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  • 29/ May, 2017

3 methods to magnify motivation

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[3 min read] 

10 techniques discovered in 10 months that you can implement in 10 days

Magnify motivation, extract extra time, and amplify your energy


“… Motivation comes from within …


But does it actually?


Google this quote, dozens of variations and attributions appear. While some degree of natural motivation may be hardwired into DNA, I believe that there are specific actions and ways to arrange external environments to facilitate motivation. Thus, if motivation comes from within, you have the power to trigger motivation from with-out.


Here are 3 techniques discovered over the past 10 months of experimenting, that drive my personal motivation for achieving better health:



1)  Setting goals and creating stakes with consequences

Force the avoidance of failure.


Goal-based exercise programs, founded in specifics, with shared accountability, lead to greater compliance than a solo mission to “lose weight,” “gain weight,” or “get healthy.” Putting stakes ahead of the goal (e.g., signing up for a marathon, a bet with friends, announcing the start of a future business) clears the path for achievement. Even if motivation reduces to avoiding failure, it’s effective.

I’ve experienced this sentiment with FitInCorporate.

8 months ago I made it my goal to get in the best physical shape I could manage within the bounds of corporate life…and blog about it. Since my plan was to write about health and fitness – I had get in shape. Yes, it was effective (before and after case study to come).

For more on this motivational strategy, see Tim Ferriss’ DiSSS method:


“… How do I set up stakes to create real consequences and guarantee I follow the program? …

Tim Ferriss, The Four Hour Chef



2)  Training with a partner

For mutual motivation and accountability.


I worked out with my brother in high school, my roommate in college, and then on my own in grad school and while traveling. Once I got used to solo training, the perceived benefits of a training partner faded.

Recently I started working out with my coworker Eric. Since combining efforts, we’ve exercised according to plan, with more intensity, and remained compliant to our diets. Together, we have seen greater progress in the past three months than in the previous six while solo.


Even Arnold agrees with the benefits of a gym buddy:


After training for a year in California without a partner, Arnold Schwartzenager convinced gym owner, Joe Weider to fly over his former training buddy, Franco Columbo. He believed he would be more successful with someone to push him through bouts of intensive training.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story


If you don’t have a readily available gym buddy, another great option is to hire a personal trainer. I highly recommend this one.



3)  Quantifying – before, during, after a training program

Quantification in the beginning of a program provides a baseline to compare progress against.


For body composition change (e.g,., fat loss, muscle gain), metrics to measure could include:

  • Body composition – At about ~$100, DEXA scans are the gold standard for measuring lean mass, fat mass, and bones density. Worth the investment if ‘improving the next scan’ acts as motivation
  • Photos – Like the DEXA scan, photos provide a point-in-time measurement to compare against and motivate improvement
  • Weight – change in weight should be carefully examined, since it does not account for body composition shifts e.g., fat to muscle. However, if strength and visible muscle mass are maintained, weight loss can approximate fat loss

These measurements scratch the surface of bio-quantification. Other interesting health indicators to track may be:

  • Blood markers – comprehensive metabolic panel for general health benchmarking (usually covered by insurance and as easy as asking your doctor, few will say ‘no’ to checking things like HDL, LDL, and triglycerides)
  • Heart rate variability (HRV) – I track this daily to approximate central nervous stress and determine training intensity that day (more content to come on this)
  • Sleep quality – test how actions like pre-bed habits affect sleep
  • Caloric burn/consumption – to approximate caloric deficit, abundance, or maintenance, dependent on body goals
  • Performance indicators – track progress in the gym with “classic” tests like 1 rep max, timed-mile, sit-and-reach, etc.


Now we’re motivated. But do we have the time to get after it?

Here are 3 ways to Extract extra time out of the day in Launch series part 3 [3 min read]




Written by Matt Hersh

Corporate consultant, fitness coach, amateur chef, blogger

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