How Tech Can Help To Keep You Motivated

20 Minute Fitness Episode #79

Today on the 20 Minute Fitness podcast we are getting into a topic that many of us struggle with, which is motivation. Taking the first step on your fitness journey is hard indeed. But what’s even harder is to keep going. And for this reason it is key to set the right goals and find the perfect source of motivation.

When we think about goals, we really have to know what will make a right type of goal. If we’re too ambitious, that can end in disappointment. And if we’re not ambitious enough then we probably won’t reach the desired commitment levels. Therefore, we recommend everyone to use the tried and true method of setting SMART goals.

Then, with that goal in mind, you can move on to finding the right source of motivation that will keep you going towards actually reaching it. Press play to hear about the innovations out there that we found to be helpful in the department of motivation!

Three Things You Will Learn

1) Social Power That Will Keep You Pushing

One of the greatest sources of motivation comes from your friends, family and sometimes even people who you don’t now. An app that builds on this social power is BodySpace.

BodySpace is a social fitness app run by bodybuilding.com and has a big community of health & fitness enthusiast users. After creating your profile and inputting your personal data, the app lets you connect with like-minded people from their community.

Within BodySpace you can follow your friends, make new workout buddies and gain some inspiration from other users’ stories. Listen to this week’s episode and learn more about BodySpace aka “the Facebook of fitness apps” and how it will provide you with the motivation you need!

2) Reward Yourself & Others As You Move

Another amazing way to motivate yourself can be through rewards. Rewarding yourself for every bit of exercise you do and knowing that there’s something tangible you’ll receive for your hard work will definitely push you to your limits.

Sweatcoin is an app that helps with setting up this reward system. All you have to do is sweat and they’ll pay with their digital currency for it. The prizes you can spend your digital currency on vary all the time and of course for greater achievements there’re greater rewards.

A bit of a different concept but also built on a reward system is Charity Miles. The main difference here is that with Charity Miles, you’re moving for a charity of your choice. After each minute of exercise, you’ll earn money and donate it to one of their 40 charity partners.

The motivation with this app doesn’t only stem from the thought of helping others, but also from reading all the inspiring stories that Charity Miles‘ users share with the community.

Press play and hear more about how Charity Miles works and how its users have already raised over $2.5 million!

3) Where to Look For Greater Accountability

All the amazing apps out there are great if you only need a little push to do that extra burpee every day. However if you’re struggling with more significant health and/or motivational issues, you might need to look for something more scientific.

This is where health & fitness gadgets, different wearables and trackers come into the picture. Once you start using any fitness tracker, you’ll get exposed to a wide array of data that will present you with the truth about your daily activity. You can use this data to see where you’re currently at, set SMART goals and track your progress against them.

But if you’re not a big fan of the dry numbers approach, you can also call an AI health coach for help. Lark is “the leading chronic disease prevention and management platform”. It is designed for people who might be facing more serious health issues, such as type 2 diabetes.

With Lark‘s AI coach, you’ll be connected to an sms line through which you can receive motivation and advice 24/7. This way you can get the instant feedback and recommendations that won’t let you lose your focus on harder days that you may have.

Listen on and hear more about why Lark is such a great platform for those who need a real push to put the effort into their health & fitness progress!

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Full Transcript:

00:04: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of 20-minute Fitness. I hope you’re well, and you enjoyed our fitness out round up for may. If you did, then please don’t forget to head to Apple Podcasts and click that five-star rating, and also tell a friend about 20 Minute Fitness. It’d be really appreciated, and obviously it will help them learn about all the great tech out there that will get them closer towards their fitness goals.

00:26: So again, we’ve summer around the corner, it is now crunch time. Maybe you’ve been dieting for a little while, and you’re beginning to find you’re starting to slip up and cheat on your diet, or potentially you’re starting to skip those runs you’ve been going on and having a few drinks with friends instead. And so this is the time to really make sure that we stay motivated and keep moving towards our goal. And so this week, we’re going to look at the tech that are going to be your saving grace. It’s the tech that’s going to boost your motivation, and help you lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.

