T Nation

What's Your Motivation?

I am not sure if this topic was started somewhere else, but I have been talking to some people about what made them start training. To be honest, if you take a step back and look at what we do on a day to day basis, it is not “normal” for most people. It would be much easier to sit on a couch and watch TV. But what fun would that be.

So why are you here? What motivates you every day? Or was there something that triggered you way back when? My bet is that we are going to hear a lot of stories about life challenges that people rose up to meet, and then exceed.

I look forward to hearing your stories.

Unfortunately I have no story to tell. I was always into lifting as long as I can remember…Honestly, since I started football in high school when I was 15 or so, that’s when I started lifting and have kept it up throughout the years, I’m now 30.

T-Nation baby!

It was called T-Mag at the time, but when I was a fat lard ass looking to lose “weight”… I lucked into finding this place.

My life hasn’t been the same since.

I’ve been lifting since I was 14. But it was part of training for track, cross country, and soccer. It’s only relatively recently since I no longer play competitive sports, that my main focus has been strength and size. T-Nation has definitely improved my training (and nutrition-as if not more important) greatly. Since joining, I’ve gone from 158 at 5’7 to 179 about the same bodyfat. Was up to 188 and lost some flub.

I also started training at 14. Football bored me so I just took a PE class. The coach had us hitting weights 3 days a week and I loved it. After an hour of lifting we had to run a mile around the track. After one BRUTAL session (leg day?) I hit the track as fast as possible… This is the one time I’ve ever exercised to the point of losing bladder control. Needless to say, I stopped running and avoided pissing myself by about 1/2 second.

Anyway, after 2 years of this I was in really good shape and growing like a weed. One morning while running around the track at the end of class, I though, “I could run all day”. That night, my motorcycle slammed into a truck at 60. Later, I was glad to tell the coach that he was as responsible for saving my life as any Doctor.

Great topic. Lifting weights is not only a mood elevator but the feeling of physical accomplishment feels great. I’ve more to learn about power and olympic lifting but I’m much stronger and able to carry watermelons (mmm, my favorite fruit)than in my twenties. We all need food fo the body, mind, and spirit. Weight lifting is definite food for my body to grow and learn to adapt to physical and stressful challenges of daily life. The weights are always there for me.

This psychological self confidence factor plays into other areas of my life and teaches about goal setting and the daily grind of never giving up on your dreams.

Probably less than 80lbs in the mid-80s and one day my dad let’s me work in with him at the firehouse when he used to do powerlifting with other members of his house. After a few years of training with him I started training in high school and been on my own ever since.

Simply put: I started lifting to look better naked. Back then it was sort of a “have to” thing, but nowadays it’s more of a “want to” thing. I learned to be motivated by my own progress, and that’s gotten me through some tough days when I didn’t really want to go to the gym, or I absolutely needed a pizza (mmmm…pizza). I lift weights now mostly for the confidence it provides. I enjoy the fact that people are aware just from looking at me that I don’t spend my days sitting on a couch watching Punky Brewster reruns.

…and oh yeah, I still want to look better naked!

  • TF

I personally was a very skinny guy when I graduated high school. Think 6’1", 135 pounds. But boy was I ripped. :wink: Track and soccer kept me way too lean. Couple that with getting beat on and health problems that lasted for too many years, and I was looking for a way to change the misery of my day to day life.

Fortunately my brother worked out, and I started going with him. Made many mistakes, read too many magazines, and finally learned a few things, better late than never. I can’t imagine my life without it now.

Mine is a story I don’t tell many but here goes. Most of my adult female life I was plagued with pain and problems. I could not count on my body to be there for me when I needed it. This made being consistent with sports or weight training difficult. So I maintained my body through food as opposed to exercise. Like most young women this only works for so long…

In my late twenties I started to lift weights. A few months into the process, just as I was seeing progress I had my first major surgery to ‘alleviate’ my problem. Eight hours of surgery and a bowel resection later I was on my way to feeling better. Six months later my symptoms returned. I struggled with them for another 6 months. Almost a year to the date of the first surgery I had a complete hystectomy and another bowel resection. Six weeks post op, after about 5-6 days of increasingly intense pain I had an adhesion removed from my small intestine. INSTANT pain relief!!

So, after three sudden weight loss episodes in 14 months you can imagine how ‘skinny fat’ I was. I lost approx. 12 lbs with each surgery. On a 5’3" small frame that is more than you think. Early menopause brings on health concerns of its own such as bone density loss etc…

In October of '04 I made a commitment to my health. I needed to do weight bearing exercise (doctors orders) and I was tired of looking and feeling ‘average’. I also needed to be able to keep up with my two young boys. So, I started weight training, got hooked and haven’t looked back since. The benefits have enhanced every aspect of my life.

Pre-training I had even consulted a plastic surgeon about my lower abs. Scars in the shape of an anchor had given me a less than desirable shape. I was told I would need to have them surgically repaired. I declined. Although they will never be perfect due to scar tissue, I am proud that I am making them as good as they can be on my own. The sense of accomplishment weight training has given me is indescribable.

Great thread Chris!! Out of my ‘comfort zone’. But maybe thats good?!

Friend of mine bought one of those plastic and concrete York weight sets from a catalogue store and started doing squats and stuff to build him up for cycling. This was like early 90’s.

I joined in and it went from there although the set only weighed about 100 lbs or something, we went out and got a metal plates one with 100 kg of weights.

