Huzzah! Salutations, and what it is Ladies and Gents!
Grab a chair, have a seat, pour yourself a glass of mead or your beverage of choice. It is time once again for another exhilarating, educational experience from the cosmos.
Today, we are going to speak on motivation. How to motivate yourself when all seems to be lost, or just not going right in your epic quest of fitness and excellence. I will use many musings, some of which will draw from my own experiences, and thoughts to illustriously illustrate and illuminate (yes) you on your path to greatness. As usual, this tome will probably not be short. So not only should you read it now, but you should find time to read it again, and share it a few times. After that, read it and share it again two more times. Thanks in advance.
What prompted me to write this? Well I was in the gym the other day, and a fellow gym bro, was rapping to me about being motivated. It made me think. I told him, for me sometimes the hardest part now is leaving the house, once I’m here I’m here. It made me think of what has kept me going, and how we can not just survive but thrive in our quest.
What is motivation? Well according to the dictionary via google, this is what came up;
mo·ti·va·tion/ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/Learn to pronouncenoun
- the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”escape can be a strong motivation for travel”synonyms:motive, motivating force, incentive, stimulus, stimulation, inspiration, impulse, inducement, incitement, spur, goad, provocation; More
- the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”keep staff up to date and maintain interest and motivation”synonyms:enthusiasm, drive, ambition, initiative, determination, enterprise, sense of purpose;informalget-up-and-go”keep staff up to date to maintain their interest and motivation”
What real motivation is not…
Motivation won’t always be some ethereal feel good hippy warm and fuzzy force. It’s not always some juice you can drink like when Egg Shan gave the crew in Big Trouble in Little China. They were actually already prepared, the juice just brought out the potential.
Sometimes you honestly won’t feel all gung ho. Sometimes, you won’t feel good no matter how many times you visualize, conceptualize, jump up and down and say whatever mantra you like a bunch of times. I’m not against any of these things, but honestly, you just need to go outside and do it anyway. Don’t feel like Squatting? Are you tired? No. Injured. No? Tight in your muscles (welcome to the club buddy)? No. Well congratulations, you’re a human. Guess what, everyone doesn’t feel that great all the time. However, that can change by simply doing the activity. Sometimes you won’t feel great until you actually do the task. And even then you may not still feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You may just feel…tired. That’s cool, because you just received +10 points in your consistency armor. Consistency aside being a word often used by social media is akin to a magic force that only happens when you perform the action.
Action – A new demand requires a new definition
Act+ion = Action. I know… but if this were a success seminar, this is exactly what they would say. Plus it sounds cool. If we can agree that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result” then Act +ion = Action.
act/akt/Learn to pronounceverb
- 1.take action; do something.
an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons.”hydrogen ions”
Please tag and quote me on this. As this is the new metaphorical and metaphysical definition on action as said by me.When you think of your actions as that powered by the atomic force of a billion times a billion units of energy, you start to recognize the power within you.
Why I started and how I stay motivated?
When I was a boy….
As a kid, I always envisioned myself a fit and strong dude in the very deep recesses of my mind, even though I was the exact opposite. What I was however and still am, is a dreamer. It was just one of those things I knew I would one day do. I’ve always been keen on maxing out my life. I want my RPG stats, to say, be maxed out as much as possible. I always wanted high intelligence, wealth, charisma, great interpersonal skills, also to be a man of great character, a leader, a high strength and fitness level, and so on. Basically, I wanted to be and still do strive to be a comic book/novel/RPG superhero. I always believed life was meant to be maxed out on all cylinders. I feel that if you want the best that life has to offer, then you have to forge yourself into the best that you can offer. To quote the greatest rapper ever….
“I rather die enormous than live dormant. That’s how we on it.” – Jay
If you ever get a chance, go listen to Dan Pena. In short, to him one of the worst things in life is regret. Think about being in your old age, lamenting over the stuff you WISH you did. The opportunities you didn’t take….think about it right now….it sucks doesn’t it. Heck, I’ll do you a solid, think about yourself five years from now or even five years from now, even today. Think about the things you wished you attempted. It still sucks, doesn’t it? Yes. Yes it does. Why not take a chance on yourself? You are your number one asset. Build that asset into the greatest living vessel imaginable. Build yourself so great that they sing songs about you. Heck, visualize those epic tales about yourself and get after them. I’m talking to myself too.