00:57: But before we get started, of course, this episode is powered by a ShapeScale. ShapeScale is a 3D-body scanning scale. You simply step on and the robotic arm will spin all around your body capturing all sorts of incredible body data. That is then synced with the shape app. And then you can access the app and see a photorealistic avatar of your body. Along with that, as well, you see the quantitative data, such as your body fat percentage, your lean muscle mass, and your muscle girth measurements. So it really gives you a visual picture and the data to go alongside it, making ShapeScale a truly comprehensive fitness tracker. It is now available for pre-order at shapescale.com. So definitely go and check it out. ShapeScale could also be all the motivation you need.

01:43: So before we actually dive into the tech today, it’s worth mentioning that motivation can obviously come from an intrinsic source, from within, and extrinsic sources as well. However, although extrinsic motivation’s great, getting people to help and support you, dependence on other people to get you to change your habits is not what we want. We want to be able to build as well intrinsic motivation. Yes, others can help support you, drag you to the gym even, to keep you accountable, but in order to keep this motivation going and to actually induce behavioral change, we need that intrinsic motivation. We need that real want to get to that end goal. And so we’ve got to set realistic goals that we can actually see yourselves moving towards, and that’s why we set what is known as smart goals: The specific measurable, attainable or achievable, relevant and time-bound goals. So think hard about those elements before you set yourself that goal, and then get out and smash it. Obviously, motivation and commitment go hand in hand, so if you get that motivation, you know you’re gonna stay committed to that goal and you’ll inevitably achieve it as well. And this tech that we’re about to talk to will help you find that intrinsic motivation.

02:48: So first up, in the most accessible category, we have BodySpace, the social fitness app from bodybuilding.com. And bodybuilding.com, as many of you will know, are the world’s largest online fitness store. But before we get into the app itself, it’s also worth mentioning that BodySpace is also an online fitness community that you can access from your laptop and desktop, so it’s not purely just the app that you have access to. It allows you to connect with like-minded people, and you can sign up for a free account online and input your stats and your height, your weight, and then select your main goal, and so on. So it’s actually really cool. There’s a supplementary source to the app as well, but now let’s get on to the app. So tech advisor actually called BodySpace, the Facebook of fitness apps. The BodySpace app has expert advice and programs from professional trainers and athletes such as Jim Stoppani. Jim Stoppani is someone who’s got a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, and he was also a senior science editor for Muscle & Fitness magazine. So you can expect some obviously great workouts, but also difficult workouts from him.

03:52: And there’s also advice from Ashley Conrad who has trained actors and actresses like Bradley Cooper and Kate Hudson. So you can be sure that these programs are going to kick ass. And along with that, as well, you’re also able to choose from thousands of top-rated community build programs, and these can be tailored to your own goal, your experience level, and to how often you train as well. So there’s a whole bank of different programs for you to follow so you can mix up your training to make sure that you stay motivated. You can also add the training program into the integrated calendar within the BodySpace app. And within the calendar, you can also create to-do lists, and you can also receive reminders, which will obviously make sure that you stay accountable and motivated as well. So why is it so social?

04:37: Well, within the app, you can actually follow friends much like Facebook and other social media as well. So you can create your own social network from within and coordinate with others. So potentially, you can meet up and train together or even if you follow someone who is posting about their success, maybe they’ve just lost three pounds. That could be all the inspiration you need to get out there and keep moving towards your own goal. And then perhaps, you can start sharing your own triumphs and progress pictures as well, and you can ask questions to other people, and just having the fact that people will be supporting you along the way as well, gives you that extrinsic motivation that you may need.

05:10: Moving on, and next step, we have Charity Miles. This app is absolutely great. It allows you to earn money for charity when you get out and exercise, so that means that the closer you get towards your goal by logging different miles is gonna help you do a great deed as well. So that’s an awesome source of motivation, if you ask me. And together, members of Charity Miles have already raised over $2.5 million for charity. And by getting involved, you can dramatically boost that figure and help the cause, whilst also obviously getting fitter yourself. So Charity Miles works like a pedometer or a run tracker. So you simply start and stop your workout and track your distance, and you can choose from 40 charities to support, including the WWF, Operation Smile, Stand Up To Cancer, and many more. So find one that’s close to your heart and move with purpose. And if you really think about the fact that you’re helping people as you exercise, it really will be the intrinsic motivation that you’re looking for. And the amount paid to each charity depends on the miles logged to support it, and it’s all made possible through sponsors who aligned with health and community activism. So it’s a really great initiative, and it’s something that I think loads of people would love to get involved with.

