T Nation

Maintaining Motivation


Motivation is an odd thing. Last week I was in a very strange state of mind, I couldn't get going in the gym, my numbers weren't going up and I didn't gain an ounce. But it was worse than that, I got to a point where the thought of choking down another protein shake made me want to gag, and I was really questioning why I was bothering to try and get into a sport I was so unsuited for. Then I missed a workout, which i haven't done since I first committed to bodybuilding a few months ago.

Then two things happened. My missus said to me she thought I was plateauing because I wasn't lifting heavy enough, and I sat down and watched Pumping Iron and that special feature on the DVD, "Still Pumping". Today I felt like I could eat nails. Blitzed through my workout, made massive leaps in the poundages I was using (these are still light weights compared to what you guys are using, but they were a big improvement for me) and felt awesome doing it. I have my belief back that I'm going to get where I want to be and generally I feel good. In "Still Pumping" Arnie talks about how it is that ability to go through the pain barrier that separates out the champions, so today whenever I felt like I couldn't go one more rep this voice in the back of my head said "maybe its the next rep thats gonna make you grow", and I forced out at least one more.

Anyone else experience these sudden ebbs and flows in motivation? It was literally this time yesterday I was ready to jack it all in.


that's badass


When I first started working out, it was a challenge to stay motivated. I stuck with it, and it became easier over time, to the point where I now genuinely enjoy my daily workouts. Once you start seeing results, the process perpetuates itself.


I'm sure most people lack the proper motivation, at one point or another, to do the things they know they should or at one time dreamed they could. The problem is I dont really think anyone can help you with that. Sure people apply some different approaches that might help a little temporarily, but at the end of the day it's just you all alone. What sacrifices and strides are you willing to make in order to reach the goals you set for yourself? What you will do today can only be determined by you. The winners stay motivated and the losers stay home. I'm not sure what you were looking for but there you have it.

"Imagine what I could do if I would do all I can" - don't know who said that


If your motivation is flagging already, what will you do 3-5-10 years down the road when you start to get joint pain, or have to work through injuries, or train at crappy times of the day or night because of life, etc etc?

Good for you to get back in the gym, but if you're already at the point where you have to "gag" down protein shakes, I don't think you'll last very long in this game.


there are mountains of obstacles, but to me bbing is about getting past those...thats why I do it, gives me confidence and keeps me out of trouble


There will always be on and off days. The key is to keep pushing on and keep the goal in your mind.


I look at a picture of my avatar and I look into the mirror. I'm filling out my XL but I'm not stretching the damn thing. I've got about 20lbs to go before I can fill that fucker out and start looking at an XXL. Then I'll finally correct people when they ask me if I lift weights by saying, "No...imbecile...I AM A BODYBUILDER."


Yes I have felt like this times where I was hungry and just couldnt stuff it down. Maybe your CNS was getting tired and skipping a work out was all the rest you needed to recuperate, I dunno man just throwing that out there. Good on ya tho for getting back at it.


I had eaten a ton of bad food Saturday night (had the munchies). I woke up Sunday morning about 6-7 lbs heavier than I was during the week. When I looked in the mirror, I just looked and felt fatter.

9 weeks ago I decided to go on an all-out muscle-building blitz. Yesterday, I seriously considered switching to a cut. I thought I was gaining weight way too fast (20-25 lbs in 9 weeks... but this is coming off the V-Diet followed by 1 month of maintenance eating).

What'd I do? I watched Kai Greene get his eat on at IHOP in his recent MDTV video. That boy ate $90 worth of IHOP food (cheap) in one sitting.

I'm back to eating big, but I'm going to throw in some light morning cardio and then go from there. Still eating big, but being a lot more conscious about what I stick in my body.


It happens. My biggest motivation is to not let myself down. That's where the log book comes into play. The only person I can hold accountable is myself. And I expect better of myself.

Since I've started keeping good track of my progress with a log book I have never been more motivated to go into the gym and kick some ass.

Keep pushing!


Mental barriers man, we all hit them at some point or another. You just gotta keep pushing. I always liken bodybuilding to climbing an extremely tall mountain peak. The majority of people are standing at ground level, looking up, not knowing where to begin. Those of us that have been climbing for years are a good distance up, but the snow gets thicker, harder to push through, but with every step, every aching foot, the peak becomes more visible, and your desire increases, and yet the trek only becomes increasingly difficult. Sometimes we fall, sometimes we just wanna roll over and give up, and right there, THAT's what separates the champions from the rest.

The Champions get up, the champions brush the snow thats collected on their shoulders from the momentary lapse, that Day of binge eating, and they Trudge on, for they are focused on one thing, the peak, the apex, the pinnacle, the level that few will reach, but millions desire...perfection. For it is at that mountain top that the view is....just glorious...


I hope we're not talking about Mt. Everest here because a lot of people have died trying to get to the top of that thing :slight_smile:


The less I think about motivation the more motivated I become.


That's an excellent way of looking at it, thanks man!

I'm glad to see other, more experienced people hitting the occassional block. I know it probably seems weird to have a sudden loss of motivation after only a couple of months, but when you're starting out with a build like mine it's hard not to sometimes question your own sanity at trying to become a bodybuilder. But yeah, a bump in the road is all it was. I'm fired up as hell now- just wish I knew what had triggered the loss of confidence and how I got it back.


I hit a block about a month back. Spent a few hours on youtube just watching my favourite bodybuilders busting their asses. Visualized in my mind what I want to look like and my desire is greater then ever. Also changed my routine to something way more enjoyable (although not always at the time).


OFC its everest, its a long and dangerous trip! you dont exactly hit the gym for a couple weeks and wake up one day 260lbs of lean muscle