How to Stick to Your Fitness Goals with Joe De Sena

For many people, motivating yourself to exercise is an ongoing project. Many of us struggle with getting and staying motivated when it comes to our exercise and movement practices. In his new book, today's guest Joe De Sena shares a few ways to get off the couch (and stay off the couch).

Brock Armstrong
3-minute read
Episode #410

For some people, simply working out is hard. For others, maintaining the motivation to work out is even harder. In fact, a University of Alberta study concluded that people are more likely to throw in the towel on an exercise program when life or slow progress get in the way.

The study followed 273 people, who identified themselves as being sedentary, between the ages of 35 and 65. The participants were asked to do a structured series of strength and cardio sessions three times per week for one year. After the year was up, the author of the study interviewed some people who completed the program along with some of the 60 percent of participants who dropped out.

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The interviews culminated in two research papers. One called You Can't Always Get What You Want: Expectations, Outcomes, and Adherence of New Exercisers, and one titled When You Don't Get What You Want — and it's Really Hard: Exploring Motivational Contributions to Exercise Dropout.

Yes, you read that right. 60 percent of the people in the study dropped out before the one year mark. In my estimation that is a pretty high attrition rate given they were only asked to hit the gym for one hour, three times per week. 

You likely didn't need a study to tell you that adhering to an exercise program is tough. We all struggle with motivation from time to time. As I coach, I often feel more like a cheerleader than the "fitness architect" that I see myself as and that means that I am always on the lookout for new ways to keep my athletes motivated. 

I recently read—no, devoured—Joe De Sena's new book, The Spartan Way: Eat Better. Train Better. Think Better. Be Better., which literally left me chatting excitedly at anyone who would listen about the new ways I was learning about how to motivate and be motivated. 

I recently had a chance to interview Joe about his new book and got him to dive deeper into some of the ideas he writes about.

As well as being an author, Joe is the founder and CEO of Spartan obstacle race, and executive producer of NBC’s television show "Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge." In the interview, Joe digs into his theories of personal motivation and why he thinks people fail to follow through on their fitness goals. 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How Spartan races are different from the other races out there.
  • How finding your true calling (or your North Star) can make staying motivated easier.
  • Tips on how to stay motivated when you are faced with tough choices.
  • Why so many people fail to put a plan in place. 
  • How when your desire to succeed is as strong as your desire to breathe, you can't help but be successful. 

Make sure to pick up Joe's book The Spartan Way: Eat Better. Train Better. Think Better. Be Better. and, if you are like me, I advise you to get the hardcover version so you can excitedly write all over it. 

For more motivation info, planning tips, and to join the Spartan conversation, head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy or twitter.com/getfitguy. Also don't forget to subscribe to the Get-Fit Guy podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play or via RSS.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Brock Armstrong Get-Fit Guy

Brock Armstrong was the host of the Get-Fit Guy podcast between 2017 and 2021. He is a certified AFLCA Group Fitness Leader with a designation in Portable Equipment, NCCP and CAC Triathlon Coach, and a TnT certified run coach. He is also on the board of advisors for the Primal Health Coach Institute and a guest faculty member of the Human Potential Institute.