06:22: Another source of motivation as well, that comes from Charity Miles is reading the stories of other members that you can find in the Charity Miles website in their member spotlight. And just hearing their inspirational stories and the miles they’ve logged for charity will definitely make you want to get out and exercise yourself. So if you haven’t already, download Charity Miles and start helping those in need.

06:42: Next up, we have a very simple app called FitQuote. And FitQuote basically delivers a daily motivational fitness quote to your phone to help you start the day right. And it’s obviously start the day thinking about how you’re going to get that exercise in and driving you towards it obviously. So FitQuote includes quotes like these from Zig Ziglar, who is an American author, a motivational speaker, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last, well neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” So each day you’ll receive a motivational quote from an iconic figure, and you can even find out about the person behind the quote as well within the app. So download FitQuote and save your favorite, share them with us as well. It’d be really interesting and get out there and sweat.

07:24: We’ve also previously mentioned SweatCoin, and SweatCoin is the app that rewards you with digital currency that you can then spend on the products and services that are offered by their partner merchants through the app. So there’s different prizes every so often. Well quite consistently, there’s different prizes, and there are some serious prizes also that demand some serious exercise. So keep motivated and you might find yourself eventually getting the latest iPhone free of charge, well, paying through sweat obviously.

07:54: The final app we’re looking at in this category is Human. And Human provides a very simple and easy to use interface to track your daily activity. You can use it to record a visual diary of your day and then you’re able to share the results with others. So Human tracks your activity based on time and it gets you to strive towards doing 30 minutes of activity each day. And it doesn’t really matter what type of activity this is: It could be walking, it could be running or cycling, or a hitch workout, circuit training, going to the gym, you name it. And it functions much like the Apple activity ring. So it tries to give you an idea of how close you are to completing that daily 30 challenge. So if you’re someone like myself who likes to make sure you’ve finished those daily challenges, then this is a great source of motivation.

08:41: But on top of that you can also dive into your activities to see your calories burnt, your distance traveled, and your speed as well. So it gives you the standard functionalities of fitness apps. But I find that the real source of motivation comes with the pulse feature, and pulse compares your activity levels with those of your city. By this I mean that it compares the relative activity levels of people in your city who are also using the human app, so you can understand how you compare to others and whether or not potentially you’re doing enough. And this bit of healthy competition will really keep you motivated because you’re gonna strive to rise up the ranks. And obviously, it’d be nice to be crowned the most active in your city or your localized area as well.

09:20: Now we’re getting to move on to the mid-level category, and really we find most fitness trackers in this category. So your generic trackers, like your Fitbit devices, your Apple devices, and these all work well for motivation because you can see where your current activity levels are. And obviously, through checking them, you’re increasing your accountability and you’re then motivated to work harder because you want to comply. So for example, the 10k steps, people want to achieve this, and they’ll always be looking to see how many steps they’ve done for the day and they’ll want to make sure that they hit that 10k step goal as well. So that will give you a source of motivation, or for Apple Watch users, it might be the activity rings. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about fitness trackers before, so we wouldn’t go into a specific tracker as you know that the majority by now and their different functionalities. But it is something to bear in mind that tracking and using these wearables can make you more motivated due to both consciously and subconsciously thinking about your goals.

10:17: Having someone check in on you is also a great source of accountability. And we’ve mentioned a number of apps in the past which supports the user as they connect you with a coach or check in on you and ensure you’re crushing your goals and they’ll make sure they give you that motivation when it really dips, when you’re finding it the most tough, this is the most critical time to keep on going. And this is what coaches do for you. They really inspire you to keep pushing. And the apps we talked about before are Rise, which pairs you with a nutrition coach, or The Vi-Trainer, which requires you to get out and get those headphones which are powered by AI, and they give you personalized workouts and assessments of your running, whether you need to slow down or push faster. We’ve mentioned Freeletics in the past, Vida, pairing you with a health coach that you can face-time with and discuss your goals.

