Empowered Strength

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Being Active: What’s Best for Your Unique Motivation Type?

How many times have you heard someone say one of the following?

“I need to workout,” or, “I should get some exercise.”

While these statements may be true for the individual stating them, it may or may not be explicitly correct. Don’t get us wrong, everyone needs some form of physical activity. But, the form in which that physical activity comes may not be what you originally thought.

When it comes to being active, it’s interesting to know the distinction between terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. Now, while the difference between these terms is not the most important thing in the world, it can be extremely helpful and enlightening to understand the reason behind why you would do one or the other.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make a much better decision about what you should be doing based off your Motivation Type.

Physical Activity:

This is any activity that takes you away from sedentary behavior. It’s all-encapsulating and ranges all the way from walking, to water polo, to fire juggling, to swinging on the monkey bars.

Kids naturally fall into this sort of behavior. They aren’t out there rough-housing because they need to drop some fat or get on the cover of Men’s Health. They’re out there moving simply because they can and because they’re having fun.

Physical activity is for everyone and is an especially good option for those individuals who aren’t motivated by anything else except the sheer enjoyment of something. Physical activity has no real purpose, which is sometimes why it is so valuable as an option.

Really, sometimes this is just Play.


This is Physical Activity done for a specific health benefit, such as running for cardiovascular improvement or weightlifting to boost muscle/bone density.

You know exercise as what everyone “needs.” Exercise is specific in its use for improving health and is necessary for those individuals who must have those health improvements. Fat loss, bone density, coordination, heart/lung health, etc.

Exercise is of the greatest benefit to those who are most motivated by their health, whether it be for themselves or loved ones.


This is Exercise done with no clear long term plan and is meant more to produce the stimulus of intense physical activity; the specific goal of a workout, is generally the workout itself.

An example is running 3 miles and doing 100 pull ups because that’s what you felt like doing. Or, going to the gym and doing any assortment of random exercises. Or, random bouts of Yoga.

Working out is best for those individuals who are most motivated by the feeling of feeling active, strong, agile, and capable. These individuals may not have any specific goals, but they care deeply about moving, moving stuff, and just being active in general.


This is a Workout, or a series of planned Workouts, done with a clear long term plan that is meant to elicit a specific result.

Working Out to eventually Bench 400lbs or run a marathon, is called training.

Training is best for those individuals who are most motivated by a clear and specific goal. More often than not, that goal is performance of some kind, but isn’t always the case.


This is the end result of Training: to do a singular event or series of events of maximal effort in order to see what your capabilities are.

Performing is best for those individuals who are most motivated by competition, whether against others or themselves. These people are most usually refer to as athletes.

So, as you can see, there isn’t an extreme difference between any of these terms that fall under the vast umbrella of “Physical Activity.”

But, there is quite a big discrepancy between what motivates different people.

If competition is your proverbial “slice of cake,” then Training and Performance are the key to producing consistent effort and results towards your goals.

However, if you’re more Type B and don’t understand why anyone would do anything that they don’t enjoy doing, then it may never be necessary to venture into any specific, regimented plan, but instead do what you want, when you feel like it.

Take the time to ask yourself, “What motivates me?”

Only with that answer, truthfully answered, can you make quality steps towards health and strength.

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