June 21 2017

Are you Motivated – by Anna Schrefl

Motivation – everything changes with or without it.

How easy a class can flow when we are training fully motivated; how fun it can be when our clients are enthusiastic about their workout. On the other hand, life can get very heavy when we drag ourselves through a class, when we must push clients who don´t really feel like working out. After two months of training, they still don´t look like Madonna or Matt Damon. And if they lose their motivation, we lose our clients.

Therefore, motivation has become a big and popular marketing thing. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of material on motivation out there – workshops, webinars and tools – all about making people catch fire and then catching those people. In marketing speak, after the acquisition phase, next comes retention: the phase in which you make clients keep visiting your studio.

I am not a marketing expert. However, in this article, I want to take a closer look at motivation from a sports psychology perspective.

Types of motivation

In science, researchers talk about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, depending on the degree to which a behaviour has been internalized into an individual sense of self. The intrinsically motivated exerciser is doing an activity “for its own sake”: to experience a pleasant physical sensation, to engage in a challenge or to learn a new thing without aiming for a special result. The extrinsically motivated exerciser might seek desirable consequences or avoid negative ones, such as receiving positive or negative reactions of the trainer, or they might want to socialize with other people or achieve good physical conditioning. Furthermore, extrinsic motivation can also be imposed by oneself to avoid a feeling of guilt if the training or task was not accomplished.  A third dimension of the motivation scale is “amotivation” – an absence of motivation usually characterized by a lack of perceived competence and/or a failure to value the activity or its outcomes.  The “amotivated” client is often the most frustrating (and the most energy-sapping) for many teachers.

Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation


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Anna Schrefl

Anna Schrefl studied contemporary dance at the Amsterdam School of Arts and the Modern Dance Academy in Rotterdam. In 2001 she finalized her Pilates training in New York with Romana Kryzanowska. She completed her Pilates Teacher Trainer training under Ton Voogt and Michael Fritzke and established the “Pilates System Europe – Certification Program” in 2006 under the supervision of Ton and Michael. Anna teaches special seminars for Pilates trainers around Europe and also works as a freelance choreographer. Since 2013, she is a certified advanced specialist in Spiraldynamik® and is currently becoming a lecturer of the Spiraldynamik® methodology. Since 2015, she has taken part in the Master of Dance Science Programme of the University of Bern. Anna is the director of Pilates System Europe® in Vienna.