11:02: But today, we’re going to highlight another app with slightly different functionality called Lark. So Lark is really multi-functional. It can be used for a number of different motivations really, these being: If you want to lose weight or get fit or prevent diabetes and many more. It’s probably best for individuals that are already trying to find that motivation to completely transform their lives. For example, if they’re at risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes or have high blood pressure. As it describes itself as the leading chronic disease prevention and management platform, using proven AI health coaching to deliver better health outcomes. So how does Lark work? Well, Lark becomes your personal coach, tracking your diets, your exercise, your sleep, and even your medication. And through SMS messages, it will provide you with the motivation and advice whenever you need it, it’s 24/7.

11:49: So there are different tiers of Lark for you to try. So there’s Lark Basic, which is the free activities, sleep tracking and coaching. And then more advanced versions like Lark Weight Loss Pro, which provides you with a personalized health plan, nutrition coaching, and a weight loss coach. And then they’ve even got the more specialized functions like Lark diabetes Care, which includes glucose monitoring feedback and diabetes education. And what’s great about Lark is that it’s got a number of different credentials as well. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized Lark’s diabetes prevention program to fully replace a live healthcare professional.

12:26: So I think the best way to really describe Lark and how it can keep you motivated is to really give an example. So say someone knows they have to control their blood pressure. Obviously this is difficult. It means you have to monitor your diet, the amount of exercise you do and so on. So Lark’s coach will send a wireless blood pressure monitor to the user and whenever the monitor is used, feedback will be sent to the user via SMS. And as an all-encompassing fitness tracker, Lark will look through what you’ve logged in terms of your diet and things like that as well. And it may see that you’ve consumed a lot of food that’s high in sodium, so bacon or sausage and things like that. And then it will make recommendations based on this to help you lower your blood pressure. So it might say you should start by limiting your processed foods or it might give you recommendations about what to replace in your diet. It might even recommend you to get out and do some exercise.

13:16: So it really does keep you accountable by really providing comprehensive advice. And the fact that you’re connected to it 24/7 can also help you throughout your times of weakness, potentially if you’re about to eat something you really shouldn’t be or make sure by connecting of Lark that you stay in touch with your goal. I think Lark is great because it’s more than just really giving you that motivation to reach your goal. It’s more about behavioral change and actually making you form healthier habits overall. So just to finish on Lark, the Weight Loss Pro, for example, will give an idea about how much the different tiers will cost. So the weight loss pro costs around $20 a month, which I think is well worth it considering the benefits of Lark and all-encompassing nature of the app.

14:00: Obviously there’s lots of great fitness tech out there, but none that really in the high level category that I’d class as specifically designed to help increase motivation, or none that I could find anyway. There’s lots of different apps, for example, where you’re working with personal trainers. There’s lots of different fitness trackers which should also be sources of motivation for you. But none that are really… Their unique value proposition is focused on increasing your motivation or making you stick to what it is you’ve set out to complete. But I did think it was worth mentioning that there used to be an app called Pact, and this was really the epitome of fitness motivation, in the sense that that was what really it centered around. So the app worked by you committing money to a health goal, for example. So whether that be, “I want to lose 10 pounds.” And then you would bet with real money that you’d be able to reach the goal within the given timeframe. And if you didn’t hit the goal, then you’d get charged. And obviously losing money is the ultimate source, or to stop that happening is the ultimate source of motivation. And it obviously tracked you doing this by, you would send photos, it would use localization data to understand whether you’ve been to the gym or not, to actually see whether you hadn’t completed your goal.

15:05: However, the company no longer exists after they had to pay out nearly $1 million back to customers who were wrongly charged even if they did complete their goals. So there are some flaws obviously there, but it is interesting to think about the fact that there’s apps like this exist and we can see that the search for motivation is therefore key, and providing external sources of motivation is key. So I think it’d be really interesting to see to how technology in the future can help keep us accountable and more motivated.

15:30: That’s all for this week, I really hope you enjoyed. I’d also be really interested to know what apps or fitness technology you use to help keep you accountable and motivated. What is your goal you’re trying to achieve and what different techniques, whether it involves tech or not, do you use to keep you on track? We would really love to find out, get in touch, share 20-minute fitness with your friends and make sure you head to Apple Podcasts and leave a five-star rating, it’d be very, very appreciated. Have a great day.

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Lilla Laczo

Lilla is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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