What Motivates You?

I don’t know about my T-fellows, but I am not energized by motivational articles. I enjoy them, they are good articles, but personally I cannot find true motivation in them. I suspect others do, but not me.

By this, I only mean that they do not make me go to the gym on days that I might otherwise not. They also don’t make me work out harder. I can’t say they even help me make better dietary decisions.

So, I ask myself, what does? Why haven’t I missed a workout in over a year? Other than taking an excruciatingly long week off because I felt I was overtraining, I haven’t missed a planned gym day in well over a year.

Ok, I confess, I missed a squat day one Friday because I felt ill. However, I did cardio instead since I wasn’t up to the whole squat thing. Also, I did do the regular squat workout the next morning. I’m giving myself a pass on this one.

Before this, even only a couple of years ago, I was turning into a lard ass. I wasn’t truly monstrous – I wasn’t becoming one with my couch or having trouble getting through doors, but weighing 250 lbs and with just enough muscle to sit at my desk job all day I was no shining example of maleness.

It can really sneak up on you. The years go by, your income gets larger, the demands on your time increase, your responsibilities increase and your level of stress keeps rising. Slowly you become less fit, buy larger clothes and see yourself becoming a success with all the material posessions that you are supposed to accumulate.

You might not even realize that there is anything wrong. So what if you are a bit overweight, isn’t everyone? You and your wife still love each other, there is no indication that anything is out of the ordinary. You’ve never had a health problem, you have a great job, a terrific family and any modern convenience you want. Haven’t you done everything just they way you are supposed to?

Oh sure, there is a nagging feeling that you’ve lost part of yourself, but you attribute it to the rat race of life. We all lament that loss. Toss on the football game, drink some beer with your buddies and then go kick ass at work for another week.

In order to get motivated you need to overcome some obstacles. One, you need to realize you are becoming fat and sedentary and want to do something about it. Two, you need to have the knowledge to know how to do something to fix it. Three, you need to reorganize your life and change your habits.

For me, the eye opener occured when the distractions went away. I was single when the company I worked for went belly up, right in the midst of the IT downturn. I was no longer riding the gravy train of success and took a boot to the nuts from the fickle fingers of fate.

With respect to fitness, I got started very slowly, simply walking regularly, and since my muscles were so unused even that made me sore at first. I had an unused gym membership but wasn’t willing to even go to the gym until I was fit enough to step in the place. It sounds strange, but that is how I felt about it.

I started to research nutritional issues online and was looking into low carb diets before they became the ultra-fad they have now become. I was very lucky and stumbled across this web site from time to time due to the nature of the material published here.

Being unemployed, I had all kinds of time to continue to research fitness issues and to start over in the gym. Actually, the gym was great, because it helped pass the time.

Being broke and unemployed it got to the point where I’d have two things to do, such as buy a newspaper and a bag of oatmeal, and I’d put the oatmeal purchase off until the next day. I didn’t have money for entertainment, and I didn’t want to have nothing to do the next day. It was different.

And no, I wasn’t just sitting around all the time. As time went on and my savings were used up, I had to take whatever I could get. In my thirties I had gone from successful executive to delivery driver. Yes, I was knocking on doors dropping off pizza’s and hoping for a tip. Falling like that has shifted my perspective on a lot of things.

Anyway, during all of this trial, I came to realize that my first job is to live by my rules. To borrow a phrase from a movie, the man I was needed to meet the man I ought to be. I’d spent too much of my life worrying about what society thought I should or should not do with my life.

So, to return to the original point of this story, I am motivated by positives. The absence of negatives isn’t what keeps me going. Reading a motivational article may help me realize I am actually very lucky to have what I do, but it won’t motivate me.

At the risk of sounding selfish, here are things that motivate me. If you are out there, just getting started, wondering how to stay motivated, maybe these things will awaken a desire in you to chase after them. If you are further along, maybe it will remind you of the pleasure of your own milestones.

In the beginning motivation came from progress. I would be motivated to know that I could now walk for an hour without ending up feeling sore. Motivation was very strong whenever clothes that didn’t fit suddenly did or perhaps even became loose.

Before knowing about the difference between losing weight and losing fat motivation came whenever the scale continue its downward trend. Motivation was bumped whenever people remarked about the changes they saw in my appearance.

Motivation came as my level of fitness grew and my resting heart rate settled into a decent range. Being able to do strenuous cardio without feeling like my heart will burst is very comforting.

Losing enough fat to start to see muscles here and there is a great source of motivation. Feeling strong as you walk through throngs of very skinny or very fat people is very motivating. It is very easy to stand out as someone who is fit in this day and age.

