Motivation – it’s an essential component of exercise. With it, you’re goal setting, getting race PR’s (personal records), and nailing every interval. Without it, you’re missing workouts, making poor food choices and any exercise you actually manage to do… just sucks!
In today’s digital world there’s really no excuse for embarking on a fitness journey alone. Whether you’re motivated by hearing peer encouragement, seeing other people’s successes, finding new workouts or being held accountable–there’s an app (or online community) for that!
The fitness and behavioral science communities are investing time and research into understanding the many ways social media boosts performance.(1) They have found that the top ways social media can help you meet your goals are providing accountability, inspiration, information, and rewards.
How many times have you pressed snooze on the morning alarm or went straight home after work instead of hitting the gym? Would you skip that workout if you knew the world—or at least all of your buddies—would find out? Apps like Facebook and FourSquare will hold you accountable! Instead of just one training partner, all of your friends can hold you accountable. Training websites, such as TrainingPeaks not only allow you to log workouts, but you can also connect with a coach who will track your progress.
No matter how confident, self-motivated or goal focused we are, at some point in time we all need a little inspiration. Seeing others in action has a big impact and can encourage you to take it to the next level. I call Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest the Three Kings when it comes to social media and motivation. Free, supportive, visual, engaging and addicting – using any or all of these sites will most definitely keep your enthusiasm going. Seeing others getting out there and getting it done is a great kick in the butt. Here are two tips to get you started.
- Follow your favorite magazines, brands and workout gurus, such as @WomensHealthMag, @MensJournal, @mizunorunning , @JillianMichaels, on Twitter and Pinterest.
- Search for #hashtags on Instagram and Twitter for an endless supply of motivation. Start with #fitfluential, #plankaday, #workout, #swimbikerun and #plantpower.
If you want to try a new activity or gym before joining, look for hot deals on sites like Groupon, or Living Social. For access on the latest moves, trainers, and routines search YouTube. Equinox gym, Sarah Fit, and Blogilates have popular YouTube channels. Find reviews and recommendations for the best shoes, latest gadgets, or bike mechanics on blogs like Gear Junkie.
While motivation is a reward in itself—you can also use social media for monetary or merchandise rewards. Gym-Pact lets you put your money where your mouth is. Go to the gym and check-in with your phone and you’ll be rewarded with cash payouts. Skip your workouts, and both your bank account is penalized. Fitocracy caters to the competitive side that everyone has, by giving points for workouts ayou track, and awarding badges for every milestone. You can also sign up for challenges with friends or join community chat groups with members across the network.
Now that you’ve got the info, here are 3 quick tips for making the most of social media and #findingyourstrong:
- Get connected to the online community through any of the channels mentioned above or find local workout meet-up groups and get involved. Then pick a partner (or several) and contribute, participate, and celebrate.
- Send out virtual cheers, offer encouragement when someone’s race doesn’t go as planned and be sure to pat yourself on the back every once in a while too.
- Remember to keep-on keeping-on. Motivation ebbs and flows; it’s natural to lose excitement. Stay on top of it and keep finding new ways to get it done.
How do you use social media to stay motivated and on top of your goals? Use the hashtag #findingyourstrong and share them with me on Twitter and Instagram –@inpyn
- Turner-McGrievy GM, Tate DF. (2003). Weight loss social support in 140 characters or less: use of an online social network in a remotely delivered weight loss intervention. Translational Behavioral Medicine.