Pokémon Go Gyms: How to defend, attack, earn coins, get stardust

What's the heart-shaped meter, Motivation, and feeding?

Pokemon Go Motivation meters in Gyms

The heart-shaped meter is what shows the current Motivation level of a Pokémon in a Gym. Motivation is your Pokémon's willingness to stay in the Gym and keep fighting. When you first place your Pokémon in a Gym, it immediately loses some Motivation. It will then keep losing Motivation (and, thus CP) over time down to 20%.

It will also lose Motivation very fast if it battles and is defeated by a rival Pokémon. Until it is attacked by a rival Pokémon, however, a Pokémon's Motivation cannot fall below 20%. Once your Pokémon loses all its Motivation by being defeated in battle, it'll leave the Gym and return to your collection.

Wait, your Pokémon loses Motivation the moment you place it on a Gym?

They do. When initially placed in a Gym, a Pokémon will be at 92% Motivation so always make sure to give your Pokémon a Berry when you first place them into a Gym.

How fast do Motivation and CP drain over time?

Motivation decays at a rate that is tied directly to your Pokémon's max CP. Pokémon with a very low max CP will decay very slowly, near 1% per hour. Pokémon with very high max CP decay much faster, up to 10% per hour. That's not to say you shouldn't put really strong Pokémon in Gyms. Weaker Pokémon can be knocked out easily enough after all. But it does mean you will likely spend more Berries keeping your high CP Pokémon's Motivation up than you would for something with a lower CP.

How fast do Motivation and CP drain from battle?

You knock 28% of total motivation off a Pokémon if you defeat it in battle the first or second time. The third defeat without a Berry will knock it out of the Gym. If a Pokémon's Motivation has already decayed considerably, you could knock it out in a single battle.

How do you regain Motivation and CP in Pokémon Go?

You can feed any Pokémon on the same team, including your own, a berry to regain motivation and CP. Nanab Berry, Pinab Berry, and Razz Berry all return the same amount of motivation and CP, while a Golden Razz Berry returns full motivation and CP. So, yeah, finally a use for Nanab Berries!

The amount of motivation returned by Berries decelerates rapidly, though. It gets reduced the faster, and more frequently, you feed the Pokémon, and you can only feed a limit of 10 berries to 10 Pokémon every 30 minutes. The exception is Golden Razz. They return 100% motivation every single time you feed one.

If you are in range of a friendly Gym, you can feed any Pokémon within that Gym, even if you aren't holding one of the spots. On the other hand, if you have a Pokémon at a Gym, you can feed it and any other in that Gym remotely from either your Gym Badges or the Pokémon's profile.

How do you know when you need to feed a Pokémon?

Pokemon Go Gym feed notifications

You get a pop-up notification when your Pokémon has lost significant Motivation.

  • (Pokémon name) needs attention

If you miss it, you can also check your Journal, though different wording is used there:

  • (Pokémon name) needs a treat

Then you can decide if you want to feed your Pokémon a Berry.

How do you feed a berry to a same-team Pokémon on a Gym?

Pokemon Go Gym Berry Donphan

Pokemon Go Gym Berry Donphan (Image credit: iMore/ Rene Ritchie)

You'll be doing this a lot. A lot. So it's good that it's simple.

  1. Approach a Gym until you're within range. It has to be a Gym currently controlled by your own team (if you're Valor/Red, it has to be Valor/Red.)
  2. Tap on the Gym.
  3. Tap the Pokémon you want to feed.
  4. Tap on the (Golden) Razz Berry button at the bottom left to change the type of berry, then tap on the Berry you want to switch to.
  5. Tap on the Berry to feed it to the Pokémon.

Since Razz Berries, Pinap Berries, and Nanab Berries all provide the same amount of motivation, Nanab — having no other real benefit in the game — should be your go-to. (Would that Pokémon Go defaulted to it!) Golden Razz Berries fill 100% of motivation.

Remember, you can feed your Pokémon who are defending a Gym you have a Pokémon in long-distance, no matter where you are, by visiting the Gym Badge or your defending Pokémon's page.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.