It is motivating that shirts are starting to get tight around the chest, shoulders and arms. I’ll never be a hercules, but every time I put on a shirt I notice this and it gives me a sense of satisfaction.

It’s motivating to have heads turn when you walk through a crowd of sheeple. It’s motivating to wear a t-shirt and have people look at something other than your belly.

It’s motivating to carry a weeks worth of groceries in one hand when you are opening doors. It’s nice to be able to apply some strength to an everyday task, perhaps lifting it all over your head to get past furniture or pets.

It’s motivating to be caught in the rain and realize that running the 100 yards through the parking lot will be nothing like a squat workout. It’s motivating to have posterior muscles and bound over puddles the entire distance without even breathing heavy.

It’s motivating to have people 10 or 15 years your junior notice you. It’s great that people have trouble knowing how old you are because you don’t fit the stereotypical old and fat model.

It’s motivating to know that you can eat 4000 or 5000 calories and put on a miniscule amount of fat. It’s motivating to know that if you do put on fat, that you have the tools to remove it if you wish.

It’s motivating to know you are part of a very large group of like minded people who are all working to improve themselves physically.

I know this is very long, but if you’ve made it this far, how about sharing positive things that you find motivating. What are the little things that being fit brings to you on a daily basis?


I was just asking myself the the other day “What the hell, I was doing driving to the gym at 5 a.m.”!. As I listened to Rage against the Machine on my CD player to try to get motivated, it dawned on me. I do not want to be an ordinary fat person!

You can go anywhere and you see people that are breathing hard just pushing a shopping cart!! I am not going to be that person, NO DAMN WAY!! I want to be healthy and look good as long as I live.

Not being ordinary is what motivates me, and keeps me lifting day in and day out! Even if I get into my golden years, I am still going to lift weights. And still be the one that all the grandmas want, in the convalescent home!! I guess that will make me a G.I.L.F? The G replaced by Grandpa.

Anyways, thanks vroom for making me do a little retrospect of my life. It made me realize, that the alarm clock is not such an evil object. Even if it goes off at 4 a.m.!!

My motivation? I have several, but the biggest one is a picture of myself on graduation night, right after I received my MBA. I weighed 235 and it was all fat. I don’t want to be like that ever again. I won’t. I furnished a gym in the back room of my office, and I have rarely missed a workout since Dec. 1998.

My second motivation is my 13 year-old son. I love training with him, and he gets me in the gym when I don’t really feel like a squat day.

I met the guy from school the other day… You know the one, everyone kinda liked him but they picked on him too. He thought he didn’t have a friend in the world. Girls shunned him… He didn’t have flashy, stylish clothes in school. Girls seemed to be an alien life form to him… Talking in school was one thing, but no one seemed to ever be interested in knowing him ‘outside’. But… he knew that he was a good person… that he had an inner worth that no one was giving him credit for or recognizing…
It was me… I was looking at some of my old pictures from High school.
What motivates me is knowing that I am still basically the same guy I was back then… I can still fit into some of the gym shorts I used to have…:wink:
But I am very much different physically.
Colour me a whiner, but I never had much in the way of encouragement when I was younger. Had to do with the ‘broken home’ thing, dad gone… assorted boyfriends for my ma…
Won’t mention the testing because I was ‘special’(flame away guys…;)…)
I was fortunate in that I was always thin, flexible(‘rubberband man’ in grade 11 gym)… I just never seemed to have ‘IT’.
For me, this lifestyle is the one for me. I love going to the gym, feeling the weights, the movement, my muscles, the endorphins flowing… all the good stuff. There does seem to be more interest in me now because of my size, but much of it come from afar. It has NOT been my experience that loads of girls have interests in me other than maybe how I could help them get abit thinner?.. So, strike the female attraction thingy as motivation…
I hurt my back a couple of years ago… It hurt for about 2 months… I literally rolled out of bed each day cause it hurt too much to try to sit up… But, I went to the gym every workout day… I just did not do heavy legs(how is that for stupid!)
Having the body is nice, but it is the journey that gives you the life experiences…
Hey… Vroom… Did you think, when you were a successfull executive, you would miss leg day? That it would make you feel somehow incomplete? And would you trade the feeling you get now for your old job?(OK, that might just be a very unfair, stupid question… but the reasoning is sorta valid)

Fantastic post, vroom! I’m happy to hear that you were able to overcome the speed bumps in your life and figure out what’s important to you.

As for my motivation, I’ve worked out for a number of years, and I feel as if I’m younger than ever. I have more energy and drive than I did when I was in my 20’s, and I hope to keep this feeling forever!

