Why? That’s a question I’ve gotten a lot since taking up weight training. There’s a lot of different ways to answer it but I generally like to stick with ‘Who wouldn’t want to be strong?’. Now some of you might not agree with me and that’s fine, but it’s not the point of this loosely disguised rant. Instead I’d like to talk about intrinsic motivation.
I’ve trained with a range of different people; from best friends through team mates, during my rugby years, to people I met in the gym. Buy every time I’ve ended up back training by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy training with a group of like-minded individuals and there is a lot to be said for training with people who are stronger than you in order to make you stronger. But you shouldn’t be relying on something like that to get results.
The same can be said for music. There is most certainly nothing wrong with cranking your favourite song to 11 right before a heavy deadlift (my personal preference is Tool) but you shouldn’t NEED it to succeed. What if your iPhone battery dies and the gym you train at only plays top 40 hits? Does that mean you should quit and go home, writing off the session as a complete loss? Hell no!
For longevity in training, and life, you need to be intrinsically motivated. Regardless of your preferred training style you should have a long hard think about why you do what you do. Narrow it down to one or two core motivators and have those in your head every time you enter the gym. Don’t walk into the gym and spin your wheels, accepting mediocrity because society says you should.
Find your why. Maybe you have always been the small kid in the group and want to find something to make you bigger. Maybe you were the fat kid at school and you’re looking for a way to be healthier.
Everyone has a reason for training. Some are deeper then others but that doesn’t mean they are any more important. Your reasons are your reasons. If you want to share them that’s great. If you’d prefer to keep them to yourself that’s fine too.
I train to escape to the present. The time I spend training is the only time I get to focus on nothing but what I’m doing. By its very nature lifting weights is a form of meditation and mindfulness. That meditation is the reason I will continue to train long after my powerlifting days are over.
The meditive effect of training is also the reason I’ve always enjoyed training by myself and often in silence. It allows me the purest form of meditation, with unadulterated focus.
Obviously solitude and silence isn’t for everyone but it’s my example of the reason I train. The reasons you train will be different but I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what actually drives you to be better. Find that one thing that stokes your inner fire and nurture it. You will be a better lifter for it.
Until next time,