“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar
Often, in the fitness community, there is a rush to achieve a certain result as quickly as possible.
This leads to the use of steroids, growth hormone, ephedrine, and other harmful and unnatural substances. It may seem like no big deal to experiment with these kinds of drugs, but in reality to use these drugs is to cheat and misuse your body and mind. Like it or not, harming yourself to look good or be stronger is self-abuse.
This kind of abuse comes as a result of low self-esteem, and though it temporarily increases confidence, it is unsustainable in the long run and ultimately leads to even lower self-esteem. Remember, bodybuilding is an act of self love. Any act putting one’s health at risk for the sake of vanity is not in line with true bodybuilding. Keep this in mind when temptations to take shortcuts come along. Bodybuilding is a journey, not a destination.
Still, with all that being said, how does one stay motivated day in and day out for decades? There is no simple answer to this question.What motivates some is of no consequence to others. I’m sure you’ve heard that to stay motivated one needs a strong why. A strong why allows us to push through difficulties that would otherwise make us quit. People get into bodybuilding for all sorts of different reasons. I find that on the surface it doesn’t really matter what gets someone into bodybuilding initially. What ultimately keeps us around is love. Some love the art of bodybuilding, while others love the challenge. Some love the release, while others love the health benefits. There is no right way to be motivated, ultimately we are all motivated by love of something. Take some time to think about what you love about bodybuilding. When you are connected to your love of bodybuilding, day to day motivation is almost effortless for the most part.
So what about those who don’t love bodybuilding? What about those who hate training and eating in a balanced way? I believe everyone loves something about bodybuilding, some of us just have to look harder to find out what that something is. Working with a trainer can be very beneficial in this regard, as a good trainer is generally passionate about fitness, and passion is contagious. Knowing what you’re doing early on can help you to achieve your goals in significantly less time.
So then, what if someone doesn’t love anything about bodybuilding? Well assuming someone truly didn’t have a love for any aspect of bodybuilding, to that person I say, find a form of exercise you do love. One that doesn’t feel like work. One that makes time fly. It could be biking, dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, hiking, swimming, jogging, calisthenics, or any other of the endless possibilities.
This is a far too often overlooked aspect of anyone’s health and fitness. At the end of the day, I bodybuild because I love it. I love training, being disciplined with my eating, and watching my body progress. If I didn’t love it, there’s no way I would’ve trained almost daily for 17 years, and eaten a bodybuilding style 6 meals a day for almost just as long.Some people love training, but don’t enjoy being disciplined with their eating. If this is you, figure out a way to get what you want, while still progressing toward your goals. Hating your training or diet is a sure sign that you won’t last. What you have to realize is that will power is a finite thing, and when it runs out, it’s gone.That’s when you give into temptation, skipping workouts, abandoning your diet, which leads to feelings of guilt and shame, and the cycle repeats. You’re much better off creating a lifestyle where you can achieve your goals gradually, taking on new challenges as you’re ready. This is sustainable because it’s not based on deprivation and abstinence, but balance and moderation.
Let’s recap the tools to staying motivated long term.
- Steer clear of shortcuts. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, and enjoy the process.
- If you love it, you’ll stick with it. Therefore, find a form of exercise you do love. Maybe you don’t love every aspect of it, but you should enjoy it overall.
- Figure out your why. And make it meaningful. More than just, “I want to lose such and such weight.” Why do you want to achieve X Y Z? Get specific. Find out what emotions are attached to achieving that goal for you.
- Work with a trainer. This is optional, but can be a tremendous investment in your health.
Inevitably there will be times when you feel more motivated than others, but if you implement these tips, I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.