Why You Should Tell Your Trainer To Shut UpBy Regie Simmons
The one-liners above are just a sample of the clichés personal trainers utter to clients during training sessions to motivate them through a workout. Motivation is after all one of the primary reasons why people seek out personal training services, and pay big bucks for them.
A friend recently confided that she paid over $3,000 for approximately 42 personal training sessions. When you do the math, that’s roughly $71 per session, which doesn’t seem like much, but that’s the discounted rate for buying the sessions in advance and in bulk.
Motivation is one of those tricky and elusive things that can wax and wane almost daily. Due to its illusive nature, motivation is often a source of speculation in every field, from fitness to business.
People want to know how to stay motivated. They want to understand the reasons why motivation wanes and more importantly, how they can become motivated if it’s lacking.
As an MBA and physique competitor, this convergence of fitness and business always grabs my attention. It’s not surprising then, that I was drawn to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “If You Want to Motivate Someone, Shut Up Already.” Talk about an interesting and provocative headline.
In the article, the lead researcher from Kansas State University presented findings from a study, which examined the impact words of encouragement can have on performance during a workout. By its very nature one could assume that “words of encourage” would do just that—encourage—but, in reality the opposite is true.
The research, lead by Brandon Irwin an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Kansas State University, determined that words of encouragement do not inspire people to perform
better during a workout.
“We didn’t expect this, but it’s a really clear result. Constant encouragement did not have the intended effect of inspiring [exercise participants] to improve,” said Irwin.
Say what? Talk about being counterintuitive.
As part of the study, Irwin asked participants to perform two sets of planks and to hold the position for as long as they could. Participants were divided into two groups. Group one performed the two sets of planks alone. Group two performed the first set alone, but with the second set, they were paired with a virtual partner who was an expert at planks. Participants with virtual partners were paired with either a silent partner or a partner that used words of encouragement similar to those referenced at the beginning of this article.
Participants with virtual partners held the plank position longer than those that performed the two sets solo. Participants that were partnered with a silent, yet skilled planker, held the plank 33% longer, while those with
vocal partners did them only 22% longer. The takeaway here is that a strong, silent training partner/coach is the way to go.
To read Regie Simmons full article purchase the Volume 6 Issue 6 of Natural Bodz magazine Click here