One of the most asked questions by veterans and beginners alike is:
“How do you hang in there for so many years without losing motivation?“
We all started weightlifting for a reason, everyone is different, so whatever reason that may be, the important thing is not to forget why you started and most definitely how far you’ve come since you first picked up a set of dumbbells. Like giving treats to a pet, you have to pat yourself on the back for a good workout or anytime you notice progress after glancing in the mirror. In school, gym is one of the classes we all have to take while we are going through development stages of body and mind. Yet when we grow up, get full time jobs, it seems that just when we need that gym class most, we’ve forgotten all about it.
The benefits of exercises are endless, forget breaking records or setting physical standards for your peers, that’s just icing on the cake. Exercising will help you keep your body functioning better, both internally and externally. The older we get, the less mobile we seem to get. We spend hours in cars, we take the elevators and sit behind desks waiting for the day to end. When we come home, instead of rewarding our bodies with nutrients, we give it processed junk, because after the sluggish day, the last thing we want to do is cook. The key to keep moving is to start moving. A light morning jog before work will actually energize you to take on the day. Nobody said you have to run marathons, but with more days logged jogging, you’ll want to up the ante and the thought eventually will cross your mind.
I’ve always had an issue with sitting still. Since I was a kid until now, I’ve always had the urge to get up in the morning and go move mountains. The way I’ve kept it up for all these years is by consistently setting very realistic fitness goals. Small goals like – doing 100 pushups, instead of 80 the week before, running an extra mile, participating in an outdoor event for charity, taking a friend along for a workout, exercising in a new environment, the list goes on – the best thing about the list I would make is that not only would it help me get in better shape, but it would help others along the way. To this day, I still try to set the bar higher. How I got to where I am now is having fun with it, learning along the way and showing people that anyone can be a functional athlete. If I would go to the beach, I would play volleyball, swim, play frisbee instead of laying down and marinating under the sun. I would still get a tan regardless, but I’d feel a lot more accomplished and have more fun moving around. If something is within walking distance, I’d rather walk or jog instead of driving a car.
When I decided to start running events, I didn’t sign up for half a marathon right away. I ran a mile, then a few miles, then a 5k, 10k, eventually half-marathon (13 miles) and ultimately Tough Mudder (a 13 mile physically challenging-obstacle course), approaching every event with realistic expectations. If I ran a half marathon unprepared and failed, my morale would be down and it would possibly discourage me from staying on the running circuit. Same applied to how I approached everything in life, I know things take time and I am willing to pay my dues and learn in the process.
Staying motivated in the gym is the same story, I started lifting weights because I wanted to create an ideal physique. Every workout is a chance to bring me closer to that ideal. Every day I tell myself that I can be better and nobody can tell me otherwise. Your willpower, your drive and your focus should be motivation enough to push you to your next step. Progress slowly but surely over time, listen to your body and be proud no matter how small a step forward is, as long as you are moving in the right direction. The hardest thing is getting started, once you start, your job is to slowly push the envelope. I didn’t see changes right away, but what kept me going was the new feeling I would get training specific muscle groups, learning new techniques and methods, structuring better routines and by the time I looked back, I couldn’t believe how far away I was from that first step I took.
Reading successful stories and biographies of people who overcame the toughest life hurdles, made me want to write a success story of my own. So, here I am, writing one, hoping to one day make people who read this, to believe in themselves enough to push through plateaus. Inside every one of us is a fire burning, all we have to do is add some fuel to it.
Hang on to your beliefs and your pursuit of success for as long as it takes.
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