Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivational Factors

Sara Bradley, IFBB Pro

How does someone define motivation? The Oxford Dictionary defines motivation as; ‘a desire or willingness to do something’ as well as ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’. This motivation is then split into two categories: Intrinsic and Extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is when someone participates in an activity without an external reward, an example of this is an athlete doing a sport purely for the enjoyment, while Extrinsic motivation is when someone behaves the way that they do to help him or her achieve an external award, for example doing a sport to win a trophy. Research actually shows that it is important for an athlete to have a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, because intrinsic motivation will push the athlete to better themselves while enjoying their sports, whilst extrinsic motivation will ensure that they want to win and have a strong competitive streak. When wanting to utilise intrinsic motivation, it is important to ensure you give yourself plenty of different opportunities to develop and learn. Sport is constantly changing and with new research being released every day, an athlete who is willing to increase their knowledge, is an athlete that is aware of what they need to do to become better. Furthermore, with this desire to learn comes the desire to self-develop, asking for feedback from colleagues or coaches also allows the athlete to set goals and aim for something in the future. This then ties in nicely to extrinsic motivation, if the athlete sets goals, it allows them to aim for this goal and when it’s completed, a feeling of success can be seen as that external reward, increasing motivation and drive.

So how can we increase these motivation levels?? In my opinion an obvious one is GOAL SETTING (this is something I focused on in my last blog!). These goals can be however big or small you want them to be, as long as you have a goal in mind it’ll give you something to aim for, this aim can then help keep motivation levels high. For me, a big aim of 2021 was to earn my pro card in the WPD  and I found during the entirety of my prep, that it was that little bit easier because I had that end goal, this is something that everyone should utilise, no matter what you want to achieve, whether it be to getting onto a bodybuilding stage or to loose 10lbs, ALWAYS HAVE A GOAL (this will help with both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation levels). I also feel a massive aid in increasing motivation levels is the people you surround yourself with. Surrounding yourself with people who have high amounts of motivation, dedication, and drive, helps to put you in the same mind frame, which also allows you to develop yourself through learning off of people who might have slightly more knowledge than yourself, giving you the opportunity to develop through the application of new information. In my opinion if you can apply both these factors, then the chances of increasing both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors are automatically higher!

I hope this has helped break down the different types of motivation and how both can be useful when setting goals or finding what drives you forward! If there are any other topics you want me to talk about or touch upon then please get in contact with myself on Instagram (smallbutmighty20) or Fireball Labz!


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