What actually is it and how do you improve it?

Some people have lots of it, some people have none of it and some people fluctuate between both.

With regards to exercise – everyone has different motives as to WHY they are participating.

This blog highlights the 5 methods that TWM coaches follow to motivate our clients.

1. Understanding the different types of motivation

While both types are important, researchers have found that intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation can have different effects on behaviors and how people pursue goals.

What Is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment.

Examples of behaviors that are the result of extrinsic motivation include:

– Studying because you want to get a good grade.
– Cleaning your room to avoid being reprimanded by your parents
– Participating in a sport to win awards

In each of these examples, the behavior is motivated by a desire to gain a reward or avoid an adverse outcome. People are engaging in a behavior not because they enjoy it or because they find it satisfying but in order to get something in return or avoid something unpleasant.

What Is Intrinsic Motivation?

Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.

Examples of actions that are the result of intrinsic motivation include:

– Participating in a sport because you find the activity enjoyable
– Solving a word puzzle because you find the challenge fun and exciting
– Playing a game because you find it exciting

In each of these instances, the person’s behavior is motivated by an internal desire to participate in an activity for its own sake. Essentially, the behavior itself is its own reward.


Personal Trainer: Most stereotypical Personal Trainers are loud, scream at their clients and push them to failure no matter what state of mind that their clients are in.

A coach understands their client’s motivations. Understanding WHY their clients are there is the first step.

Why do they want to improve their health and fitness? Why do they want to sacrifice their time, effort and money to be here? Why do they want to train with us and why is it that they have those goals? Planning a program according to this is a priority.

Then based on physical and mental cues that they present with you adapt the program on any given day accordingly. How they are feeling, their training load and recovery levels should determine the level and intensity of their training session.

At TWM we often take a soft approach ahead of the hard approach to get the most out of clients.

PT’s will often talk about the science, the programming jargon and how the bodies mitochondria provide ATP, the methylation process and the adaptations that occur during hypertrophy.

The Coach will understand this sort of science but produce the information in ‘Layman’s’ terms which will allow the client to have purpose without the coaching demeaning the client unintentionally.

3. 5 x WHYS

The 5 Whys uses “counter-measures,” rather than solutions. A counter-measure is an action or set of actions that seeks to prevent the problem from arising again, while a solution may just seek to deal with the symptom. As such, counter-measures are more robust and will more likely prevent the problem from recurring.

We use this technique during training sessions to reinforce and countermeasure why people are here and also why they may be having issues.


1. I am struggling to drop the body fat % I want to achieve.

2. Because I am not eating as healthy as I should be.

3. Because I am not preparing my meals and therefore either snack or buy something convenient.

4. Because I don’t set aside time on a Sunday to prepare.

5. Because I like to sleep in and see people on a Sunday.

SO the overall issue isn’t the body fat it is now time/priorities.

Suggesting alternative times to cook or painting the picture as to how sacrificing time on a Sunday will ultimately allow you to achieve your long-term goals.

4. Client Centred Approach.

Actively listening to our clients is something we really focus on. This allows us to hear honest feedback and understand specific things that they may like or dislike in their training programs.

We believe it is important that clients influence their own nutrition & training programs because quite often it is the enjoyment factor that enhances or reduces motivation.

A lot of Personal Trainers will say this is my way of programming and this is the method that I want to use.

This is the same for nutrition programs. There is no point restricting or giving people a plan that isn’t satisfying nor sustainable.

Different systems work best for different types of bodies and personalities.

5. Competence and mastery – the person makes the decision 

It is important to empower people to feel that they are mastering and conquering their new challenges. I often see or hear stories of people throwing their clients in the ‘deep end’ to impress them or show how hard they can push their clients. People may also be prescribed movements or skills that are far too technical.
When a challenge is set to an appropriate level they will feel that they’re mastering this task.

When there is a successful attempt of a challenge it will allow for an increase in self-efficacy of this task. This highlights progressive overload and how important it is to tailor training to specific levels that are challenging but appropriate.

The diagram below highlights the consequences of unsuccessful and successful attempts at tasks.

6. Growth v Fixed mindset. We like to motivate our clients via a Growth Mindset or at least influencing their Fixed mindset to be a more flexible and adaptable mindset.