It was then that I realized everyone is fighting this same battle to some extent; trainers and gym novices alike. It’s an age old battle, but a tough one none the less.
The struggle with motivation is a battle we create in our heads. Go ahead and recite this line with me (I know you all know it), “I don’t think I’m going to work out today… I’m just not motivated.”
That ladies and gentlemen is an excuse. It’s not a reason. And I personally recognize that now.
It took me eight years in the fitness industry helping clients build muscle and lose body fat but I finally realized what was going on and it was a revelation that helped me understand the difference between motivation and discipline.
What is motivation? Well, when someone is motivated it makes life very EASY. There is a want inside that can outweigh any and every negative thought. It could be a thing, a person a thought and/or desire. It tends to be something we see in others or something that we covet more than anything.
Regarding your fitness goals/desires, we have a tendency to dive in head first with reckless abandon but after years of sitting on the couch eating Lays and Pop Tarts, you might realize sticking to a program to build muscle and lose fat is not easy.
Matter of fact after just the first couple of weeks it becomes apparent there is quite a bit to this getting healthy thing such as meal preparation, scheduling workouts, getting adequate sleep, cutting out the sugar, or even cutting back on eating out.
There are so many more things that could be added to this list and we all have our vices and comforts. But isn’t that exactly what got us into this mess?
Committing to a lifestyle change can be overwhelming and uncomfortable but as we tell our personal training clients on a daily basis, without challenge there is no change.
“But how can we do that without motivation, Nick? You just made it sound so hard”. You’re right, I did. And it is, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. It takes some planning, a little time and a lot of patience to be successful and develop discipline.
For example, on Sunday’s I want to sit and relax. I don’t want to make grilled chicken or hard boiled eggs for the week. I don’t want to blend my “green snot” drink as my wife affectionately calls it. But I “have to.” At least that’s what I tell myself.
See that right there? The part where my inner dialogue becomes a helpful voice in doing what I don’t want to do. That my friends, is what discipline looks like.
You see Discipline, when not fueled by motivation, is simply you being able to tell yourself to do something even when you don’t want to do it and there are a good many people that don’t understand that concept.
And guess what, It’s HARD! I STILL fight it. Other trainers and avid gym goers fight it because we are human.
I like a giant piece of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory just as much as the next person.
Pair that with any of their giant entrees and you have yourself a meal. A high calorie, high fat meal and if you do this enough guess what you won’t have? The physique you envisioned, the fitness level you need to enjoy your hunts and the longevity to prevent disease and hunt on your terms for as long as you wish to hunt.
Why: Because you traded your outcomes for instant gratification (beer, cake, pizza, sitting on the couch vs. going for a run) and took the easy way out vs. being disciplined and sticking to your program.
Motivation isn’t the hard part of living a healthy life. When motivation is there, everything flows naturally. There are also times when that motivation just is not there. That’s where the work begins. It’s also when laziness can creep back into our lives.
I am far from perfect but everyone has 24 hours in a day. There has to be a burning desire to achieve your goals on the inside in order to develop discipline. You have to be willing to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to anything to make it happen. Motivation believe it or not isn’t necessarily what keeps you going.
Do you ever wonder what separates champions from those who do not excel in life?
Champions do the work even when they don’t feel like working. Champions have discipline.
I’ve lived this way. I made the excuse, yes, the EXCUSE that I wasn’t motivated (and probably will again at some point because I am human). I have used the perceived lack of motivation excuse and I have skipped workouts.
I’m trying to drive home a point here folks, so stay with me: Those negative thoughts running through your mind telling you “I’m too tired to workout today?” That’s the old you telling you not to change. It’s that last beer, that piece of cheesecake, that Large Stuffed Crust pizza, that giant box of sauce-ified chicken from your favorite Chinese food restaurant (All my own personal weaknesses) that is whispering to you, “go ahead….you deserve (insert delectable treat). Go ahead and sit on the couch. You can
Stop listening to that voice and start taking actions that will develop discipline.
Small changes because you can’t change years of bad habits and negative self-talk in a week. Take my word for it. We have to be willing to work for a long time, remain vigilant and stay patient to achieve our goals. We have to have discipline within ourselves, without having to count on other people (Although accountability partners work wonders).
It’s something that often times we have to teach ourselves. It’s not in a book, blog or journal article.
Discipline has got to be found within yourself. Because that’s all we have, when motivation runs out.
Nick Lape is the head trainer for Fit To Hunt. He excels at matching movement to muscle and has helped clients all over the United States train for a wide variety of big game hunts.
If you would like to work with Nick you can email him at email@example.com.