Everyone seems to fall into two camps: motivators or those who need motivation. There are books, blogs, and social media profiles pushing motivation as a key element to reaching your goals. It is as if the formula is “get motivated, stay motivated, and you will achieve your goals.” Of course, there is “ team no sleep,” “grind hard,” and “gainz” mixed into this equation as well.
However, my argument is simple: motivation does not work.
I used love when my clients would introduce me as the guy who I “motivated” them. I was a personal trainer after all. I was posting quotes every morning (before it got cool), training them 2-3x a week, and sometimes writing a well-intentioned, but uniform newsletter.
I can see how some people felt that was motivating.
I don’t care if no one EVER said I motivated them again.
I think a lot of trainers are too motivational.
Did you know: I got certified as an aside to coaching football? I only worked with adults because I wanted to practice on them to get better while I pursued a more traditional career as a strength and conditioning coach. I was never motivated to become a personal trainer. I don’t have some 100 pound weight loss story. My pops didn’t take me into the basement as a kid and show me how to train. I didn’t even know I could make a living do this…
Today, there is a strong call to give up the cubicle, leap into the fitness industry, entrepreneurship and sometimes both. It seems like everyone has gym dreams of crushing it. I didn’t see this coming in 2008 when I went independent.
The trend is not stopping at anytime soon either. It’s at an all-time high. While I’m for shoot for the clouds, the real work happens on the ground.
Personal trainers/fitness instructors and entrepreneurs are interesting because entrepreneurship (and fitness) have hit record highs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook from 2016-2016 for fitness trainers and instructors is growing 10% faster than the average growth rate for all occupation, which is 7 percent.
I believe this is awesome! We are going to need an army to fix the obesity epidemic in America. But if we are going to do it – we need to stop using motivation as the main mechanism to make healthy lifestyle changes.
I owe it to clients and people who come to me for exercise and nutrition advice to keep it real. By “keep it real” I mean: share my own experience backed with a little science and wisdom I’ve collected over the years.
A good trainer or coach should want to work themselves out of a job. After someone improves their body composition, health, and performance with the help of a professional, it should be a choice of how and when they continue.
You don’t need trainer to get started. It may help. And you don’t need to have a trainer forever. If that’s something you can prioritize – great. But don’t be confused on how to start or how to continue.
People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
I see motivation like I see bathing. It’s something that use to come natural that you come to hate but eventually love (or schedule at least) because it’s good for you and only you can do it. Because then only people getting baths are babies or broken adults.
If you are not a trainer, coach, or instructor and you are reading this, you may be thinking, “All I need to hire someone who will make me workout out,” to get results. I do not blame you if you do. You have been brainwashed.
You are being bombarded by motivational posts from “professionals” and amateurs about losing weight, having more energy, and “crushing it”. If you hire a personal trainer because you need motivation – stop. Do you know how motivation works?
What’s your goal:
- To be motivated
- To get results
One of those includes motivation and feels great, for a while, but doesn’t guarantee you’ll be successful. The other route is hard, but once you get going you will realize it’s necessary and leads to success at a higher rate.
I believe it is important that you understand what’s more efficient and effective than motivation.
But Ambrose, You ARE Motivational.
Well, thank you.
Let me let you into 3 truths:
I am posting to motivate myself. If you looked back at my post from 2008-2009, you would see so many famous quotes, but almost no “likes” or comments. It did not matter to me. I was posting that stuff for me. It was as if I was making my declaration every morning and I did not care if the world saw it. I put it out there to hold myself accountable and if I got support, great.
You are my motivation. Self-awareness has been a hot topic as of lately, with thought leaders like Gary Vee talking about it regularly. I would argue self-worth is a prerequisite that would serve most people well. The trainer-client relationship is a symbiotic one. Meaning, they can be either beneficial or harmful. When you do not realize how you motivate others too, you are doing harm to your self-worth and risk becoming an emotional leech.
Motivation and hard work just sound better than support and accountability. Almost 15 years into coaching and some words and saying are just more fun and roll off the tongue easier.
If I say “toned” you are more likely to listen than if I said “body re-composition”. Note: toning isn’t real, it’s a made up thing that sounds nice but leads to a lot of confusion.
