Bodybuilding motivation – Question: “I need help to motivate myself. It has always been my biggest fight. No matter what I do, I can't stay motivated to eat well and train. It prevents me from being consistent in my program and blocks my progress. What can I do to finally change that?”
These are the kind of common questions I get asked, and the answer is quite the opposite of what you think. If you're having trouble motivating yourself, whether you're doing your workouts indoors or at home, read on carefully.
Most people approach their goals as lose fat or gain muscle volume with motivation as the only driving force. They think that's what drives them to consistently do what needs to be done.
That's great, except…motivation is a temporary phenomenon. And this is the main reason for their abandonment…
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Bodybuilding motivation – Why does it suck?
It increases and disappears during the same day, comes and goes during the weeks. It disappears completely before finally reappearing (if you're lucky) after months, years or decades.
You may feel motivated on Monday, but not at all on Tuesday. Yet, it may be the one you've decided to rely on to find the resources to do your bodybuilding sessions.
But it will never work. It's impossible. You are doomed from the start with this approach. In the end, the motivation is a wonderful thing to start doing something, but it sucks to last over time.
And that's why the real problem here has nothing to do with your inability to keep your bodybuilding motivation at 100%.
“Stay motivated” is a concept that does not exist. So don't hesitate to permanently erase it from your brain and stop wasting your time looking for it. You will never find it. The real problem is your belief that motivation is something you must have to do what needs to be done.
This is not the case.
Motivation is weaker than usual
Take my case, for example. I was born in 1967, it starts to do if you know how to count. Do you think I'm still motivated to train? With my osteoarthritis problems along the spine and at the right shoulder? And that, 5 times a week? Every week ? For decades ?
You're kidding, surely not! Sometimes I want to hang myself more than I want to do my session. Yet I almost never miss my workout.
And do you think I'm still motivated to eat mindfully? That I always want to eat the right amount of calories while minimizing aperitifs and appetizers? Just believe!
But I still try very hard...
Keeping Bodybuilding Motivated - How Do I Get There?
Do I have exceptional willpower? Incredible genetics? A private chef who prepares all my meals for me by counting calories and macronutrients? Shit, yes! With my wife, we eat all the seasonal foods that we find in the supermarket near our house in Spain. Nothing very specific.
But what I have are habits acquired over the years and that guarantee me to do what needs to be done, whether or not I feel motivated to do it.
The toothbrush lesson
It's like brushing your teeth. It's not something I'm super motivated to do, but I do it without fail after every meal. It's entirely on autopilot, and my feelings play no part in whether I do or not.
It doesn't matter if I'm tired, busy or not in the mood. I do it because my brain is wired to do it…and I love the fresh breath feeling it gives me afterwards.
It's the same with sports and diet. Admittedly, it will take more time and effort to develop these habits than to get into the habit of brushing your teeth. But the underlying concept is still the same.
So if you manage to brush your teeth every day, guess what! You have what it takes to stick to your diet and training in the weight room or at home. You just need to start approaching them the same way: accustom your brain and your body.
Don't rely on bodybuilding motivation
The first thing to do is stop relying on motivation. It doesn't matter how hard you try to find new and better ways to motivate yourself or feel motivated and stay that way. You will always end up failing if you only rely on that.
Instead, devote your time and effort to develop habits that will allow you to do the important things, even when you don't feel like doing them. This will be the key to your success or failure. So… how do you build these habits to follow your bodybuilding programs?
How to form new habits?
Start by tackling each new habit one at a time instead of trying to do 100 new things at once. It rarely works. Instead, pick one thing you can start doing tomorrow that will help you achieve your goal .
Here are some examples of what you can do ASAP (pick one):
- Do one or two sessions a week;
- Find a training partner in your gym or in your family;
- Eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates;
- Replace sodas with water or unsweetened herbal tea;
- Count your calories with a free application like FatSecret ;
- Weigh yourself daily and track your weekly average;
- Or anything else that might affect your health.
Either way, you don't have to strive for perfection or even come close to it. That will come later. For now, choose one thing and fully concentrate on this thing consistently for 4 or 5 weeks. Once successful, repeat this process with a second habit while keeping the first one intact. Later, add a third thing, and so on...
If you want to better understand the power of habits on your will, read this great book by Charles Duhigg "The Power of Habits" :
Add small habits
This approach will allow you to gradually build a bunch of little habits which will eventually form the bigger ones you need to succeed.
This is the opposite of what most people do. They jump straight from nothing to everything on the first day when they feel a sudden urge to pack on the pounds of muscle before summer. But they inevitably fail when this feeling disappears soon after. Remember all the resolutions you made at the end of last year?
The “one small habit at a time” approach prevents you from being one of those people. And more importantly, this approach creates momentum. You make one small change on top of another, on top of another, and so on. And each of them brings you closer and closer to your goals.
And once you build momentum towards your goals, 3 wonderful things happen:
- Everything becomes easier and easier for you;
- You are much less likely to give up;
- You realize motivation wasn't what you needed 😉
Have a specific goal
Sometimes the best way to get a good dose of motivation is to follow a specific program. It's not that it's going to change your basic resolve, as you now understand. No, but one of the positive consequences is that following a complete program prevents you from asking yourself existential questions.
It's like having a good coach telling you what to do today and on other days of the week. This is exactly what I have made available to you with the weight gain program in 3 months. You don't need a ton of full hi-tech equipment, just a good pair of dumbbells and a tilt bench:
If you do your physical preparation at home, add a motivational music and that may be enough to put you in the right frame of mind. I can tell you that this is my first method of motivation when I'm not in the right frame of mind. A real kick in the back to regain the hair of the beast...
Bodybuilding Motivation – Conclusion
I hope these tips will help you create the little habits that will finally lead you to your goal, instead of letting so-called “lack of motivation” keep you stuck. Keep in mind that the first weeks, or even the first year, will require you to be more rigorous until you reach the famous stage of habit. But the game is worth the candle 😉
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message at email@example.com
Good luck to you !
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