A bit later on after spending a fair few years training in a gym started reading MM2k long before it went shit, I kinda liked TC’s and Dan Duchaine’s stuff and later the Charles Poliquin stuff. Which kinda steered me towards this site eventually, although I never posted just read the posts, sheer boredom led me to posting I think. I must have been a sad fucker because I used to look forward to MM2K coming out. Stopped reading it after the issue with the Gold fella on the cover.

[quote]AG1 wrote:
Great thread Chris!! Out of my ‘comfort zone’. But maybe thats good?![/quote]

Thanks. Some people just have this lifestyle built inside, but most, like Shugart said in DC, need to get angry to get this motivated.

Well I’ve been training to look better. I’d been told one too many times that I was too skinny. I normally wouldn’t respond to a post like this, but I was actually just thinking about the reason I work out last night. After being honest with myself, I no longer want to do it for purely aesthetic reasons. Maybe I finally let myself see that after I’ve reached some long term goals

When I was about 15 years old I worked out very hard about 6 days a week, for an average of about 2 hours a day. I didn’t touch a weight all summer. Everything was mountain biking and sport (usually basketball). When thinking back about that summer, I felt by far the best I’ve ever felt, even much better than I feel now (currently I’m in ok cardiovascualr shape and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been). I felt like I could accomplish anything that summer. So I’ve decided to spend more time doing cardio and I’m now switching my motivation from primarily wanting to look good to primarily wanting to feel good. I’m going to push myself until I feel like I can play basketball all day long and still have enough energy to bone the girl at night. And is going to be glorious.

The time to live is NOW. I feel great just realizing what I need to do to feel the best I’ve ever felt.

“Self-improvement is masturbation.” -Tyler Durden

And I’m a chronic masturbator.

But, seriously, we do need to be kept occupied, by garbage like TV and video games or by something more constructive. In fact, I used to play RPG video games, leveling up my character. How damn laughable, when I can level up myself!

And it takes just as much intelligence to grow muscle well - maybe more since the variables aren’t so narrowly programmed.

So I guess this is just a hobby. Some people would bust ass trying to make more money, but I think the body or mind or skills would typically be the last thing that one loses - therefore, I’m more interested in working with those things closest to me. I am my own wealth.

Besides, moving weight is habit now, and not a bad one either.

[quote]chrisp23 wrote:
So why are you here? What motivates you every day? Or was there something that triggered you way back when?

In Jr. High I wanted to be big & green. Then it became a habit.

[quote]lucky_swami wrote:
So I’ve decided to spend more time doing cardio and I’m now switching my motivation from primarily wanting to look good to primarily wanting to feel good.[/quote]

Good ideal!

Multiple reasons:

My first reason was that I was diagnosed as a type II diabetic. Working 3 sedentary jobs, 7 days a week will do that to a person. This started me on my road to better health.

For myself.

My second reason was that now after getting in better shape I was able to play with my kids without getting tired. Sweet!

For my kids.

Then I dedicated to serious weight training, powerlifting, after 9/11. The story about the folks taking back the plane really got to me. I decided I was gonna do everything in my power to do what I could so that I would be prepared in an emergency. I dabbled in TKD and Krav Maga, but nothing made me look better nekkid and feel more badass than lifting heavy iron. This has now evolved into something very wonderful and lifelong.

I’ve found that competing gives me goals in the gym. A reason for my workout.
It makes me study and think and I am way more in tune with my body and mind.
It makes me want to improve my mind, my relationships…everything about myself.

I’ve come a long way and there is a long way yet to go. But I have a love for it, so it is a labor of love that gives back also.

Not only to and for me, but to those around me also.

Good stories everyone!

Seriously, where do I start? I was ALWAYS a fat kid. Throughout my life I never felt comfortable with myself until I started playing football and wrestled. My size instantly became an asset and I did fairly well knocking guys on their asses.

Towards the end of my Junior year I was involved in an accident that shattered my ribcage and dislocated my right leg from its socket. My body has never been the same since. As the years progressed I became obese and lethargic topping out at somewhere around 350-360.

I stumbled on to T-Nation several years back and read as many articles as my eyes would allow and began putting what I learned into practice. After already loosing a hundred or so pounds just off diet alone with the help of a local weight loss clinic, the fire started to burn within me.

I got greedy and wanted more and more. As I started working out more I uncovered a lot of things about myself that I had no idea were going on. I unearthed a spinal cord disorder in Tae Kwon Do class that almost disabled me. Also, I learned I had remarkably low Test levels and have since taken corrective measures.

I now sit between a lean and strong 195-210 pound frame and I am waiting to have the remaining skin on my belly removed as it hasn’t shown any signs of improvement in the last year.

What’s my motivation? Discovery. I still am amazed to look down at my hands and legs and expect to see fat pudgy stumps. I uncover more about myslef with every bead of sweat I shed. I am in charge of the person in the mirror. I create him how I see fit. That’s what keeps me going.


Four years ago I bought my twin sons a bench, some plates and a standard bar so they could workout at home. Being a swimmer, I never touched a weight. Watching my boys do their workouts, I thought “How hard can this be?” You pick up something heavy, you put it down, then you pick it up again… women do this all the time with grocery bags and babies!!!

I’ve been hooked ever since. The first year it was the rapid strength gains and nutrition and lifestyle changes that kept me going. Now lifting has become my Zen, just me against the bar, completely in the moment, feeling both weak and powerful at the same time. Plus, people say I look great for my age and I can carry all the groceries in at once.

Joined crew on a whim freshman year. Discovered I was the smallest, weakest, least fit guy on the team (6’2" 135). Crew taught me to work hard, and when coach assigned us workouts in the gym I got hooked on the weights and on getting bigger.