Thursday, May 3, 2012

Defining Your Motivation

This morning I was having a great conversation with one of my guys about sources of motivation. He was telling me how he finds himself being more productive in a group setting rather than going on solo workouts. The reason? The energetic vibe he encounters when others are working just as hard as he is. In other words, he feeds off the energy from others given the environment they create as a group.

I conversed with various folks about their personal and/or preferred sources of motivation and as no surprise this is what I discovered - all of them had different aspects of what they considered personal sources of motivation. 

When defining 'motivation', you get the following: "The process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors; what causes us to act."

I know from personal experience that many people deal with struggles and difficulties when they hit that wall - experiencing a plateau where results cease and progress slows down, maybe even comes to a complete stand still. I've been there myself and remember vividly how burned out I felt with my training & nutrition lifestyle. For almost 1 year, I remember working at a gym and never touching a weight nor getting in a great quality workout. I was so tired and occupied with life that I felt as if I didn't have the time to train & exercise. Combined with an "I'll eat whatever I want" mindset & lifestyle and you've got a perfect recipe for disaster. After taking some time to evaluate my situation, I had to redefine my personal as well as professional goals. In doing so, I was able to resolve my "burned out" attitude and replace it with the things that motivated me and start making incremental progress in all facets of my life!

The whole idea for this post is to share with you sources of motivation that may help you get out of a rut. I know it may not be easy and may take some time but as long as you don't quit and allow things to get the best of you, you'll be back in the game while making significant strides to continue onward and upward.

Here are some things that I consider to be resources, strategies and tips to help you get and stay motivated:

Environment - As I mentioned in the opening of this post, environment can be a critical factor for those looking to step up their game. Every time I seeing other people working hard and pushing themselves, I can't help but to feed off their energy and do the same. That's where the sense of "if he/she can do it, I can too" comes to play. This is in no way a competition with anyone in particular, but rather a self-competitive attitude in general with oneself to determine levels progression - simply to get better with the disposition of improvement. The energy associated as such just spreads like wildfire and can become contagious....which I think is awesome! Ever train with a group of athletes? It's amazing! Talk about a game changer - your mindset automatically escalates one notch higher which translates to taking your training to the next level.  Personally, I get really jacked every time I see athletes train. Why? Because training like an athlete is intense but it's fun!

Music - Ever worked out in a gym or attended a group exercise class while playing music say by.....Air Supply? (Even the fact that I had to YouTube the link to that song sucks!) I don't know about you but I know I couldn't stand to workout/exercise to any slow-tempo music. So what do I consider quality, motivational music? Well, I guess you can say that's relative to the person. But for me, here are some tunes that help me get psyched and ready for what I call "Superhero Action"! Again, your taste in music may differ than mine.

Videos - Check out the video below and tell me it doesn't motivate you? It makes me wanna kick something....or someone! Just kidding - sort of! HA!

Physique/Vanity - Some folks get motivated simply with the mindset and demeanor to look great! I mean, who doesn't, right? We all want to look good and feel above & beyond. We want to have that ultimate comic book Superhero physique that turns heads and have people sayin', "Holy crap....that dude is shredded!" or "Wow, that girl is the epitome of sexy!"

Family - Being a positive role model is a fantabulous source of motivation. Having the support of family is amazing. Not only that, but being a role model for family members who can follow in your footsteps is awesome too! One of my guys noted that he finds motivation by being an example for his kids. He maintains his level of training and eating right so that he can keep up with them but to also have them mimic what he does to create the ultimate healthy lifestyle. Also, you know the old saying that kids say, "My dad can kick your dad's butt"! By being an active parent and staying fit, this saying may just hold merit as long as you stay motivated and stay in tip-top condition! HA!

Pets - I'm a huge animal lover and a dog owner. Luckily for me, I own a dog that's full of energy and doesn't know the word 'quit'! Every time we have play time, we find ourselves going 110% - running, jogging, playing chase, throwing and fetching. If you're looking for some extra motivation in addition to finding a loyal friend who's always eager to release lots of energy, you should highly consider getting yourself a dog! Plus, dog's kick ass! Period!

My dog Chelsea hangin' out on the beach! 
Movies - Back in the day as a young fitness trainer, I remember watching the movie "Pumping Iron" with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I tell you what, after watching Arnold, Franco, Katz, and Ferrigno to name a few, I was so amped up that I wanted to go and crush a workout right then and there! To this day, when I see that old '77 flick, I still get amped up!

