One way to overcome this situation is by using "magnetically soft" material. Magnetically soft material has atoms that readily reverse polarity (a docile herd?) when exposed to alternating current. Naturally, since the reversing process happens more quickly, there is less wasted energy.
Now we have better ideas about how electricity works, we tend to talk about current as a flow of electrons, from negative to positive, in the opposite direction to the conventional current. When you are trying to figure out the rotation of a motor or a generator, be sure to remember that current means conventional current and not electron flow.
The first thing you will need to discover is whether you are dealing with a three-phase motor. You may already know this from the application, but another giveaway is that the lead wires of most three-phase motors are single colors, not multiple colors, and usually identified with numbers. If, on the other hand, the motor diameter is less than seven inches and has a terminal board, it is most likely a single-phase motor.
Here is where metallurgy comes into play. A motor rich in magnetically soft material will be more efficient, producing more work with less heat. And since the magnetic capacity of a motor also is influenced by the amount of active material (more core, more laminations), the tendency might be to try to add as much magnetically soft material to your design as possible.