What does this mean for you and your goals? I’m putting the responsibility for your health and fitness back into your hands. I’m challenging you to action.
Writers Write. It’s As Simple As That
I’ve stopped and started writing since 2006 when I knew I should have started a blog. Before it was popular, but I didn’t stick to it.
I use to think writers must feel motivated to write.
I was wrong. Writers write. It’s as simple as that.
This is my 100th, published, blog post. I still have 30-40 drafts that need editing, but are very close to being done.
I rarely feel like writing. But I do it anyways.
I didn’t realize it, but I was thinking of myself as a personal trainer who writes. That’s why I couldn’t do it. Then I opened myself up to the idea of calling myself a writer who has over 10 years experience in health and fitness. It changed everything.
Let’s switch gears again. I want to give you some practical advice on how you can do this in your own life, for your health or in business.
Why Professionals Are Special
For ten years, I was lucky to have people who depended on me to teach them proper movements. This meant, training was just something that I did. All day. Every day.
I’m on my longest string (44 weeks of going to the gym four times a week) since the winter holidays season of 2012. From 2013 to 2016, you can say I wasn’t motivated. What happened in 2017? Now, I have to prioritize it, by scheduling it, like most people.
It hasn’t been easy or fun. I has been hard, but necessary.
You may not realize it, but it is really unfair to compare yourself to a personal trainer.
Do you know who much downtime personal trainers have between their morning executives and evening teachers to eat right and workout? I use to get paid to work out. The motivational quotes on Facebook and on my graphic t-shirts came with the package.
Here’s the winning formula:
- Decide who you are (not what you want to do). For example, I’m a writer.
- Set a schedule. My schedule is to publish as least one article every Monday, but to write for 20 minutes every day.
- Stick to my schedule. Do the thing I said I was going to do. Remember: writers write.
Think of yourself as a professional [Fill in the blank]. Are you a healthy person. Well say it. Set a schedule and stick to it.
Maybe you are a business owner. Say that then. Set a schedule and stick to it.
Professionals praise process. Losers love the light.
Do you really need to hire someone buy a gym membership? Use the membership you already have? To start choosing healthier food options? Do you need to pay for to get 1% better?
Depends. I know I do, sometimes. From time to time, I hire people to help me. Right now, I am using a strength and conditioning program from another coach because it works. Have you ever heard of Elliot Hulse or Chris Banard?
Yes, I’m a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and nutrition coach who hires other trainers and coaches. It’s what the professionals do. I’m not amateur.
Fitness has never been my passion. I did not quit my job because I felt it was draining the life from me to become a personal trainer. Hell, I had three jobs: salesman, coach, and trainer. I started to make the adjustment from working three jobs, down to two, and eventually one. Then I spent two years busting my ass and making adjustments to go independent and become a business owner.
I was not motivated. I was inspired.
However, I’m still here today because countless people supported me and held me accountable. Those people helped me build habits like:
- Practice what I preached
- Pass out one business card daily
- Collect two business cards daily (still works but you phone is smarter)
- Go to at least one networking event weekly
- Host at least one free event (social or training) monthly
- Read four books every month
- Attend one personality development seminar quarterly
- Take one international trip yearly
These habits have been transferable. I have skills that help me in the gym and at the boardroom table. In my kitchen and at brunch when I’m being social.
Motivation and hustle can be great if you only have short-term aspirations. However, if you want to make something a part of your lifestyle, like health or entrepreneurship, those skills will not get you to a place of continued growth and sustainability.
You have to graduate from grind.
I am not saying kill the messenger. Keep the “Monday Motivation”, hump day aspirations, and even the selfies.
What I am saying is: stop waiting to be motivated. Your feelings will sabotage you. Build habits. They are not sexy, but they lead to success.
If you can use motivation to get you started and get some early wins, you will find that support and accountability will morph into a new sense of inspiration to help you reach your goals.
Don’t make the mistake of lumping motivation and inspiration together.
The fundamental difference between the two. The word “inspiration” comes from the Latin word “inspirare” which means “in spirit” or “divine guidance.” So, inspiration is something that you feel on the inside. As long as you seek motivation, you are looking outside yourself.
With the right coach and an open mind, you may come to experience the best workouts are when you do hard work within. No matter how motivating your favorite trainer is…that’s something you can only do for yourself.
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