In the last six months or so I’ve really gotten to know a lot of people who, like myself, make health and fitness a major priority in their life. In talking with many of them about how they got started with fitness, I’ve noticed a common theme. Not in what got them started, because there is a wide variety of reasons for people to start working out and eating right. What I’m talking about is how everyone’s motivations for fitness seems to dramatically evolve as they progress.
It usually starts out with something simple. They may start simply because they want to lose weight. Maybe they just flat-out want to look or feel more attractive. Perhaps they realize they are unhealthy and want to do something about it. For me personally I just wanted to be more muscular. I wanted to put on size because I was sick of being the skinny guy my whole life. I didn’t care about health or body fat or much of anything else. I just wanted to get big!
Once I started to figure out how to add some muscle with a little success, I loved the way I felt. I craved this great feeling more and more. As time passed it wasn’t just muscle I cared about. Soon I wanted to be really lean with muscle, because I thought that would look even better. After more time I started getting interested in the health aspect of it all. Now I was doing things because I wanted to live healthier.
The list grew and grew, and it is still something that continues to grow. For me personally, it’s all important now. Strength, size, speed, agility, body fat, nutrition, physical health, mental health and pretty much anything you can think of that relates to fitness! This is why I love this website’s motto: “The lifestyle site for those devoted to a strong body, a healthy mind and a well-fed soul.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Like I started out saying, I find my change in motivation to be a very similar with most other people who are into fitness the way I am. What began as a simple goal has morphed into an all around desire to be the best they can be both mentally and physically. It’s a beautiful thing when someone’s motivation changes from something small to an all around desire to be the best they can.
I think a big reason for this is that great feeling you get from working out and eating healthy. It really is addicting, and when people get a taste for how good it feels they crave more. People think how much better can this get? The thought process turns into “if I start trying to improve in other areas will that make me feel even better?” There aren’t many feelings better than the feeling of your own personal success.
I posted on my blog this week about a killer workout I did and I got a comment from a regular reader I talk to frequently. She had this to say: “I have such a vivid image from what you wrote, with sweat pouring down. You really work hard. I wonder what makes one person thrive on the challenge that you do?” It’s strange, that’s not something I really thought of before. So I was left thinking, why am I motivated to work so hard to be fit?
Originally I was thinking it was what I’ve been talking about. The fact that it feels so good to workout and be fit. That seemed too simple though. I thought a little more and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My answer was this: “For me it’s that I want to be the absolute best that I can. I want to be able to look back and know I gave it everything I had. To be able to look back and not have regrets, because to me that would be way more difficult than putting in the work. It began with wanting it bad, but in time it became something I started really enjoying. That makes it way easier.”
I guess that’s my real motivation, and I didn’t even know it! I’m really glad I was asked that question, because it put other things in my life into perspective as well. I don’t think of myself as someone who “rises to the challenge” or as someone who is better than anyone else. I just don’t want to live with regrets, because that is a very tough thing to do. It was a good opportunity for me to step back and think about the other aspects of my life. If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, what would some of my life regrets be? This is a practice I’d recommend to anyone who has the same desire to be their best self they can be. Sometimes it takes stopping and thinking about things to realize what it is you want.
As for my desire to work hard at being fit, I’m lucky I do love it so much, because then it really isn’t about work. It’s not about forcing myself to do anything like so many people struggle with. It started out that way, but that has long since passed. If you think you hate working out, you will struggle to keep doing it. If you hate working out, you probably haven’t found the right thing yet.
I’ve always loved weight lifting, but hated anything cardio related. Now that my motivation has changed to a more overall approach, I’ve learned to enjoy most types of training. Anything that’s going to help me get where I want to go, I like. Fall in love with the process!
If you are struggling to start a fitness routine and you lack motivation, use whatever little thing there may be to drive you to get started. If you stick with it you may just find there is so much more in store for you than you ever thought there could be. Don’t let anyone stop you from being the person you want to be, including yourself! It doesn’t matter what it is that motivates you, it just matters that you use it.