After surgery, all I could think about was getting up and walking, climbing and a whole host of physical labors akin to Hercules. My own motivation was not being bullied by my own personal circumstance. There was a point where I would literally climb up the steps, and hobble to the computer room just to get on the computer and watch fitness and nutrition videos, or just to communicate with the outside world via the internet. Yes, I climbed. I didn’t want it easy, I wanted to earn the computer. So I would climb up and down it everyday, until I got my prosthetic brace.
I’m probably insane, so that helps a lot. I think it helps if you cultivate a little bit of insanity to help get you focused. I lift weights, often heavy, with an amputated foot. Yes, I squat below parallel like a man should – all men and women must hit depth or it doesn’t count.
*Slight rant* I know there are some people who use box squats as assistance lifts to target their weaknesses following an organized program, you all don’t count in my rant. The rest of you egad, don’t you dare waste your movement and cheat your reps like that, shame on you for squatting like a cur. You have no reason to do that. None at all. You’re not following a program. I can smell the lies in you right now. Stop it. Stop it now. Squat deeper you coward! *end ramble*
I deadlift, clean, front squat. All that gangsta’ stuff I like to do and teach. I recently met Olympic weightlifting coach Cara Heads. Google her, she’s awesome. Beyond awesome. I highly recommend her for coaching. As geeked out as I was – I was beyond internally geeking – it was like meeting as real life Asgardian, Norse Valkryie or African goddess of wisdom and excellence. As much as I was wowed to meet her, she was amazed that I did all this with an amputated foot.
Where did the motivation for all this come from? Honestly on a simple standpoint, I just wanted to do it. What would I do, not do the gangsta’ barbell lifts I love? Not be warrior? Heck no, I just do them to the best of my ability. Do anything in your fitness quest, to the best of your ability, even if you feel that you look stupid. You’re probably not stupid, you’re probably just a beginner. And that’s OK.
I’ve said this before, but many times, it hurts (like…hell) to walk, to move, to stand, to sit often times for no reason. What do I do? I pop some Aleve if I need to, and do it anyway. The pursuit of excellence isn’t always easy, but many things that are worth it are not. Excellence is often it’s own reward.
Say this again, aloud. “Excellence is it’s own reward.”
WHAT IS EXCELLENCE?! LOUDER
What you can do to stoke the motivational fires?
Like I said above. Take action. Action itself is magical and quasi omnipotent. Action, powered with consistency are the number one tools for motivation but let’s break it down further.
Small victories through small victories.
Lets start with actually getting to the gym, and heading to the free weight section. I’m not going to give you points for getting on the cardio machine. You can do jog or do that at home. Your true progress will come from heading to the free weight section, where “all the wild things are” and actually lifting some weights. Do this. Pick up a barbell, hold it in your hand straight up. Look into the mirror, see the cold steel in your hands as it calls your name, Can you hear the mighty tool of excellence speak to you? Isn’t it beautiful? Imagine you’re a warrior on the battlefield, and your holding a giant ax as you look into the mirror. The whole point of this exercise is to visualize yourself in something greater than you think you are. Also, now that you have the barbell in hand, it makes sense to try now doesn’t it.
Focus on actions.
Like I said in my Look Like A God article, find a plan and stick to it. Again you’re not always going to feel all hippy dippy about what you’re doing but it doesn’t matter because guess what? YOU’RE DOING IT! HUZZAH! Each set and rep you take, you are placing yourself one step toward your goal.
