"It is part and parcel of human nature to have bad days, times where low motivation levels prevent us from reaching our full potential". How many people would agree with this statement? Well, I am here to tell you that it is time to retire this tired old axiom.
Why should low motivation and 'bad days' be an accepted part of our lives? While many perform at less that optimal from time to time, accepting this as normal could put us on the path to failure. And accepting periodic motivational decline as inevitable might program our minds to view failure as something we must all routinely experience.
Yes, to reach the top, in most cases we must experience some setbacks along the way. However, once we have learned the valuable lessons - usually disguised as failure - necessary for personal growth, our outlook should be geared towards continual success - but only if we want the best possible outcome.
Those who have achieved greatness in life have at least one thing in common: they have learned to program their minds to accept only positive outcomes, while acknowledging the possibility of failure during the early stages of a particular task or endeavour.
They set realistic goals, but always aim for the top. And underpinning the success that stems from such thinking is motivation, the quality that prompts us to question how bad we want a certain outcome.
If our motivation is high we are more likely to put forth the effort required in achieving our targets, if it is low we will lack the inspiration and follow-through needed to attain the same outcomes. Which brings us back to the opening statement: should we accept lapses in motivation?
Those who achieve at the highest level would probably say no. These are the kinds of people who routinely achieve their targets without allowing the negative thinking that characterises low motivation levels to creep in. In many cases they achieve despite odds that would dissuade the average person from continuing.
Are you one of these people? Chances are, if you are a regular visitor to this site your motivation levels are good, but are they good enough? Are you able to consistently perform at the highest level, a feat only possible with the highest motivation levels, a state where the mind is programmed accordingly and success-oriented thinking comes naturally?
If not, this article is for you. Once again Tony Catanzaro, who has been a very busy man of late, gives us his take on the mental aspects necessary for bodybuilding success. This time he discusses motivation, how he uses it to his advantage, and what he feels others should do to add more of it to their lives.
As bodybuilders we are faced with many different requirements (nutrition and training being the more important), all of which result in larger, better conditioned muscles. Clearly a certain degree of motivation is needed to achieve these requirements, but to make it further than you ever thought possible, a little extra help is needed.
In the following, Tony gives his personal insights - based on his many years of experience and success as a bodybuilder - into how we can all achieve the best possible physique. I guarantee after reading this you will have substantially improved your chances of success. Get to it!
[ Q ] What motivates you to be the best bodybuilder you can be Tony?
David, when I was a boy I always envisioned myself at the top. I wasn't sure of what I wanted exactly but I knew I would one day be great in some area.
I started working out at age 15 and I knew right away I was going to develop one of the best bodies anyone has ever seen. And this is what we all should do if we desire a life worth living: imagine yourself at the very top and is will be a lot easier to make that climb.
I guess what motivates me is the feeling of pushing myself. Life is a battle and I feel that my physical training keeps me focused and balanced.
Bodybuilding is a great sport when it's used to help strengthen ones body and mind and that is why, in my opinion, there is no room in this sport for drugs. As I said many times before, bodybuilding is a beautiful thing when it's done naturally. And that is what motivates me personally.
[ Q ] Some find self-motivation when it comes to training, hard. What can these people do to improve their motivation levels in the gym?
- Using Visualization To Enhance Your Prowess! - By Kelly Baggett
- Visualization: Make Each Rep Count! - By Reform Mag
- Focus And Visualization! - By Joe Corleone
Motivation all starts in the mind - you have to mentally prepare yourself for your workout. I begin doing this as I drive to the gym. I'm mentally focusing on what body part I will be working that day. I go through set after set in my mind, visualizing how I'm going to feel and how great the pump is going to feel after each exercise.
When I start working out, I'm already there mentally so the pump comes that much easier. Remember: bodybuilding is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. If you can overcome the mental you can achieve the physical.
[ Q ] I guess we all have bad days from time to time. When you experience a bad day, how do you motivate yourself to train?
I have many bad days just like anyone else, so what I do at that point is throw it all away. If I can't change it at that moment, I don't sweat it. Of course prioritising is always important. I'm not one of these guys that would go to the gym and workout if a family member was sick or in need of me, or if I had to take care of some other important business. Remember, the gym is always there; family and priorities are always first.
Another thing I do is to leave my cell phone in the locker. I see this all the time: guys and girls trying to workout while they are talking on the phone. How can you expect to concentrate? Keep your mind on your workouts if you're in the gym. Train your muscles not your mouth.
[ Q ] Diet is a major component of a successful bodybuilding program yet many find it hard to stick to a low-fat, high protein/complex carbohydrate diet. What would you recommend a person do to in this instance?
If you want to fly high you have to be willing to open up and spread your wings! There is no easy road to victory. Like Arnold said, "It's those last two, three, or four repetitions that make the muscle grow. If you can't go through the pain, forget it."
Diet is key, so you have to do what you have to do: "Eat clean to be lean."
