"Motivation" is Overrated

For better or worse (and for the introvert in me, the worse), Summer has a way of forcing you to meet new people.  With weddings, parties, BBQs, etc. I always tend to find myself describing what I do for a living....and receiving some pretty interesting questions.  Among them:

This show is like watching 5 train wrecks....at the same time.

This show is like watching 5 train wrecks....at the same time.

  1. "I'm so out of shape, can you not look at what I'm eating!?"
  2. "I want to get stronger, but will I get too big?"
  3. "Is Bachelor in Paradise really that good?"
  4. "What are some of your motivational tips for clients?"

Now, my answers usually go something like this:

  1. No, I don't care what you're eating. Knock yourself out!  Seriously!
  2. Let's cross that "too big" bridge when we get there....worry about getting strong and picking up heavy things.
  3. Make no mistake, Bachelor in Paradise is complete trash on TV.  But, if you want to turn off your brain for a couple hours and make sarcastic remarks while drinking a beer....it's perrrrfect.
  4. My motivational tip is pretty simple: I have none.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying things a wee bit here, but I've never seen the subject of motivation as being that complicated - either you have it or you don't.  We're all adults, and if someone doesn't have a deep sense of motivation when they walk in the door, having me tell them why they need to workout or eat better isn't going to fix it.  

Serious motivation.

Serious motivation.

I can think of several former clients of mine that I knew were only around because they felt like they needed to be there....not because they wanted to be there. It's unfortunate, but it happens.  The same people usually rush through their exercises, don't really care about their form OR the journey, and the only thoughts crossing their mind are "get me out of here," and "wow, this guy really loves his deadlifts!!"

And you know what?  That's OK.  I know not everyone is excited about lifting heavy things and getting stronger.  In fact, I've often remarked that my career is an exercise against human nature - we'd all much rather sit on the couch then hit the gym and really get after it.  It's what makes us rational beings!  

Of course, that's not to say that those former clients didn't have some form of motivation that led them to me in the first place.  But, motivation cannot be forced. After all, who knows ourselves better than....ourselves?  We all must come to grips with any changes we want to make, and all the screaming in the world isn't going to do any good if someone hasn't fully embraced a decision.

Did you hear that, Jillian Michaels!?!!!? Besides being one of the worst trainers in the history of ever, here's some of her classic rants....which did nothing but make for fun TV:

She's probably only one notch above Tracy Anderson when it comes to actual fitness knowledge, and not only is this video simply unprofessional, it's uncomfortable to watch.  And yes, it was probably edited a specific way for television, but there's a reason why so many people on The Biggest Loser eventually gain all the weight back once they leave the show.

What do I do instead of yelling/screaming and trying to act like Herb Brooks in the movie, "Miracle?"  Well, I'm hopeful I can eventually coach with a warm heart and empathy.  It's something I'm working on, but it would be a lot like this speech from the Little League World Series last week.  Yes, I'm a bit slow on the sharing, but it absolutely stole my heart and will steal yours too!

Awesome New England accent aside, THAT speech is coaching.  It's not trying to yell and scream and give someone direction, it's knowing what to say when something NEEDS to be said.  I hope to get there one day, because coaching is much more than showing someone a proper deadlift.  There are so many clients I'm proud of, and I hope they know it.

So, rather than end on a sappy note, I have a pretty simple test if you're unsure about your motivation: do you need to search YouTube for inspiration?  Because if so, you've already found your answer.  Instead of Googling, think a bit more about the what and the why, and trust me, you'll get there.