Words of Power
By: Nicole Pizzi, Performance Specialist
There are many motivations in life. We all know this. Whether they come from external sources or from within, we all have certain things that make us happy, want to do better and make us strive for more. In fitness/exercise there are more specific motivators. There are those that workout to be healthy, fit into their jeans, train for sports, and the list goes on. What I am more interested in here is not WHAT motivates people in the gym, but HOW are they motivated. Getting even more specific, what trainers motivate you? If you take classes or have a trainer, are their words motivating? If so, what makes it motivating? I find this topic so interesting that certain phrases people use and their tone of their voice can change someone’s workout efforts immensely.
Words of encouragement from a trainer or instructor can push people beyond where they thought they could go. Or what some people consider motivating, others could think are more of an annoyance or boring. What works for one, does not work for all. And in a class with many participants, how do you attempt to motivate everyone if each person may respond differently to your words, attitude and approach?
I have put lots of thought into this, as I myself respond quite differently to different people’s motivational cues. I think it is important to recognize who you respond best to before taking a class or getting a trainer. In my experience, I have typically seen three different types of motivators:
1. Bootcamp Bob- This is a trainer who motivates by yelling and screaming, whether it be positive or not, their voices are HEARD. They say phrases like “You don’t want people to think your weak, keep going” or “I said give me 10 more, no quitting on me now, you don’t want to be a quitter, do you”? This type of motivator usually positions themselves quite close to their clients, or “gets in their face” to get their point across. They are also more likely to “call someone out” in class. Judging from the popularity of boot camp classes, Boot Camp Bob can get a crowd moving or can make someone feel so intimidated or inferior, they never come back.
2. Positive Polly- This is a trainer/instructor who tends to be on the happier side. Is always using positive reinforcement to encourage participants saying things like, “Great job, keep it up”, “Nicely done”, “I can see you getting stronger already!”, etc. Eye contact is made frequently with all participants in class as praise is given, as their subtle way to congratulate for a job well done. They are very active in the class, walking around, correcting form. If they acknowledge a specific individual, it is not to call them out, it is to compliment and highlight their efforts.
3. Cool, Calm and Collective Cathy- This type of trainer has a more subtle approach to training. They motivate without words. They may rely more on body language to encourage hard work. Clapping, smiling, giving less verbal cues and more time for participants to work on their own. Many like this option as it allows them to focus on their exercise without hearing constant noise, yelling or commands.
Now it is important to know that there is no right or wrong way to encourage and motivate someone. All of the above are perfectly effective ways to inspire. It is simply a personal choice of what will work best for you. When I train, I try to evaluate the group before the class starts. The better you know your participants, the easier it will be when determining the tone of the class.
As we always encourage, do your own research. Take classes and ask questions. It is up to you, the participant to find a good match not only to help you achieve physical goals, but to ensure the person who you choose to help you with your fitness can be the best motivator for you!