What motivates you to exercise?
There are two basic motivators: a desire to move towards a goal or the intent to avoid an outcome. For example, you may be motivated to exercise because you want to shave a couple of minutes off of your 10K time or be able to lift an additional 50 pounds – that is the type of motivation of moving towards a goal. However, if you’ve been advised to start an exercise program to improve your health because you face the risk of dealing with a chronic health condition like obesity, diabetes or heart disease, then the desire to avoid that outcome is a powerful motivator.
Another source of motivation is vicarious experiences, watching others that you can relate to achieve a goal can be a powerful motivating force. If you’ve been through the revolving door of starting and stopping exercise programs then finding other people with whom you can relate to could be the missing piece of motivation that you need. Believe it or not, that is exactly what one man, Vance Hinds, did with comedians Bert Kreisher, Joe Rogan, Tom Segura and Ari Shaffir. Not only did they help motivate him to lose more than 200 pounds, but he did it in the most 21st century way possible – by posting on social media.
In 2017 Rogan, Kreisher, Segura and Shaffir challenged each other to a ‘Sober October’ where they would avoid intoxicating
substances for the month while increasing their levels of exercise. Now anyone familiar with Bert Kreisher (if you’re not, watch his The Machine routine – it KILLS, warning – NSFW!!!) Knows that he is funny as hell, but he’s not exactly a paradigm of fitness. The fact that Bert increased his exercise during Sober October motivated Vance to follow along, the results were extraordinary.
The result is that over the course of two years, Vance lost more than 200 pounds and he documented the journey via Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; along the way, Vance has become an inspiration to other men struggling to deal with weight loss.
What is extremely impressive is how Vance ended up creating an online community of people working together to live healthier lives. At this point it is important to note that weight loss is NOT the most important outcome of exercise. I’m going to say that again:
Weight loss IS NOT the most important outcome of an exercise program!
Yes, managing a healthy bodyweight is important, but what is more essential is using exercise to promote good health which can allow you to live life to its fullest.
Let’s face it, there is way too much emphasis on exercise for weight loss, instead the focus should be on using exercise to enhance your quality of life and that is exactly what Vance has done which is why I’ve been following his story so closely.
My personal approach to exercise is that fitness gives you the ability to do what you want to do when you want to do it. In other words, fitness is freedom. Being fit gives you the strength and stamina to get out and enjoy the world. Who cares what the scale says as long as you have the fitness to go for a hike, play with your kids or learn how to scuba on your next Caribbean vacation.
If you’ve had a few challenges on your fitness journey, it may be necessary to look outside of yourself and find others you can
relate to. If you are having a hard time doing that in your immediate area then keep in mind the power of social media, as Vance has demonstrated, it works!
Here are 5 benefits of using social media to help with your fitness goals:
Accountable – posting photos after a workout or of a healthy meal helps you to commit to following program, the photos show that are are sticking with it which is the first step for making progress.
Measuring progress – another benefit of taking regular pics during or after a workout is that it provides clear, visible evidence of your progress. As you review the images in your feed, you should be able to literally see how your body is changing. What can be more motivating than that?
Vicarious experiences – as mentioned, following others you can relate to can provide visual proof that making lifestyle changes is indeed possible. One thing that has been fascinating about watching Vance’s journey is that he has created an entire community of guys his age supporting each other for their goals.
Creating a community of support – it doesn’t matter if it’s cyber or real life, friends want to see friends succeed. If your real life friends aren’t in your corner for your fitness journey then ditch them and go online (please tag me as well – @petemc_fitness – Twitter and @petemccall_fitness on Instagram). Whenever Vance posts a picture about his food it makes me think about having to make healthier choices too, I’m serious and I’ve been doing this a long time, thanks for the extra kick in the behind Vance, I appreciate it (and you)!
Support – there will be days when you’ll stumble; we ALL do. There might be ‘accidental donuts’ or an extra slice of pizza or inertia that keeps you binge watching a show on a couch all day. That’s going to happen, don’t beat yourself up unnecessarily if it does. It’s important to NOT beat yourself up for what you didn’t do; share failures with your social network – others have experienced the same and can offer encouragement to get you back on your plan.
Remember, the most important outcome of exercise is improving your health and quality of life. If weight loss is important to you, or if it is necessary for your health – then GO FOR IT! Otherwise my suggestion would be to choose other goals like trying a new workout format – side note: one of my fitness goals for 2020 is to start taking yoga classes again – or making it to the gym at least 3 times a week: 2 times during the week and once on the weekend. And reach out to your friends, make it a group goal, everyone will enjoy the process and if it’s done right the outcome will be more than you ever expected.
Find the cyber version of Vance in these locations:
Here is a great workout that can get you started on your fitness journey! Tag me when you complete it: