Motivation
THERE ARE ANY NUMBER OF REASONS THAT WE DECIDE TO EMBARK ON A PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING PROGRAM. OF COURSE THE OBVIOUS IS THE DESIRE TO " GET IN SHAPE ", BUT WHAT EXACTLY DOES ONE MEAN WHEN THEY SAY THEY WANT TO " GET IN SHAPE " ? WHAT MOTIVATES US TO BEGIN WITH, AND WHAT KEEPS US MOTIVATED ?


PHYSICAL STRENGTH

StrongmanOne of the major reasons that people, and probably especially men, decide to start weight training is to increase their strength. And undeniably weight training will increase your strength when a proper training regimen is followed, (you have been paying attention to the other pages in this site, haven't you?). This is a very good source of motivation, especially for those of us who must use our strength as well as intelligence to make a living. Not everybody in this world works at a desk 8 hours a day, and having the ability to work hard is a necessity for many of us. Of course, this is also a reason for those who do not have physically demanding occupations, to train regularly with weights. All day, every day at a desk will quickly lead to muscular atrophy, and possible obesity, unless steps are taken to keep the body in proper functioning form. The programs that I detail are geared for these circumstances, creating a lean, muscular, functioning body, not a completely chiseled, veins poking out everywhere, unnatural body. These programs are extremely effective for athletes also, because they focus on working the entire body as a whole unit.



CARDIOVASCULAR ENDURANCE

JoggingHave you ever walked a few flights of stairs and wondered why you are huffing and puffing so badly? In our specialized society, there is not a lot of need for physical endurance for the average person. If you do not push yourself beyond the comfortable range regularly, then soon you will not be capable of it when it becomes necessary! Ride a bike, jog a couple of miles, walk on a treadmill, or even just forget about getting that great parking space, and walk from the far reaches of that huge Wal-Mart parking lot. I cannot stress enough the old axiom; "use it, or lose it!".



LONGEVITY

This one is fairly simple, the better your health, the longer you are apt to live, (barring getting hit by a bus). Weight training combats muscle and bone degradation usually associated with old age. Scientific research bears this out, and even if it didn't, a sensible person should be able to make the correlation.



PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS

skinny dippingNOW we get to the heart of the matter indeed! I firmly believe that while most people do care about the above factors, this is the one that really motivates. I am not saying this is a bad thing. It is our nature to try to attract the opposite sex, (or the same sex in some cases, but I'm not going to get into that). And yet, it seems that while we are bombarded with sex in our lives, by all forms of media, it still is regarded as a unspeakable issue in many aspects. In my mind this catch-22 is a very strange thing. Sex is the very reason for each and every one of our existence. It is the very basis of life itself, yet it is "dirty". I guess I'll never figure that one out. Anyway my point is that as long as we are not totally self-centered and narcissistic, there is not a thing wrong with wanting to increase your sexual appeal, and it is a very strong motivating factor ! And who knows, you just might get lucky!



ON-GOING MOTIVATION
Cash Lift

Sometimes I really don't know how I, or anybody else for that matter, stay motivated. I know that some mornings, crawling out of bed and facing a grueling weight training session is the very last thing I want to do. However, undeniably and without fail, after my workout I feel totally re-energized and alive. Maybe this feeling alone is enough to keep you motivated once you have experienced it.

The most important aspect is to keep a positive outlook. When one first starts on a program to improve their physical condition, often the changes happen very quick, because the new diet and exercise is a drastic change from what your body has been experiencing. This is obviously good for motivation. However, after a period of time those initial gains and improvements start to slow down and level out because your body has shed the initial excess pounds, and you have increased your strength and endurance up to an initial state of what you might call "physical equilibrium". This does not mean whatsoever that you have reached your peak. On the contrary, you are actually just beginning, but now the changes are much more subtle, and are going to come much slower. This is the point when many people get frustrated and give up. This is why gym memberships tend to dwindle after the first couple of months every year. Those New Years resolutions to get in shape showed initial promise, but the results are now slower in coming, so people stop going to the gym, and they give up on proper dietary habits. This is a big mistake, because the reverse changes will also come slowly. You will still be in pretty good shape after not working out for a few weeks, and that may lead you to think that you can continue to slack off. Rest assured, your body will revert back to it's former out of shape self, I know this from personal experience.

Your body adapts at it's own pace, and you cannot change that. Look at the positive side of your progress. Maybe you manged to eke out one more rep on the bench press or squat after being stuck on a plateau for a month. Maybe you added 5 lbs. to the bar when you did curls, or maybe you ran a half a mile farther this week than you did three weeks ago. These may seem like inconsequential gains, but actually they are of utmost importance. They serve to prove that your body is indeed progressing. Maybe that progression is not as fast as any of us would like, but the alternative is the inevitable deterioration that will come if you remain sedentary, and that in itself is motivation for me!



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September 11, 2001