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?