How does confidence underline your exercise motivation? And how do you boost it?

Simon Long

Simon Long

Simon is a highly experienced personal trainer and behavioural psychology expert
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When it comes to starting exercise, confidence is everything! If you feel you don’t know how to train at the gym, your chances of starting and sticking with it drops dramatically.

Sad face =[
If we’re going to get technical and scientific in this joint (And we are. Obviously. I’m still Simon), then this confidence is what we call Self-Efficacy. So what is it? How do you build it? And how can you use it to improve your chances of getting started and seeing it through this time?

Let’s begin….

So what is self-efficacy?


Self-efficacy- an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviours necessary to produce specific performance attainments.


It’s really just a fancy way of saying “Your situational self’-belief”. Which is itself a fancy way of saying “Do you think you’re any good at X?”.

Everyone’s self-efficacy will vary wildly across different situations. For me personally:

High self-efficacy: My ability to explain how behaviour change works to a client.

Medium self-efficacy: My ability to create engaging online content.

Low self-efficacy: My ability to cook a roast dinner.

I mean everything has to be timed to finish together. Why is it so complicated….

Where my self-efficacy is high, I have a real drive to do those behaviours. I’m motivated! When my self-efficacy is hovering around a medium level, I think I could definitely improve, and I may find getting motivated to do these behaviours harder. And if I have low self-efficacy around a task, I’m probably going to actively avoid it (Sorry Demi!! Love you!).

It’s the exact same deal with your willingness to exercise at the gym or go for a run. If you think you’re a training prodigy, you’ll have to be dragged away from the squat rack/ running track. If on the other hand, you feel like an absolute newbie, then getting motivated will be waaay harder.

Great…So I don’t feel like a training prodigy. So now what?

Cliché as it is, the saying “practise makes perfect” is everywhere for a reason. Think of it this way. When you were born, all you could do was breath, eat (messily) and poop/pee (also messily). Everything else, even the things you do think you’re amazing at, you had to practise.

Seems obvious, but well worth taking on board. So in the space of exercise, do keep in mind that you will get better, as long as you stay consistent. This is where training partners and personal trainers come in (Online training you say? Well yes I DO have clients from around the world. Get involved!). As they help you to improve by keeping you motivated and teaching you how to improve.

I’ll be putting together an article in the next week or so on the very specific things you and those who work with you do to build up your self-efficacy, so you can really see how to boost it. But that isn’t the point of today’s article. So keep an eye on my Facebook and Youtube to catch it!

But you may well be thinking “Great. So your advice is I may have low motivation right now because I suck at exercise, but if I just keep going I’ll get better? So insightful!”

I mean really Simon…

But no my young padawan. It’s an important concept to understand. But I’ve got some slightly better advise for you.

Go on….

Okay. So those of you who pay attention to my blog (and I thank you!) you may have seen a recent video about how your body doesn’t discriminate on what counts as exercise (there were two videos in fact).

So how does this link in? Well, it means you aren’t limited to doing things you don’t feel confident in. For some examples let’s say:

You have low self-efficacy for running at the gym.

Medium self-efficacy for hiking around the woods.

But high self-efficacy for playing astronauts and aliens with the kids.

Then forget running at the gym! Cancel your membership! And structure in playing with your kids as a regular routine (i.e. treat it as a workout. When you’ll do it. What you’ll do. How long for. All that jazz).

You best believe they’ll come up with a ton of ways to make you work!

You’ll be FAR more likely to actually start doing it, and way more likely to stick with it. Meaning BISH (you’ve got started), BASH (you’re going to keep it up) and BOSH (you’ll be getting fit and losing weight).

So stop making life hard for yourself! Find some kind of activity you have confidence in, and use that to get moving!

Any questions ping them to me in the comments, on Facebook messenger or get in touch via my email etc.

Outside of that, if you’re after an amazing meal planner, my Body Vision app is filling up with recipes as we speak. It’s 100% free to use, has no ads, and allows you to just choose the meals you want and add them in at the size that fits your calorie needs. Easy!

Grab it on Apple or Android now!

And of course, for those of you blessed with more hair than me, you can check out my wife’s hairstyle page, Here Come The Blondes, for all the tips you’ll ever need.

Until next time though, PEACE!


Simon Long - Leicester Personal Trainer