T Nation

Inspiration Article

Inspiration and Mental Focus


People always ask me: ?How and why do you lift 6 days a week and eat 12 meals a day???, or ?I just can?t stick with my workout schedule, or get an A in that class.? These statements deal with the ideas of mental focus and inspiration. Inspiration is the stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity; otherwise known as a person, thing, or event that compels you. Inspiration can be a stimulation which spurs new achievements or it can be used to continue fueling current success in your life.

One way you can go about being inspired is to have someone who you idolize, or at least respect what they do to a point where you would want to achieve that sort of success in your life. What this does is it gives you a method to follow and something to shoot for. This is where goal setting comes in. If you have a target to shoot for then you know where you are going, and are more likely to succeed rather than just seeing where you end up unplanned.

Practice what your idol practices. In other words, do what your idol does. For instance I followed the lifting and eating routine of 8 time Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, and that helped me gain 130 lbs through bodybuilding. After experiencing this I believe almost anything can be accomplished. A golfer may practice the way Tiger Woods does, and a basketball player the way Michael Jordan did. Practice like the best to be the best.

A good idea is to schedule something for yourself on a regular basis that will inspire you. This is where inspiration can act as a fuel. You can schedule events which will inspire you to continue and better insure success rather than inspirations being random. If your inspiration comes at random intervals then your success will more than likely follow that randomness. A personal example of mine as is that I would watch Ronnie Coleman?s lifting tapes on a regular basis; this was enough to inspire me on a daily basis.

Mental Focus

Mental Focus is the ability to concentrate on a purpose or personal goal. A personal example of something that can deter focus is this: One evening I was eating with a girl I had met a few days earlier. She began asking me about my bodybuilding routine- ?How much do you eat???How much do you lift?? etc. After telling her that I ate many meals daily she told me that I was a weirdo and got up form the table and left.

At first events like this and other hate mail, etc made me feel like crap. I would sit alone a lot and let my feelings build up inside. But over time I have learned to deal with it and not let it disrupt my mental focus. I have learned that people will put you down for anything that you do. I even received hate mail for sending cash donations to the victims of the South Asia Earthquake. This is where you can implement the scheduled inspirational moments to help you stay focused as well as turning to friends, especially friends with similar goals.

Keeping Your Head Up

Eventually things will get to you and you will get down on yourself, or certain events that you have no control over may hurt you. For example a death in the family, friends putting you down, people thinking you are something you are not, friends ?using? you, etc.
One mistake which I was making was that I was letting people who didn?t even know me get me down by making derogatory comments about me.

In most cases prevention of this isn?t really possible or not very practical. The best way to deal with this is ??Damage Control.?

Damage Control

Surround yourself with people you care about and who care about you. When you get down a great way to cheer up is to be around folks who are trying to make you feel better. Being alone or trying to seclude yourself may be an instant response, but many times leads to rumination; In this situation rumination will more than likely depress you even more.

Think about the future. You can?t go back in time and change events, so one thing to think about is the future. This is a great time to set goals if the thing getting you down is something you could have changed. Resuming basically look ahead to the future, because you cant change the past.

Many times as well we superimpose thoughts into other people?s heads, and believe that is how they think of you. In other words we think people think of us differently than how they really do in many cases. For example: You may think someone dislikes you because they don?t talk to you for a long period of time; you can?t do this though. People have so many different mindsets, characters, personalities, moods, professions, etc that you can?t mind read. Superimposing thoughts that you believe someone may have about you into a peers head leads to all sorts of trouble.

Just Be Yourself

I say this to people all the time. Many times society, environment and social situations may cause you to act in ways you would usually not. I believe in some form or another successful people are criticized. People may say you are weird, hate you, ignore you, or even try to hurt you. Stay strong and confident in your goals and you will reach success before you know it.

I hope some of these tips help out. If you have any comments, you can PM me:


It’s also impressive that you successfully did a Ronnie Coleman workout without some anabolic assistance. From what era was his workout that you used? I’m sure some of his mid-90s stuff was actually more reasonable than what he does now.
I’m a freshman in college and have gained about 30 pounds since August, (6’2, ~200 lb now) thanks for the added motivation.

Anytime man!

yeah His work is real motivational!! I mean you have to look at whatever gets you going! Well I followed his 2001 video, and floowing now his 2003 “Cost of redemption” one, they are pretty awesome.

THIS should be published. I couldn’t agree more, really it’s great stuff - and I can relate to.

Anytime you’ve got more like this, post away! The lifters social and everyday life is even more important than the rest, it’s great reading someone who understands the power of determination.