How can you ensure you get the most out of your workout, while also increasing the likelihood you go back the next day? Easy. Think about how awesome you're going to feel after. It's called "Post-Exercise Affective Expectation," but it's a lot easier than it sounds.
“Be better today than you were yesterday. Be better tomorrow than you are today.”
I'm a huge believer in the Quantified Self. The more information we have about our exercise, sleep, nutrition, and how we feel, the better we are able to learn how these things interact. Fitness technology has allowed us to track all of these things, but fail to tell us what to do with them. Below is a case study regarding how I use my experience in exercise psychology to apply the information received from this technology.
Down With the Tyranny of the Fitbit Original Article
I saw this article posted, and believe it's important to address the assertions made here.
While I agree with this article in principle, I disagree with the fatalistic view of the fitness tracker space. It’s true that companies like Fitbit focus on intrinsic rewards that, by nature, decrease extrinsic motivations. However, this problem is not in the product itself, but rather the implementation of the product. I have spoken about this at length here.
Research has demonstrated that fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, can have positive effects on short-term exercise behavior. The article agrees with that point—for most people, increasing awareness of physical activity patterns can help to increase exercise behavior. However, once the initial novelty wears off, these products do little to encourage long-term exercise adherence. That doesn’t mean we should give up on them wholesale.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” --Sun Tzu
Do you own an activity tracker? Do you still use it? Did you take it off to charge it one day, and forgot to put it back on? Is it just sitting in your drawer, gathering dust? The truth is, you’re not alone. While roughly one in every 10 people have an activity tracker, but one third of people stop using them within 6 months of purchase(Ledger, 2014). That might be why Fitbit’s stock recently dropped lower than their initial IPO for the first time since going public in June, according to Time. People are realizing that fitness trackers aren’t what they’re purported to be.
Watch your thoughts for they become words,
The next "skill" I'm going to discuss isn't so much a skill as it is a mindset. An approach to life. Like most things, this doesn't apply just to sports, but facet of life. In my experience, this is the greatest predictor of success there is. It's what sets the best apart from the rest. It's what drives the constant need for improvement-- that push to become the best you can be. It's what we call "The Champion's Mindset."
Today I'd like to briefly discuss an article I came across, titled Rethinking Exercise as a Source of Immediate Rewards, by Jane E. Brody with the NY Times. The article is based on research in exercise and motivation done by Dr. Michelle Segar, director of the University of Michigan Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center (Go Blue!). I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Segar and I'm really excited about the research SHARP is doing, and I think it can make a huge impact in helping people initiate and maintain exercise. I'd recommend reading the article, and considering its implications as you head into the weekend.
Today, I just want to briefly expand on something related to my posts on goal setting and my post on activity trackers and goal setting. That is, some day you're not going to reach your goal, for whatever reason. On these days, based on how you view it, it can actually be a hindrance to your motivation, or help to feed it; it's all about how you look at it. I'm here to teach you how to use it to your advantage.
"failure" is Inevitable
TO BE A GREAT CHAMPION YOU MUST BELIEVE YOU ARE THE BEST. IF YOU'RE NOT, PRETEND YOU ARE.
Last week, we talked about confidence, why it's important, and sources of confidence. Today, I tell you an easy trick to increase your confidence. The easiest way to become more confident is to pretend that you are confident. While I use the term "fake it" in reality it's not fake. It may seem that way starting out, but soon the changes to our confidence are real, and easily achieved.
Do you ever have those days where you just don't feel like exercising? Those days where getting off the couch, or out of bed early, just seems like too much work? You just feel "blah", and even if you did exercise, it probably wouldn't be productive? In this post I'm going to show you how we can utilize a specific cue (i.e. our activity tracker) to elicit positive emotions and confidence, and help you perform to your peak ability and overcome difficulties you may encounter when maintaining exercise.
I AM THE GREATEST. I SAID THAT BEFORE I EVEN KNEW I WAS.
I spend a lot of time working out with friends, trying to instill in them the passion I have for physical activity and self-improvement. In our training, I will often issue challenges. If they think they can do 10 reps of an exercise, I will tell them to do 15. Not because I want to see them fail; just the opposite, in fact. I want to see them succeed beyond what they believed they could do. Simply by having the belief that they can do more, I am able to help them knock out those last couple of reps. If you tell yourself you can only do 10, you will only do 10. But if you tell yourself you can do more, you can. It’s all about believing in yourself.
To me, belief is the most fundamental building block of action. We can want to do something, we can plan to do something, but if we don’t believe we are capable of doing it, we never will. Who is going to exert time, money, and effort on something they don’t believe they can do? Who is going to continue going when their body is telling them to stop, when their legs and feet hurt, and their lungs are screaming? Those people who, with all of their being, are confident that they are capable of overcoming the obstacle in front of them, and any hindrance they will encounter.