Motivation is a tricky thing. One day you can have it, and the next morning it’s gone. I get asked all the time, how do you stay motivated? I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. I love the feeling of working out and being active, but there are still plenty of days when I just don’t have the motivation to do it. But I do anyways. A good friend of mine was talking about trying to lose weight to me recently, and she said she gets home from work and she just doesn’t want to workout. “That’s fine”, I said. “You don’t have to like it, just get up and do it anyway.” Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very important to find exercises and activities that you actually enjoy, but there are going to be times when you really don’t feel like working out but you do anyway. It happens to me quite often. I call them “bitter workouts.” I’m pissed off that I’m there, but I’m doing it because I know I NEED to. I need to because I know that it’s one of the best ways to prevent the long list of health problems in my family, including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease to name a few. I need to workout to prevent myself from slipping into a bout of depression, to blow off stress, and to like the way I look in the mirror. But mostly, I need to workout to prevent a repeat of what happened to me about 7 years ago from ever happening again.
I was always active growing up. We lived on 2 acres in the country and I had two brothers who were constantly into some sort of trouble outside. My mother was the biggest influence on my athleticism from a very early age. Despite her petite frame, she played on both the Varsity volleyball and basketball teams throughout high school. She played amateur doubles tennis until I was about 4 years old, and to this day if she wears a skirt people comment on her shapely muscular legs. I unfortunately did not inherit her legs!! She always took us to the tennis courts with her even after she quit playing the amateur league, and anytime I complained about not being able to keep up with my brothers, her response was always- “Well, run faster then”. She always supported me, whether it was yoga, weight lifting, track, or trying to eat healthier. Her support is one of the best gifts she’s given to me. I’ve never had to think about being active, it was just part of who I was.
Fast forward to my early/mid 20’s and I’m traveling and dating, not a care in the world, just enjoying life. Although this is a time period I look back on with a huge amount of fondness, I remember getting restless but not knowing why. I didn’t know what was missing at a time when I truly thought I could never imagine being happier. And then my roommate at that time showed me a picture of us he took. I have no idea how to possibly describe the feeling I had when I looked at that picture-it was almost an out of body experience. Maybe I got sucked up into some sort of vortex. It was the first time I realized how much weight I had gained-about 20lbs. Although this may seem like a small number to some (and piss some of you off at how small you think it is) keep in mind that I am barely 5’1″ so this really looked like double that amount packed onto my tiny frame. I had no idea how this had happened. And then I thought of all the traveling, and wine drinking, and relaxing at hotels and restaurants and realized how careless I had been with my weight and my health. No problem, I thought. I am a pro at working out, I can get back into the swing of things and get back to normal. So I started to do what I had done all my life- I played tennis, I lifted weights, I did silly cardio videos at home and I ate better. I could tell you about the weight falling off of me, my muscle definition coming back, my skin getting clearer, all the compliments I got, but none of this even compares to the mental change that came with losing weight and getting my health back. I woke up every day feeling positive. I was excited about life, happier with myself, and I felt like I had found the missing puzzle piece. It was a truly euphoric experience.
I was so positive about these changes and I started to think that I wanted to help other people feel this positive about their health. I decided soon after this that I wanted to become a personal trainer. And I’ve never been happier. I love being the emotional support for my clients. I love that I can give them the tools to start on their own path to a healthier, happier life.
I’m writing this blog post from an incredibly vulnerable, personal place because I want to get all of you thinking about your own motivation. It’s different for every single person. Whether you are just starting your journey, or you have reached your goals and are trying to maintain them, you have to dig deep down to find your motivation and remind yourself why you are doing this. This will keep you going. The thought of ever feeling the same as I did that day looking at that picture of myself reminds me why I do this-I will never lose myself so far to allow that to happen again. And I am very thankful that I found my way back.