No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness – a book Review
We start out with the best intentions. We’re going to exercise more and get in shape! Then five days a week at the gym turns into two… then becomes none. We hit the snooze button and skip the morning run.
We really do want to be healthy and fit, but we’re overwhelmed and overextended—and exercise feels like another chore to complete. Is it any wonder we don’t stick with it?
Behavior expert Michelle Segar has devoted her career to the science of motivation. In No Sweat, she reveals that while “better health” or “weight loss” sound like strong incentives, human beings are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over delayed benefits. In other words, we’re not going to exercise unless it makes us happy right now.
So what’s the solution? To achieve lasting fitness, we have to change our minds—before we can change our bodies. In No Sweat, Segar shows us how. Translating twenty years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program, she helps readers broaden their definition of exercise, find pleasure in physical activity, and discover realistic ways to fit it into their lives. Activities we enjoy, we repeat—making this evidence-based system more sustainable in the long run than a regimen of intense workouts. Even if we don’t sweat, we really benefit.
The success of the clients Segar has coached testifies to the power of her program. Their stories punctuate the book, entertaining and emboldening readers to break the cycle of exercise failure once and for all. Getting in shape has never been so easy—or so much fun.
From the Back Cover
Do you secretly hate exercising? Struggle to stick with a program? Millions of people try and fail to stay fit. But what if “exercising” is the real problem, not you?
No Sweat translates years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program that will empower you to break the cycle of exercise failure once and for all. You’ll discover why you should forget about willpower and stop gritting your teeth through workouts you hate. Instead, you’ll become motivated from the inside out and start to crave physical activity. You’ll be hooked!
Practical, proven, and loaded with inspiring stories, No Sweat makes getting fit easier—and more fun—than you ever imagined. Get ready to embrace an active lifestyle that you’ll love.
No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: AMACOM (June 10, 2015)
My review of No Sweat
With that kind of introduction, expectations run high and given Dr.Michelle Segar’s reputation, she certainly lives up to them in this path-breaking book.
Lucidly written, this empowering book is full of takeaways for those who think exercise is a bad word and find it difficult to find the motivation to stick to any fitness program. I mean, who hasn’t been there? Great intentions, probably a super start that quickly wanes with a fizzle once life gets in the way. Exercise is something that is all too easy to postpone, sometimes forever. Even the best of us tend to drop out after a few months.
Dr Segar teaches you how to escape the vicious cycle of failure without breaking a sweat. The Vicious Cycle is the cycle of try, fail, try again, fail again. It is vicious because it sets us up to fail again and again and again—despite our best intentions. And every failure, every bad experience, reinforces the “Meaning” we hold for exercise.
It all begins with exploring what the word exercise actually means to you. Your answer will influence your motivation levels, the decisions you make and the way you cope with challenges – and of course, how you sustain activity. The author encourages us to start by pondering the question: why do we want to start exercising? What holds you back?
Reframe the way you look at “exercise” forever
Dr Segar zaps the myth that willpower is all you need to achieve lasting behavior change. She offers a more stable strategy to help you find the “right whys”, make a plan, stick to it and reach your fitness goals.
Consider it a motivational manual that helps you develop the self care habit to bring about sustainable change. If you want to set goals, change your behavior and improve your lifestyle, this is the book to read, following by taking action.
“No Sweat!” is especially for those who are looking for ways to feel better, live better, and become happier, healthier, and fit. The whole idea is to look at physical activity as a gift, not a painful chore that must be over and done with. The book is also targeted at health and wellness professionals to help them help their patients.No Sweat is also a resource for people who don’t feel comfortable or confident prioritizing time for their own self care.
Doing What You Enjoy Is a Better Motivator for Exercising – and It Works
No Sweat is founded on the belief that as a rule, human beings are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over benefits we have to wait to receive. Most of the time, our motivation is triggered by emotions, not logic. However,there is scientific proof that physical activity brings about changes in our brain leading to happiness. Regular exercise means: more energy, better sleep, less stress, less depression, enhanced mood, improved memory, less anxiety, better sex life, higher life satisfaction, more creativity, and better well-being overall.
The good news is, you don’t always have to stick to a strict regimen of intense workouts. Practically any physical activity choices and intensity will be effective so long as you choose activities you love and enjoy doing. This includes daily chores such as house cleaning, gardening, and walking – in fact, even reducing the time you spend sitting can help!
With the information in No Sweat, you can throw away your “old map” to fitness. Adopt this no-strict-diet, no-do-it-till-it-burns workout attitude to open up a brand new view of fitness and health and transform your thoughts about what is possible, including your approach to self care.
Self care fuels what matters most
No Sweat recommends “MAPS” – Meaning, Awareness, Permission, and Strategy, a flexible, safe and sciencebased approach to exercise and self care that can be customized to your specific needs. It shows you how to enjoy the benefits of daily physical movement for life.
No Sweat starts by taking you from where you are currently, to a new place where you incorporate physical movement and self care into your life seamlessly, making you feel great and focus on what matters. The last part of the book helps you create the steps you need to help you tackle life’s challenges and gifts with confidence as you make self care a lifetime habit.
What sustains us, we sustain
Finally, the author advises you to take every opportunity you can to move. Do what makes you feel good and stop doing what makes you feel bad. Your meaning for exercise creates your relationship with an approach to exercise.
What I loved about the book:
- The examples quoted throughout – stories of real people who’ve struggled with motivation.
- The “It’s your move” self-exploration exercise at the end of each chapter that nudges us to reflect on our personal relationship with the chapter we just read.
- The takeaways at the end of each chapter
- The concept of identifying “personal projects”
- The division of the book into four sections: Meaning, Awareness, Permission and Strategy – which translates to the MAPS strategy
- The part about exorcising exercise and turning it from a chore to a gift
- Discovering hidden opportunities to move – and lots of examples that are doable right away
- Learning a new word “Caretakeritis” and its symptoms
No Sweat is definitely a health guide that doubles up as a personal development manual – after all, all health begins with a commitment to self care – and one that must reside on your frequently visited bookshelf.
Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Behavior, Change Your Life
About the author:
MICHELLE SEGAR, PH.D., motivation scientist and author of No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness is the leading authority on what motivates people to choose and maintain healthy behaviors. Pioneering new approaches to sustainable behavior change in the fitness, health, and wellness arenas, Segar is Director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center (SHARP) at the University of Michigan, and Chair of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan’s Communications Committee. Her 360-degree perspective is informed by more than two decades of award-winning research, individual fitness coaching, and consulting, uniquely positioning her to help organizations understand and leverage the emotional drivers and internal rewards of consumers’ health decisions. Her expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Elle, Prevention, and other major media. She lives in Ann Arbor. Visit her website www.michellesegar.com
Thanks to the author for sending me a digital advance review copy of the book!