#9 – CUT THE CRAP! Thoughts on motivation for fitness & beyond.

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“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals.
If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.”
― Roy T. Bennett, 

MOTIVATION IS THE DRIVING FORCE THAT MAKES YOU GLEEFULLY HOP OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING, FULL OF YOURSELF AND HAPPY TO BE ALIVE – WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?

Motivated people have a dream, show passion and enthusiasm, work with a practical and flexible plan and never ever give up. Motivation is the driving force that makes you gleefully hop out of bed in the morning, full of yourself and happy to be alive. When you are motivated, life is full of magic, and when you are not motivated you need to get there and quick. Motivated people are passionate and positively full of themselves, their enthusiasm and excitement are contagious, and they attract people to them. Do whatever it takes to stay motivated, dream, fantasise and imagine the unique body and fitness that the future you will earn and turn into reality, very soon.

Intrinsic motivation is the key to success in everything we wish to attain in our lives. I would say motivation is the key to the inner universe. With motivation nothing is impossible.

There are many theories on motivation and a general understanding and acceptance of what may motivate you is helpful if you are to be coaching yourself. Many of these theories do seem to be at least somewhat age and sex related but that is no hard and fast rule and there are always exceptions. I also believe that motivational factors are different for each individual and may change at different stages in any person’s life. It is important to accept what motivates you and to accommodate that drive in your programme selection. We are all driven primarily for the need for food, but I think we can discount that as our motivation in this instance, unless you starve all day and then leave your dinner at the end of an assault course. Maybe not that practical and there is bound to be a McDonalds somewhere on the course. An actor asks what their motivation is before they perform so let us see if we can narrow down exactly what your motivation for changing your body and fitness may be.

Sigmund Freud theorises that we are driven by our repressed sexual urges. Alfred Adler states that we are driven by the search for power to make up for what we believe we are lacking, so inferiority, inadequacy and insecurity determine the strength of our drive and ultimate goals. He uses Napoleon as an example of an inferiority complex. He was highly motivated because of his lack of stature. Erik Erikson believed that identity crises are essential for us to form ourselves and that we are driven by forming those identities. The last 2 psychologists I will mention here are Viktor Frankl, who believed that man’s search for meaning is ultimately what drives him. And finally, to Abraham Maslow whose hierarchy of needs shows that we have an order of needs that begins with food, water, shelter and safety and goes up through the higher values of self-esteem to ultimately becoming self-realised and driven by values and life meaning. I think it is fair to say that we are complex organisms and all the above are true to some degree in most of us.

Young men are generally the most obvious in what drives them, and they are training either to excel in sport or just to be bigger, stronger and more attractive to any prospective mates, thus conforming to a society ideal portrayed in magazines and television. The bigger and stronger image is for other guys mostly to strengthen their identities in the pack. This drive quite easily leads into the middle years in men as well particularly if they are in amongst the young guys at the gym. Sadly, muscular size is overly revered in society but that is just the way it is. So, if you are a guy and your motivation is to get bigger and stronger that is great just remember that fat is not the way to go. Gyms are full of size monsters that are just plain overweight. Cardio, leg work, good eating habits and stretching need to be included in your workouts. Nobody is fooled by Mr upper body except Mr upper body. Quality above quantity is the way to go, it may take longer but will be well worth the wait.

For men the society acceptance threshold for being overweight is higher than for women. An overweight guy is “a big bloke” and totally accepted up to an invisible limit, where he becomes fat. For women that limit is much lower, and society is less forgiving of overweight women.

For young women it is not important to be strong and powerful and in fact a woman with muscle could be frowned upon, again there seems to be a line not to be crossed. For a while that line was determined by Madonna’s stringy, yet muscly arms. Madonna though is quickly replaced by the next must have celebrity body just like the latest model of a car or mobile phone catches the desire of consumers in a capitalist society. Generally young women are motivated by reaching a weight or dress size acceptable to both society and themselves. You could then say that forming an identity that is shaped by the media is the driving force for women’s fitness and that the painfully thin photo-shopped role models are the gold standard. These motivations lead to women wrongly avoiding weight training in favour of attempting to burn off as many calories as possible with cardio and men not seeing the need to do cardio and spending all their time getting big, yes, and fat. For women this motivation is quite consistent throughout the years.

As men age they start to reach an unacceptable level of both fitness and fatness and health concerns may arise. Confronted with the middle years, they decide to do something about it. This stage being bigger and more powerful is not as important, often married with kids and settled the need to attract a mate is less of a drive. This is often where the drive is to improve the quality of fitness and subsequently the quality of life, the time for more meaning and where being free of health problems becomes much more important, something as a youngster we tend to take for granted. As for strength and fitness the old saying “the older I get the better I was” comes into play. I have heard about some amazing feats of strength that men allegedly performed when they were in their prime.

The quality of life stage is very similar with women of the same age, a realisation that improved health through nutrition and fitness not only makes you look better but improves your moods and the quality of your life, all factors that produce excellent motivation. Have you found your motivation amongst the sex, power, meaning or identity in here anywhere? Desire is the key to motivation, but it is acting to meet your desires that produces results.

Motivated people have a dream, show passion and enthusiasm, work with a practical and flexible plan and never ever give up. Motivation is the driving force that makes you gleefully hop out of bed in the morning, full of yourself and happy to be alive. When you are motivated, life is full of magic, and when you are not motivated you need to get there and quick. Motivated people are passionate and positively full of themselves, their enthusiasm and excitement are contagious, and they attract people to them. Do whatever it takes to stay motivated, dream, fantasise and imagine the unique body and fitness that the future you will earn and turn into reality, very soon.

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-Adam Senex-