Peeling Back the Onion - Finding Motivation

What is the reasoning behind why some can exercise nearly every day, while others seem like they would rather go to the dentist? There’s seemingly a rather huge disconnection between these two types of people, and it’s been something I’ve had to try to overcome in helping people with their fitness goals. Each person presents their own challenge.

The first battle in any war is being present. If you don’t show up at the gym, then how can you possibly progress? This is the tricky part. We are all unique in what motivates us. Some need that kick in the butt and others need a calming voice or a friend to exercise with. But one thing is for certain – you must find whatever it is that keeps you going.

I once heard the analogy of exercise motivation being like an onion. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m a little obsessed and biased when it comes to food analogies, but hear me out. Most commonly, those truly motivated people (usually around the New Year) set a health goal and begin their journey. They start with an arguably healthy diet for a few weeks and exercise on a consistent basis.

But then “life” gets in the way, and a few months later they’re back to their old habits. Nobody is perfect and we all need to peel back the onion from time to time, which means finding what truly motivates you. Maybe you say it’s simply to fit in “X” size of jeans. But such a superficial motivation won’t get you through those tough times. You need to peel.


Why do you want to fit in those jeans, and for whom? Keep asking yourself questions until you get to the root of your motivation; you’ll probably be shocked at how deep your motivation lies. This is a continual stream of question and answering that does not stop. It is the act of seeking this root that is going to push you through those ugly days when 20 minutes of cardio feels worse than 50 minutes of world geography.

I personally just competed in my first natural bodybuilding competition and put myself through 24 weeks of pretty intense diet and training. My motivational roots come from my grandmother, who is by far the strongest person I know. When I don’t want to train, when I want to swallow an entire pizza but I know it doesn’t fit with my goals, all I do is think about making her proud, and, suddenly, the right decision becomes much easier.

Sure, looking good at the pool is a nice reward for your hard work, but I encourage you keep peeling until you find your root.