What if I miss a day? Do it the next day. Following a “12-week program?” Oh well, finish it in 13 or 14 weeks. Your muscles aren’t going to go, “MU HAHAHA. FRAIL HUMAN. NO GAINZ FOR YOU!” Nope, this is a cumulative sport. Your results will come from your CUMULATIVE body of work. If you happen to miss a day, then keep it pushing. Focus on doing the work. Set your sights on performance vs aesthetics. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, and thirst trapping it on your favorite social media platform, but if you focus on performance, you will enjoy the process much more than doing it for the mirror. Switch your focus on learning skills and crushing PR’s. Nothing says excited more than adding more weight to the bar, learning a lift, or having more energy to work out after a few months of consistency.
Got my grub on, but I pigged out?
So. Pigged out too much over that meal, did you? Went over your macros? Swore off cake, only to eat cake two hours later? Said, you were going to cut back on drinking but went over my 1-2 drink limit post Bill Boot Camp that day right after I told you? Guess what, tomorrow is another day. Furthermore, today presents another moment. Don’t quit, just re-calibrate and keep it pushing.
Change your environment.
Another way to stay motivated is to surround yourself with people on the same path. I once wrote an article about finding a gym crew. Even if you work out alone, it helps if you go to a positive place where you know people will cheer you on. When I was at No Excuse Workout (rip) , we had the greatest community vibe a gym could ever have. A lot of my good friends to this day, where people I met there. My current gym where I teach classes, train clients, and lift, Balance Gym not only has a great environment, but they’re always having parties and events. What more can you ask for to eat and drink with people you lift weights with? You can also join groups on the internet, or something as simple merely follow folks on Instagram. Change your mental diet. Watch positive vids on YouTube, read uplifting books. Watch uplifting movies. Anything. I used to watch cool movie trailers before I’d go lift or scenes from movies before a big lift. Listen to music. Do whatever it takes to get you going in a positive direction. Do these things while TAKING ACTION. Again, no book, ritual, whatever, will do anything without action.
The biggest motivation will always ultimately come from within.
Self motivation is something that you have to find within yourself. Sometimes you may not have the environment. You’ll have nothing but your own will. In Endgame, Captain America at one point was ready to fight against Thanos’ whole army….BY HIMSELF….BY HIMSELF YOUNG!!!! It just may come down to that. You won’t always feel amped up, or great. You may be in an awful mood, stressed out, or not even have as much time as you normally do. Guess what? Do it anyway. It all makes for a greater story. Your lifts may not be as high as the week before (that’s normal). Do you quit? No. Keep going. The last thing you ever want to be is a mangy cur. As a a matter of fact, after you read and share this, get up and go workout. Take the first step. Don’t know what to expect? Who cares. Expect to show up.
Even Superhumans are still…human
Many times, I’ve had to call an audible due to lack of sleep and go at it the next day. I’ve overeaten before, not been as lean as I wanted, not hit the lifts the way I wanted, and just about everything you can think of. Currently I’m doing the slowest slow cut ever, when typically I would’ve been done by now. The point is, I don’t believe in quitting this thing of ours. Never had the “I got to get back in the gym.” I don’t like missing a day, but I also don’t throw the whole plan out the window either. I call an audible and keep it pushing. Your favorite trainer/fit hero on IG (besides me of course) has slipped up on his/her diet before. No one is one hundred percent perfect and that’s ok.
As we do our strength benediction, I want you to keep in mind this conversation we had today, and make a commitment to take action right now. I once knew a brother who said “commitment is doing what you said you were going to do when the mood you said it in is gone.” Motivation is the same way. Brian Tracy once said, “You’re persistence is self discipline in action.” I say, an action is an Act + an ion. We can also say, “Motivation is the goal synchronized power of the human spirit that is made evident by action.” Yeah, I made that up just now. It may be different tomorrow. The point is, motivation albeit a noun, is an action word. Therefore, go act…now.
Until next time friends.
Bill Walker is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, DCPS Strength and Fitness Coach, Boot Camp Instructor, and Fitness Writer for the greatest website of all time, Citlr.com. If you have any questions, want a personalized program, consultation or workout, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His mantra is “Train like Warrior. Look like a God. Forge your own destiny.”
You can follow him on instagram @billiusmaximus929