only wants to weight train and doesn’t take Jack’s suggestion into consideration. Rudy notices that Jack doesn’t seem to have the drive that he did when he started his training regimen and that his progress has seemed to plateau. Jack struggles to stay motivated to workout and push himself.  His main issue is that he lacks intrinsic motivation and has no choice of his exercise. Since Ben insists that they only weight train, Jack is becoming uninterested and needs to switch it up to keep his drive alive.

SO WHAT: After analyzing Jack’s current situation, it is not hard to distinguish that he has lost interest in weight training and wants to try new exercise programs. Even though he had great drive at the beginning of his training regimen, which he received great results, he has lost it that same drive.  His partner does not show the same signs as Jack and wants to keep continuing the weight-training program only. Understanding motivation requires consideration of individual differences and situational factors (Gill &Williams, 2008). Jack’s motivation has changed and his performance is being affected by it. Jack lacks intrinsic motivation; he no longer sees weight training as desirable and has lost interest. He has shown great progress with weight training but his results started to plateau, making it hard to keep that drive to succeed. According to the cognitive evaluation theory, intrinsic motivation requires being competent along with two conditions. First, the task must be interesting and challenging, the second, the participant must have choice in the activity (Gill &Williams, 2008). Ben is staying motivated because he chose weight training and wants stick with it, on the other hand, Jack wants to try something new to challenge himself and see progression once again. The self-determination theory states that the degree to which one’s needs are satisfied is related to self-determined behavior via motivation reflected on a continuum ranging from amotivation to extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation (Gill & William, 2008). This shows that if Jack is satisfied with a new exercise program his intrinsic motivation will increase as well and stay motivated. 

NOW WHAT: My advice for Rudy would be to sit Jack down and ask him what exercise program he would like to be doing instead of weight training or to add on to weight training. Rudy needs to determine what Jack can do to add self-determination to his workouts. This could be to let him chose what exercise program he wants to do. Even though Ben only wants to weight train, Rudy could tell Ben that he needs to switch it up a little bit and do something with Jack. They could split their weekly workouts up with doing half the workouts with what Ben wants to do and half the workouts what Jack wants to do.  Jack needs something new so that he can regain interest and motivation. Research has shown that when competence, autonomy and relatedness are satisfied, it enhances self-motivation and mental health (ARTICLE).  Rudy can also tell Ben the consequences of not switching things up for Jack could mean him not coming to workout at all, which mean Ben will not have a workout partner anymore and that he might stop working because of that. Ben could possibly enjoy a different workout program and want to keep trying new things to keep both him and Jack’s drive alive. I would also advise Rudy that it took Jack only two months to become bored with weight training. This means he needs to keep a close eye on Jack to notice the same type of trends he displayed when he was unhappy. If it starts to occur again it is necessary to change it up again to give Jack something new to grow interest in. If Rudy doesn’t want to wait for this type of motivational change in Jack he can insist on changing programs every six weeks to eliminate the loss of motivation.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Jack is having a hard time keeping interested and motivated with his current exercise program. His workout partner, Ben, shouldn’t hold Jack back from entering a new and challenging exercise program. Allowing Jack to chose an exercise program to start doing or to add to his current weight training program is crucial. He needs a new sense of interest and a new challenge to pursue. After talking with Ben, hopefully he will join Jack so that they can remain workout partners. Having a workout partner can be a great extrinsic motivator. With a new exercise program Jack’s intrinsic motivation will be increased allowing him to push himself towards a new challenge. 


Deci, E., & Ryan, R., (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. The American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

1 comment:

  1. Good way to look at the situation. The only thing is be careful of allowing Jack to decide what he wants to do. I believe he can have a say in the exercises and what the workout "could" consist of, however, don't give the complete control over it. He may not realized what might work best for him. Also, be careful of split up Ben's program, b/c if he enjoys what he is doing, then having him switch might effect his motivation. Just a couple things to consider. Overall though, great plan of attack and plan to approach this situation.