T Nation

What Motivates You?

Since people who lift seem to get asked this all the time, I was wondering what kind of responses you guys give. Why do you guys train to get bigger?

Is it aesthetics? to attract females? to frighten other males? to challenge yourself?

Clearly, this sort of inquiry does not lend itself to a simple answer, but I think it would be interesting to survey the broad range of reasons why people enjoy this pursuit.


I believe it is all of the above.

To frighten males and attract females are both inter-connected, which also requires you to look toward aesthetics, but to get there you have to challenge yourself.

It just depends on the scene. When I am outside of the gym, I think of working out as just a throwback to lost instincts that men have come to lose. Inside, I look at it as to evaluate my choice of lifestyle, diet, and personal drive in just one sixty minute session. Attracting females and scaring males is just a side-effect of it now, but it’s not unwanted.

most girls don’t like big masculine guys, they think it’s “yuck” and “too muscly”. i do it because i enjoy it myself. most average people don’t even realize how much hard work goes into getting big, and a lot of people don’t even appreciate it.

[quote]Henry Krinkle wrote:
to challenge yourself?

This is a big part of it. Accomplishment feels awesome, and this activity is many many little accomplishments over and over. And you do it yourself. No one gives you any of it. 200lbs is 200lbs. It is just you v. yourself. It feels good man.

It also gives me something “healthy” to obsess over…

At my age it is a personal challenge… as well as to look good for myself (my wife doesn’t care if I’m fat, thin, or muscular).

When I started as a teen, I was severely small (I’m still short), so lifting just to look normal was my motivation.

I loved athleticism since I was young (watching spiderman and other superhero cartoons greatly inspired me) as a result my goal has always been to become as athletic as possible: strong, lean, fast…etc.

at first when i got into weights it was because i didn’t want to be fat ever again. after awhile it wasn’t so much about not wanting to be fat but to see how much i can push myself and what my body can handle. i still look like shit but hopefully in a few years i can mold something to be proud of. now i religiously wake up at 6:30 everyday to prepare for the gym, it’s something that i look forward to everyday.

i go to sleep thinking about going to the gym the next. also if someone told me a year and half ago i could hold 300 lbs in my hands i would have laughed. wow, that was fucking long…but that’s my reason.

Watching Backi the grappler

My motivation is that i just love working out. I love that relentless, animalistic, stop at nothing attitude that i have during the workout. When i’m done, i love that peaceful feeling of achievement.

the former skinny guy in my HS pic.


It started to lose weight/attract women. But once i saw myself setting goals and accomplishing them through hard work and determination i was hooked and thats the reason i still do it and what motivates me every day. I really feel lifting has made me a genuinely better person. Plus Henry Rollins’ essay “The Iron” really motivated me in the beginning as well. great read.

What motivates me? This

In order:

  1. Aesthetics.
  2. I like to eat, and if I work out I can eat quite a bit more.
  3. I enjoy it. It’s fun seeing your numbers go up. Like one poster alluded to above, it’s just cool knowing that a couple years ago you were impressed by watching bigger guys put up the weight that you are currently lifting.
  4. To scare little children. (Okay, j/k I’m not big enough yet)

I don’t really do it for chicks. At one time I used to, but not anymore. If I was single then this would probably be number 1.

  1. Sports (Rugby and Mixed Martial Arts)
  2. Honestly it does feel good to be feared by most males.
  3. I don’t know what kind of girls you guys hang around, but most of the sexy little chicas I am around on campus and such love a guy who has muscles…especially an ass and shoulders.
  4. I love to challenge myself, I love to lift and constantly progress, and last it helps relieve stress.
  5. Health

I think if you MAIN motivation comes from attraction from girls, then your motivation won’t last and it’s only short termed. Most girls don’t like ‘‘too muscular’’ guys, so you’re going to stop at the point whereby it’s just nice for girls? That’s stupid. In that case, you’re not training for yourself and training for others.

True, long term motivation IMO comes form the passion and the results you get form it. If you see results, then it’ll be very addictive and you wont stop.

I lift and train fighting to protect my family and friends, to protect the weak, to protect myself and to make me not only physically strong but to put myself through pain and suffering to make me mentally strong, to breathe and channel that strength into everyday life so that i can overcome anything that stands in my way no matter what it is, to bring that same feeling and try to breathe my strength into others who are not so strong at the moment and uplift them to the fullest so they too can pass this one to another person, their sons, daughters…whoever it may be to escalate their life, to push them through hard times, or even for them to remember what it’s like to be strong and keep going no matter what. It only takes a spark to make a big fire. Never give up, never surrender. Constantly putting myself through new challenges and ultimately defeat myself everyday.

To see the changes in the mirror, and see what training and nutrition can do. Just thinking how things can be in like 1-2-3-4-5 years. The goal is slowly adding size with good symmetry :slight_smile:

My motivation to get back into lifting was after I ran into a guy I used to play rugby with about a decade ago when I was lifting regularly.

The first thing he said after the obligatory “Hey there” was “wow, you’re so much smaller than you were when we played together”.

Just kindof motivated me to hit the gym. Peak rugby playing weight was 88kg. When I ran into my mate, I weighed about 78kg.

After the first 6 months of training and I had gone from 78-90kg with considerable strength gains, I re-evaluated my goals and decided that continuing to get bigger and stronger was a good, fun challenge, especially considering all the standard bullshit I had heard over the years that guys like me (6ft white guys, long limbs, good runners) couldn’t get big unless they started juicing, this has been a motivation for me to get as big as I can natural (ethically can’t take steroids owing to my occupation).

After 20months of training and hitting 101kg, my motivation for my first “cut” period was to trim up for one of my best friend’s wedding (why I’ve been away the last few weeks).

Dropped 7-8kg in 6 weeks while increasing strength, and now I’m back from holiday at 93.9kg.

Now its time to add a few new supplements (natural), and to get bigger and stronger.

What’s the motivation now?

Personal challenge to find my limits
To show up pussies in the gym
To make girls freak out
To be healthy and strong
To get big enough while staying relatively lean so that I can seriously consider having a go at a show

Yep. 20 months of regular training down. That’s my nice beginning base over with.

Now its time for the serious stuff.

I have to thank one of my ex’s because I started to grab some iron while waiting her to go out from her dancing lessons.

More than 6 years from that time, I think that picturing myself with a goal accomplished is enough.

Lifting filled the void left from another addiction! It’s also has been instrumental in weening off anti-depressants etc. Definitely don’t want to go back to that! Seeing the gains every progress photo month after month keeps me positive and motivated. So its a mix of not wanting to revert to old times and getting the mental and physical stimulation from lifting me going and lifting heavier…