Tuesday, September 25, 2007

W5D5 Motivation schmotivation...

I remember when I was doing my Body for Life challenge at the end of 2003. I would turn up at the gym 6 days a week, often at 6am when they opened. One day I was feeling particularly like I'd rather be still in bed, and the receptionist said 'you are our most regular client, you are just so motivated'. I think I probably stared rudely while it sunk in that I must appear to be a motivated person when it comes to fitness. It had never even occurred to me. I imagined that a motivated person would always feel like training and would love every moment. A, quote 'motivated person' unquote, would always want to eat healthy food and not even like chocolate. A motivated person would never hit 'snooze'.

So.. what is this motivation thing? Is it a feeling? I don't think so. Perhaps it is a thing that really exists only in the eyes of the beholder. I don't feel particularly different to anyone else when it comes to fitness and food. I definitely have a rather insistent inner lard-ass that really prefers to stay in bed and to eat lots of comforting carbs, and yet, I don't. I exercise and I eat well, even if I don't 'want' to in that precise moment. One thing I learned is that exercise and healthy eating creates it's own motivation and momentum. You start out feeling sluggish and fat. It's hard to stick with it and keep going, it's like swimming through mud, but you do it anyway. You train hard, pushing your limits, even while you eyeball your tricep flab in the mirror. You stick to your nutrition even though you are not entirely convinced it will ever work for you.. and then, after days or weeks, you start to realise that after a workout you feel better, you feel very kick-ass.. quite motivated in fact. Slowly your jeans get more loose - it takes freaking ages - and when you notice those little changes a burst of motivation hits and you are inspired to do even better.

It's never a constant state, this state of feeling motivated. You can't rely on it to get you anywhere. Think about it... do you feel inspired and motivated to go to work every day? Wouldn't you rather stay in bed?? Most of the time, you realise that if you stayed in bed, you would lose your job and be broke, which is undesirable. If you go to work, you make money and can buy stuff, which is something you want. You have to make training and eating well a kind of non-negotiable situation, just like going to work. If you eat crap and live in your tv anaesthetised comfort zone, you will stay fat and unfit, undesirable. If you eat well and train hard, you get fitter, leaner, have more energy and look damn sexy, eventually... desirable, yes? Do what it takes and the results happen. Losing fat is not voodoo, it's simply the first law of thermodynamics. Science, not magic. You don't have it be in the right mystical state of mind. It's nice when you are, but if you aren't.. meh, you can still get results and later your feelings will catch up.

So, how to get motivated? It's a tough question that I'm asked a LOT. I think it's this:
You have to link into how you will feel, not now, but later. You don't want to work out, BUT, one hour from now you will either be feeling better because you did or worse because you didn't. You can project maybe a week or two into the future and know that, barring an unforseen sudden exit, you will still be alive and will either be feeling proud of yourself for getting closer to your goals or still stuck where you are, wishing things were different. Some people think it's useful to set very long term goals, like years, but that doesn't work for me because, if it's years we are talking about then what is the difference between taking action today, tomorrow or next week? I have to link into something more immediate, like in one hour or in some time frame from a week to a few months. An unmovable event, like a competition, is a good motivator for a longer term project.. the day is coming, and whether you a) look great or b) embarrass yourself publicly is entirely down to what you do right now.

Quite by accident Kek and I have started our new fitness challenge right at the same time and we have the same goal weight. It's quite spooky. I must head over there to see how she is doing, and how those romanian deadlifts are coming along. I like the one legged dumbbell version because it is excellent for the core and also far easier on my back whole I'm executing it, while at the same time completely wasting my hamstrings (in a hurts so good way) If anyone knows where I can link to a vid of it, let me know.

For those keeping an eye on my progress, my next weigh in is now 9 days away. This week (remember, my 'week' is Friday to Friday.. 'cos it just is, ok?) so far I've managed 21 compliant meals out of 30, which is improvement. I've had two moderate free meals and done one HIIT session, one full body workout and one Salsa class.


  1. Try this one:


    Or this one:


  2. LOL is it motivation, or just single mindedness..or bloody mindedness?
    or... is it just that you know you feel so much better AFTER it...

  3. Anonymous4:03 am

    Hi Sara,

    Love your definition of motivation. Will try and remember this when my own insistent inner lard-ass is on the ascendant.


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