“This is your life and its ending one minute at a time” From Fight Club. I love this qoute, it’s the only quote I have ever read that has basically changed how I look and live my life. Now I absolutly refuse to let stress guide my emotions and I only have a relative short time to enjoy my life so I want to make the most out of it!

Although you said it’s not articles that motivate you, I really think they do a lot for many people, including myself.

What kind of articles? Articles like this one.

What motivates me? Actually, I got into this conversation on a martial arts message board a few days ago. Here’s an excerpt from that:

[quote]I’ve Got Yer Motivation Right Here in This Bag of Ass Whuppin’

I use my incredibly large penis to dig trenches in the valleys. The upturned dirt, I fashion into mountains. The trenches, I push huge boulders (which almost rival my testicles for size) into them, then push them out again. Then, I drop h00j tractor tires in the trenches, and flip them bitches out, too.

Want motivation? Here’s some: Train your ass off. This whole “training” thing? That’s a ****ing privilige. You have time to train, take ad-****in’-vantage of it. Your training not makin’ you feel euphoric? Train smarter, train harder. If you have to, just run the bitch on autopilot and get the feelin’ on the next flight.

Want motivation? Here’s some: Take a ****in’ year and a half off, watch the skills and physical ability you had so carefully fashioned just fall away and turn to mush, then get back into it. Train smarter, train harder.

If you can think “this isn’t as excuberating as it generally is” clearly, you’re not analyzing your martial technique enough. If you can say “these deadlifts aren’t making me feel like Superman today” then you’re not hoisting enough weight and need to stop being such a pussy and put some ****ing plates on the bar. Train smarter, train harder.

I would apologize here for the rudeness of this response, but no apology is warranted. Training is a privilige. Training is an opportunity. If you’re not taking advantage of it, if you’re getting bored by it, if the simple fact of the training isn’t motivation enough to ****ing get off on it, then something is not right, and you need to get smarter to figure out the problem, then utilizing this knowledge, train harder to stamp it out.

Training is a privilige. Training is an opportunity. Live it, love it, find your peace in it.[/quote]

Certainly not as eloquent as a TC or Chris Shugart post, but it’s close to the feeling that motivates me. I love to trian. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to train.

I see close to 1/2 the student body at my university carrying 3/4 the mass of said student body. I see children getting horribly obese. I can’t let that happen to me. I won’t.

And, through personal training, I hope I can keep that from happening to at least one other person.

  1. The desire to be strong as f#%@ and there are no limits.

  2. The hour in the gym is the only time I push all frustrations away and just lift to get strong as f@#!.

  3. I dont know what else I would do without the bar on my back and in my hands and getting strong as f#$%.

  4. Get myself strong and then help get other people stronger than myself.


My friend, great post! Working out is such a force multiplier. If you invest the work and time, the dividends are so great in multiple areas! I will go over some of my favorites!

  1. As I read in a different post today the fitness lifestyle can be used as a cure so to speak for an unhealthy lifestyle on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I myself have used it to overcome negative and self abusive habits i.e. partying to much, bad eating habits, depression, and so on.

  2. A big part of my lifestyle revolves around hunting and hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Let me tell you nothing can kill the fun of a hunting trip like being in piss poor shape, in fact it can down right ruin your desire to go!

  3. I went to an Octoberfest event in my hometown this past weekend. I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but here goes… I observed many guys walking around in tight tank tops. The standard body type was pretty typical, your classic pear shape consisting of an almost complete lack of shoulders and very skinny arms almost lacking any discernible muscle, flowing into a wide pudgy mid section then into skinny legs.

My view is to each their own and if your happy like that more power to you, its just that, that look doesn’t appeal to me. It is a big motivating factor for me! When I find myself slipping into negative habits where my muscle tone starts to go and the midsection starts to grow… Alarms start going off that prompt me to get my ass back to the gym! In addition nothing beats the attractiveness that a woman who works out has! These are just a few of my reasons!

Oh man, I want to write a big long response to such an awesome post, Vroom, but I need to go do some high-intensity cardio right now. Hopefully I’ll be back to write more later so we can keep this going.

For right now, I’d say the #1 thing that motivates me…women. Yeh, I’m married, so to some this might seem shallow and immature, but I’m not going to apologize. Girls got me in this game and now staying attractive to them is still the thing that gets me going more than anything.

Does that mean I’m trying to “keep my options open” in case things don’t work out between my wife and I. No. I love my wife. But there’s just something about making a woman you aren’t involved with do a double-take.

For right now I’ll leave you with a quote from “Merry Christmas, Bob” by Chris Shugart:

“By the way, do you know what it’s like to turn the head of a beautiful woman because of the way you’re built? It feels good, Bob. Damned good.”