Quotes - I like reading quotes that speak volumes and have meaning. I've come across many motivational fitness quotes that always put me in the frame of mind to create greatness! Here are are few that I like and hope you will too:
  • "You're only one workout away from a good mood." - Unknown
  • "I'm not telling you it's going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it!" - Unknown
  • "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going" - Jim Ryan
  • "The difference between 'try' and 'triumph' is a little 'umph'! - Marvin Phillips
  • "No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch!" - Unknown
  • "We don't stop exercising because we grow old - we grow old because we stop exercising." - Dr. Kenneth Cooper
  • "Nothing happens until something starts moving!" - Albert Einstein
  • "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." - Henry Ford
  • "Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction." - Unknown

New Clothes - I always tell my guys and gals that the best problem they can have when it comes to clothes is shopping for new and smaller sizes! Right?! As you start torching body fat, building lean muscle and start looking lean and mean, you want to be able to showcase the goods from all the hard work, time, sweat and energy you've dedicated to get there. What better way to do so than by having a new wardrobe! 

Activity Events / Fun Runs - Lately I've been hearing of so many physical activity events as I'm sure you have too. Events like the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, as well as various national and local marathons, cycling events and races. What better way to get and stay motivated than by signing up for any of these events and making yourself (and other people who may be participating) accountable while training, eating right and doing the right things to prepare you for your event of choice.

Fitness & Nutrition Journal/Blog - When I started my 'Life.Health.Wellness' blog back in 2008, I did so with the mindset to share my knowledge and personal experiences in a way where others could understand where I was coming from - people could relate to the things I was writing about based on experiences that we all encounter and go through. What motivates me about blogging is the ability to tell stories, share ideas, talk shop about health & fitness (since this is what I do for a living) and discuss all things as they relate to our "Life, Health, & Wellness". There's no better feeling that I get knowing that people from all over the globe are reading (and hopefully relating) the stuff I post. Aside from blogging, why not start a fitness, nutrition and lifestyle journal and keep track of your daily progress. This is a very powerful tool that anyone can do and use as a tracking resource to see what progress is being made, what's working and what's not.

Books - I love books as I'm always hungry for knowledge and thirsty to learn new things every day! If you find yourself struggling with health & fitness, take the time to educate yourself with some of these books that I highly recommend:

Make A Money Deal - One of my good friends and colleagues and I started training at a gym together. To make sure we were going to show up for our training sessions, we made a deal - the person who misses out on any training session owes the other $100 cash! If that doesn't motivate you to show up and be on time, I don't know what will.

Vacation/Down Time - We all need to take the time to 're-charge our batteries' and clear the mental clutter. What better way to do this than by taking a vacation and taking some down time.

Food - Believe it or not, food can be a motivational factor - if used in the appropriate context. In terms of fitness results such as fat loss, lean muscle gains, clean earting is essential. With this comes the self discipline from staying away from 'forbidden foods' such as sweets - pastries, cookies, ice cream, cheesecake - and fast foods - pizza, burgers, chicken wings, french name a few. However, eating forbidden foods once a week as a 'cheat meal' is a great way to reward yourself for being in compliance with a clean eating plan. Eat clean 6 days out of 7, you become motivated enough to stick with this plan while letting yourself enjoy and indulge in the goodness of a sweet treat!

Personal Challenges - There's nothing better than challenging yourself in doing things that get you out of your comfort zone. As I say, "It's always the uncomfortable stuff that gets you better results!" Why not take on a challenge such as a "5 Day Sugar Buster Challenge"? For 5 days eliminate all things containing sugar - cookies, pastries, candies, soda, ice cream, jams/jellies, pies, white sugar. Doing so will make you feel tons better as you detox your body from all of the impurities found in these heavily processed foods that so many people eat!

Superheroes - I know, I's the kid in me that always gets amped up whenever I think of superhero characters. But what's not to like about them? They're strong, agile, they fly, leap tall building, drive cool cars, encompass super human strength and they kick ass - literally! If anything , read my "How To Become A Superhero" post I did a while back and apply it to your life!

Faith/Spiritual Wellness - The one thing that's ALWAYS a constant motivator for me is my commitment to being a believer. My faith is and always will be a growing aspect of personal enrichment in all things related in what I do, the choices I make, the people I meet and those I keep close to me. It dictates the will to always do the right thing. I know for certain that having a strong belief system has helped me become a better person as I strive to pay it forward to others so that they may do the same.

"Exercise is like prayer. There's no reason to pray if you're not a believer." - Ray Kybartas, author of 'Fitness Is Religion: Keep the Faith'

Keep in mind that these are just a small number of many sources of motivation. I know there will be days that will be harder than others, days when we struggle with motivation and the energy needed to get us through the end of the day.

However, let us not forget that we have the ability to overcome the negativity in our lives and the will to do great things in order to magnify the benefits of being healthy, happy and content with our 'Life, Health & Wellness'!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences Adrian. Been learning a whole lot on motivation in my Sport Psych courses. I'll be doing a guest post on on sources of motivation. I'll be sure to mention your observations and link back to this article.

Adrian Robles said...

Thanks for your comment Bobby! I appreciate you reading my blog and also for wanting to reference this particular article for your upcoming guest post.