Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Motivates?

After a lengthy conversation with a client yesterday, I was left wondering "what motivates?" We are all so different and an individual's society, surroundings or life circumstances are forever changing.

My Mother always said the only things we have to coerce or inspire motivation are fear and guilt. A perfectly natural thought process from someone who suffered from the influence of both Catholic and Jewish religions under one roof throughout her childhood. I'm a bit more positive reinforcement than that. That being said I still am unable to put my finger on one or two simple concepts the way she has.

In evaluating clients that have come to me over the years, our first meeting is comprised of "why" questions. "Why do you want to lose the weight?" "Why did you gain the weight?" "Why is now the right time to dive into such a substantial life change?" The answers are always varied and as individual as the person across the table from me. Through this line of questioning, I hope to extract that one thing that will motivate progress and change for the months or possibly years it may take for that person to attain the results desired.

As a personal trainer and weight loss "motivator" I have always taken a stance of empathy. I can empathize with everyone that walks in the door. I was not always perfectly fit. In fact I have been obese at times in my first 30 years on this planet. Following a close family member's death when I was 6 years old, I started on a path of depression binge eating and starvation diets that would last until I hired a personal trainer in my early thirties. An unhappy marriage was my motivation. I didn't want to leave fat and wonder whether anyone would ever want to date or be with me again. I believed that if I was thin, I could at least date and possibly even fall in love again.

But the big question for me is do I motivate my clients or does true motivation strictly come from inside each of them? Is it enough to be pleasant, a good companion through the journey and a good representation of healthy living OR will being boastful about my athletic endeavors and my superior form build an envy that motivates? I've seen both methods exhibited by trainers. I know which I subscribe to, but what do you think? Today I ask: What motivates you?

Shannon Helfrich
The Bootcamp Express

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