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Accountability and Intrinsic Motivation | Articles | Matt Johnson's Strength Coach Concepts

Accountability and Intrinsic Motivation

A few days ago, I was brushing over my inbox while getting my daily dose of Facebook (you know we all do it).  Mixed amongst the "event invites", "page suggestions" and marketing campaigns, was a message from a past college athlete of mine, Dana Borges.

The message was about his recent trip to Portugal.  Halfway through the body of his message, I realized this update was different.  He told me about the beautiful places he visited, people he met and the sites he saw but he also told me about the workouts he crushed.  

It's vacation right?  You owe yourself a little rest and relaxation.  To many this may be the case but to a serious athlete, it’s just another day at the office.  By no means am I telling you to turn your vacations into training extravaganzas but be sure to practice a bit of smart strength and conditioning while you are traveling. Foam rolling, mobility work, tabata protocols or a pool workout.... all are examples of "smart" strength and conditioning that will help maintain your level of performance.  Plus, you won't have to battle regression once you return home.

Collegiate strength coaches dread spring break, absolutely despise it.  It doesn't matter if their athletes go away or visit home, they know only a handful will do the workouts.  To a number of coaches, the two weeks after spring break is described as the "spring break hangover".  The athletes are tired, struggling and lacking enthusiasm.  It becomes a re-building phase, a strength coach’s worst nightmare.  You feel sluggish, like you are moving in quicksand.... at what cost?  The three abbreviated lifts you missed have left you filled with regret and sick to your stomach.   

So why did Dana's email spark my interest?  One word, accountability.  A strength coach, personal trainer or physical therapist is only a small piece to the puzzle.  It's what you do when no one is watching.  Just you, your goals and a choice. In other words, "To Be or Not to Be".  Are you performing that flexibility program your strength coach gave you?  Are you adhering to the caloric values your personal trainer set forth?  Are you performing the band exercises your physical therapist showed you?  All are excellent examples of how being accountable will send your sports performance, weight loss or rehabilitation into the stratosphere.  

Accountability and motivation are two traits I try to instill in my athletes.  I have never had a problem with motivating my athletes.  It may seem crazy but I first teach them to be accountable.  In my opinion, accountability creates intrinsic motivation.  I start with teaching them to be accountable during simple tasks that benefit their performance such as sleep, nutrition, take home workouts, pre-training and post-training meals.  My thought is if they are accountable toward the "small" things they will be serious and motivated toward the "big" things, their training and obtaining their goals.

Here are a few pictures that Dana sent me of this workouts during his trip.  What are you doing to get better?


Stair Intervals:  Notice the man at the top of the stairs.  The power of accountability.

Tools of the Trade:  Homemade 20 kg Kettlebell constructed from 5 liter jug filled with sand and water.

Bodyweight Training:  TRX:  The take anywhere, do anything tool. 

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them"-Michael Jordan

Yours in Performance,




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