This is not a write up on staying motivated enough to get yourself into the gym every day to train. It’s more an attempt to look at the possible reasons as to why we train, and from there to try to learn what it is that is truly motivating us. What is it that drives us as essentially recreational athletes, to push ourselves to the breaking point on a regular basis? I’ll admit that this is a topic of particular fascination for me as there must be some underlying psychology that each of us in this specific situation all have in common. So let’s attempt to uncover the dark mysteries of our iron souls and get to the bottom of this. If you have any input on this please share it as it’s the sharing of ideas that improves us all.
Those that frequent the gym I attend at the times I go most often have likely heard me utter this somewhat breathless and confused sounding question, ‘What are we doing this for again?’. I usually get a laugh in response and I laugh as well, and on we carry with our respective self torture in the name of building a healthy and strong body. It’s more than that however, and like all good stories let’s go way, way back to the beginning. The place when this passion was first ignited in us and see what, if anything, we can learn about ourselves.
Try to remember, if you will, the first time you lifted a weight. It probably was in a friends basement or perhaps it was your older siblings rudimentary set of dumbbells and barbell that you picked up for that introduction into what would eventually develop into a lifelong passion. Can any of you reading this remember what that moment felt like? I personally can’t, but I can tell you this, it must have felt either very good or it awoke something from within because I can honestly say that from the first time until now, the thought of that feel you can only get from the lifting of weights has never been far.
This is coming from someone who has gone extended periods of time away from the experience as well. At times years away from weight training because of the devotion needed for other pursuits and a lifestyle that was really not conducive to training at all. Even during those times the thought of the feel of those weights was never far. I would tinker with programs in my head or want to test theories that I had come up with and knew one day if I was ever fortunate enough to get the chance again to take training seriously, I would grab hold and never let go. Eventually that chance came, and I was and will forever stay true to my word.
So what was it that has kept me chained to this’ sport’ for lack of a better description? Is it an obsession, or an addiction, or some compensatory action in a misguided attempt to balance my unsettled inner self? I willingly admit that my need to train is made up of parts of the first two mentioned, but the third part is probably a larger component.
Something happens to me when I lift. It’s not getting in the zone, or zen or whatever phrase you want to attach to it, because the something that happens isn’t a result of my focus on the lifting. It’s the focus received as a result of the lifting. All of a sudden everything comes into focus in a way that wasn’t there before. Everything that is happening and has already happened in my life gets put into perspective. It’s like a reordering of every thought I’m having and have had. As a result I find my place in all of the chaos that surrounds me, and I can once again move forward in a productive manner that is helpful to others as well as myself.
If this all sounds way too deep for what is happening to me during a session of weight training at the gym, then I’ve a question to ask you. Why do you come back day after day, week after week and year after year? What may have started as something to prove or a desire to get attention for your physical attributes can definitely get you started down this road, but the fuel from those hollow goals will be short lived.
That initial motivating force has long since left the building with a quiet whimper, so silent that you didn’t even notice, as the true nature of your passion took root. Then that passion grew to the point where you can no longer imagine a life without that need being fulfilled. Sure it’s a great way to relieve stress and be healthy as well as social, but now it’s so much more.
Of course it’s those things as well that dwell at the front of our conscience that get us to the gym every day. We want to look great this summer, be healthier so we have more energy and live a full and productive life. I’m not for an instant saying that these things and many others don’t make up a very long list of reasons that get us up and ready to train each day. I’m just suggesting that at the core, no not that core, the core of what makes us the individuals that we are, there is something within each of us that is different. Maybe that thing has a name or some sort of physical place that it resides, and if anyone knows what it’s called and where it is please pass that along. For now though I’ll have to be content with the knowledge that maybe it’s just a part of us and maybe we all share that something between us and ultimately that’s why we do this, as a way to share that feeling. Have an amazing weekend,