What is your motivation? Where does it come from? How do you choose a home-packed meal over those donuts near your office when you’re rushed in the morning, or get yourself to the gym after a long day of work? These thoughts have been rolling around my brain lately and I wanted to share a few of them with you guys and ask for feedback on why you do what you do! The kicker is where I’m writing from – the airport! Any guesses to where I’m going? I’m not paying for the trip, it was rather unexpected, and I’m going solo. Thoughts? You’ll find out more later! More reflections on this trip and the state of my work/life balance soon, but I feel like I’ve
vented expressed myself written a lot about that lately, so instead, how about a dialogue on MOTIVATION…
Yesterday while I did my favorite kettlebell workout I was catching up on The Biggest Loser (yes, although I miss Jillian I’m still a fan of the show!). As a trainer myself, I find it interesting to watch the different styles and techniques that each trainer on the show use to motivate their “clients” while on the Ranch. I’m personally not a yeller but more of an encourager, and because the show is somewhat sensationalized, it’s always fascinating to me to see the yelling and commotion and grinding it out going on in the gym. Some people respond great to this; many of my own clients would not, which is partly why I train the way I do – you change a bit with each client. A few lines from last night’s show caught my attention as I watched the episode online today:
Dolvett Quince, referencing the fact that one of the contestants was making light of his health by naming his stomach and cracking jokes: “Cancer patients don’t name their tumors!” Implying that you don’t make fun of the thing that is truly killing you.
“I’m not here to be their friend – I’m here to help change their lives.” – Bob Harper, in response to a contestant on another team who felt at odds with Anna Kournikova.
The first line caught my attention right away because I know several people who have named their tumors, and talking to them helped them through their cancer treatments. Moreover, humor is a key way for many people to cope during hard times; I cannot separate some level of humor from our own cancer experience, in fact.
Secondly, Bob’s line resonated with me because there’s a part of me that wants to be friends with my clients – I don’t want them to dread me coming! Yet I’m never worried if someone throws some weights down in anger/burn out (it’s happened before!), comes close to throwing up (had a few of those!), or complains and moans during workouts (most people, most the time). Why? Because no one has ever said to me, “Man, that was a waste of time,” or “Why’d you even come over here today? There were so many better ways to use my time.” No way! Everyone is glad they got a workout in, and I’m always pumped up and glad they tried after their workouts too.
But those lines and reflecting on training got me thinking about how we motivate others (as trainers) and how you motivate yourselves (as athletes, fit women, in-shape men, as people!). People use all kinds of things to motivate themselves:
– Self-deprecating humor
– Rewards (which can vary from food like ice cream or “special treats” to a vacation or a new outfit)
– Peer-pressure (you hear all your girlfriends going to the spinning class) –> which often leads to guilt
– The pressure to fit in, to look a certain way; living up to others’ expectations
– A friend (“Meet you at the 6 am BodyPump class!”)
– The feeling of accomplishment
Whatever it is that motivates you, I think everything boils down to either positive or negative motivations for our health habits. I believe it’s important to find out what’s driving you and take time to listen to your own words, your own thoughts, and watch your actions to see whether you’re being motivated by things that will ultimately build you up or tear you down. Staying active and eating well isn’t something you do until you reach your goal, it’s a lifestyle – a choice, a change, a new way of living that will continue until you die! So the reasons behind that healthy lifestyle will serve as the foundation for the rest of your life.
Put another way, take time to see if you’re motivated by phrases like these:
– “I can’t believe I had two pieces of chocolate cake last night! I promised myself I’d only have a sliver! Extra miles for me today.”
– “It almost never happens, but I veered from my workout schedule yesterday and took a rest day. Maybe my body needed it? But maybe I just caved. I need to hit those weights harder today to make up for it.”
– “I may not have eaten the best yesterday, but the only thing to do from here is to make good choices with each new opportunity! Working out more isn’t going to undo yesterday’s events anyway.”
– “Okay – step one done: workout clothes are on. I SO don’t want to go to the gym, but if I do and get a good workout in I’ll get that manicure this weekend.”
Just a few different perspectives we might hold on working out and how we motivate ourselves. Just like that tumor that my friend named helped her during her cancer journey, maybe using humor (even self-deprecating?) and “negative” motivation might help? I prefer not the “Come on! You can do better than that!” approach but the “Look what you were doing when you started versus what you can do now!” approach as a personal trainer. As an individual, after torturing myself with the “I can’t believe I ate so much so late at night! Long run tomorrow!” mentality, I much prefer the “Small change now, one choice at a time. Eat well, move more!” approach to my personal fitness. Moreover, I cannot help but think of the verse from I Timothy 4:8: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” The greater motivation for me comes from keeping my body fit and active in order to live my life the best I can to honor God. Being healthy helps with that in every way! I just need to continue to walk the balance between knowing that training counts and is important, but is not all-important in my life.
What do you guys think?
What do you personally practice and how are you motivated?
Have you ever had a trainer who motivated you positively or negatively? – how did that impact you?
Live well & be well today, friends! I’ll be back later posting from a very different place…