Gaspari Nutrition

Ron Harris

The Secret to Motivation

Motivation seems to be a huge issue for a lot of people I talk to. They ask me how I stay motivated quite often. Even more commonly, men and women both tell me they want to lose weight and/or gain muscle, but they just can't find the motivation to exercise and eat right. Anyone who knows me knows that I am usually pretty blunt, which some people appreciate and others, not so much. My response to people who tell me they can't 'get motivated' to work out or eat a healthy diet is this:

"You don't want it badly enough."

Some of you reading this may have even been on the receiving end of this message from me in the past. As you can imagine, the shock of this response typically triggers a defensive mode from the person. They insist that they do want to lose weight or gain muscle, but . . . From there, a litany of excuses follows that will include things like I don't have the time, I don't have the money, my spouse is unsupportive, my job is too demanding, I have kids to take care of, etc. Not to belittle any or all of those very common reasons offered up as to why someone simply can't achieve their fitness goals, but they are all bullshit. How dare I say that! Sorry, but it's true.

If you want anything in life badly enough, motivation is never a problem. Even obstacles won't stand in your way. Here's an example that all the men will understand from their prime reproductive years of roughly 16-25. When you were that age, your sex drive was ridiculously powerful. That's because it was literally a biological drive to reproduce. You didn't need any motivation to try and seek out sex. In fact, you would have done pretty much anything to get it. It didn't matter if you had to travel outrageous distances, stay awake for 48 hours or more, or spend every cent you had in pursuit of that raging urge. You wanted it so badly that absolutely nothing was going to deter you.

Those of you who are a bit older might remember the late Mr. America Steve Michalik, best known for his 'Intensity or Insanity' style of training that involved up to 100 sets per bodypart. A teenager named John Defendis approached him in his Long Island gym in the late 1970's seeking his help as a coach. John wanted to be Mr. America too. As legend has it, Steve told John to meet him at the beach early the next morning. Once there, they walked out into the surf. To the teenage Defendis' horror, Michalik then tackled him and held his head under water for well over a minute. When he finally let him up for air, he told the kid:

"When you want to be Mr. America just as much as you wanted that breath of air, I will train you."

Defendis went on to win the Heavyweight and Overall Mr. USA title in 1988 and became an IFBB Pro bodybuilder. What am I getting at? Any goal you have in life is really something you want, right? The difference between the goals you achieve and those you don't almost always comes down to your level of desire and passion to reach that goal. If you don't want it that badly, you probably won't ever even try to reach it. You'll make excuses why you can't and even though in the back of your mind you would still like to do or be something, it never happens.

Now think about the things in your life you have wanted so badly that you were willing to do whatever it took to have them. You worked hard and long and never gave up. Even when you ran into obstacle after obstacle, you persevered and found ways to keep going after your goal. Nothing could or would stop you from getting what you wanted, because failure simply was not an option.

For me, I was a skinny kid who dreamed of being muscular. There were countless people who told me there was no way I was ever going to look anything like a bodybuilder. Did I let that discourage me? Not at all. If anything, it got me angry and more determined than ever. "You'll see," I would tell them as they would roll their eyes and reply, "okay, sure." Many pointed out just how average my genetics were. They were correct, and it is true that genetics do dictate your ultimate physical potential. But most people only see the negative in that fact. No, you can't look like Mr. Olympia unless you were born with very rare genetic traits. But what if you truly maximized whatever your genetics are by training as hard as you could and eating tons of good food over a period of many years? Most people quit long before they ever remotely approach their ultimate genetic potential. Those who don't are rewarded with outstanding physiques. Do I look like a pro bodybuilder? Maybe not quite, but I'm much closer to looking like a pro than 99% of the guys who lift weights in gyms are, and it's because I refused to ever give up and never lost that desire to look the way I wanted to.

So what do you want to do? Be very specific in your answer. Write it down and tell people about it. More importantly, how badly do you want it? Do you want it so badly that you won't let anything get in your way? Just about all of us have busy lives with work, kids, keeping up a household and all that goes with that, etc. You can either let these things deter you from your goal and use them as excuses, or be creative and find ways to use your time and money more wisely so you can get after your goal. Before any of you email me telling me how insensitive I am, save it. The people who coddle you and sympathize with your plight and accept all your excuses aren't doing you any favors. At the end of the day, are you going to do it or aren't you? And if you are, start NOW! The people who say they are waiting until the time is right or this or that to be in place never get started. The time is NEVER right and everything is NEVER ideal.

Again, it all really just comes down to how badly you want something. Only when you want something so badly that you decide you will get it no matter what, will you start moving closer to achieving your goal. Until then, you're just another one of the literally billions of people on this planet who talk about what they want but never go after it.

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