[ Q ] Sticking with diet as it is such and important bodybuilding variable, what other mistakes have you observed people making when trying to stick to their nutrition plan? How would you use motivation help?
One mistake is going on and off your diet (yo-yo dieting). Your body will adapt to anything you do, but it cannot adapt if it's constantly changing from week-to-week. It's best to follow a basic diet: this way your body's metabolism won't get confused.
Eat the same number of meals and same amount of food each day. If you throw your metabolism off-balance, the rest of your body will feel off-balance and your workouts will suffer. Keeping this in mind will provide greater motivation to stick with your plan.
[ Q ] When you feel like cheating on your diet (as most people do) how do you use motivation to control the urge?
- Cheaters Always Prosper: Guide To Cheating. - By Marc Lobliner
- How To Make All The Foods You Eat Taste Better! - By Dr. David Ryan
- Regaining Your Focus After A Day Of Indulgence. - By Shannon Clark
- Other Cheat Meal Articles...
I cheat whenever I want to, but I don't go crazy. It's ok to cheat with good wholesome foods but stay away from fast food chains and food that is loaded with preservatives. If you feel like pizza, have a slice or two at the most and get it from a pizzeria.
Don't eat a whole frozen pizza loaded with preservatives and sodium. But, like I said before, I recommend sticking with your diet for the most part. Condition your mind to the routine of day-to-day clean eating and you can't go wrong. This is what any champion bodybuilder does.
[ Q ] As most who use this site know, you are an extremely motivated person. How do you accomplish so many things in what seems minimal time?
I'm a fighter; I don't limit myself to anything. When your mind is right, you're dynamite. You have to always push yourself and handle your business. Of course there are times when I wish I could just enjoy the day and take it easy, but then if I did that I would probably get bored and complain that I'm not going anywhere.
Because of this I don't care how hard I push myself. I'm in balance with myself, and I don't feel overworked. I enjoy what I do and that's what keeps me motivated. I get a rush out of every new project I get or accomplish. After I accomplish one goal, I immediately go onto the next goal. I feel that we all need something to keep us in drive. Too many people live their lives in neutral. I would never do that.
[ Q ] To illustrate your organisational skills and motivation levels, provide a list of your most recent accomplishments and explain how you managed to coordinate all of these while staying motivated throughout.
Well here's a perfect example. I was in South Africa last month and prior to leaving I was having my kitchen redone, which took a month to complete. I went from cooking all my meals to having no stove (nothing but a mess inside what was once my kitchen). I had to also stay home day-after-day, forgoing my regular gym workouts and instead workout in my home gym.
This went on day-after-day week-after-week. I had to get myself in the best shape ever for this infomercial I was doing in Africa. So instead of saying, "I have to get to the gym and I need to eat a certain way and everything has to be perfect", I didn't think like that at all.
I started to say positive things to myself like "I can do this and I will get in even better shape working out at home, I won't have any distractions like I do at the gym. I will be better focused on my workouts at home, I will eat even cleaner and I won't have the stress of cooking all the time, it will be even easier for me."
Of course in reality, it wasn't, but if you program your mind to believe that it is, then who's to say it isn't? Remember, the mind is always in charge. The body simply does what the mind tells it to do.
Well, I went to South Africa and everything turned out great. I arrived in great shape and my mind was right - even though I had major insomnia while I was there. As some of you know I have bouts of insomnia from time to time. But no matter what, you can't give in. Keep fighting and you will learn that the only thing that matters in the end is the size of your heart and the strength of your character.
[ Q ] That is interesting: Insomnia is a problem that affects many people and something that interferes with motivation. When you experience insomnia, how do you maintain your motivation levels?
I just don't think about it because if I do it will only get worse. If I stress over it and say, "Man if I don't sleep I won't be 100% and I have a big day tomorrow," and so on, that would be counterproductive. And this is why most people don't sleep to begin with: they stress. I try not to give it energy - I know that no matter what I will get the job done.
[ Q ] Motivated people lead busy lives. But sometimes being extremely busy might lead to burn out. How would you counter burn out?
I think people burn out from the stress of their work. If you love your work, then it can't burn you out. Let's say if your job was counting money and you were able to keep the money after you counted it. Would you get burnt out? No, you would count until you were unconscious because you loved money. "Love what you do, and you'll never be blue."
[ Q ] I understand you are currently co-writing a book on motivation and success. Tell me more about this. How do motivational books inspire people?
Yes David, good news for anyone who wants to achieve greatness in life.
You and I are writing a motivational book entitled "Reach for the Stars" which should be completed this summer.
Motivational books are great but what makes ours so very different is the fact that it's not just motivating, it's inspiring and uplifting and written from the perspective of two guys who have found a winning formula for success. If you're a bodybuilder, or a regular Joe, or a businessman or woman, "Reach for the Stars" is a must read ?- it will inspire like no other book of its kind.
[ Q ] In "Reach for the Stars" it advises people to always be aware of what they want out of life, to live their lives with their goals constantly in mind. How do you do this without getting sidetracked?
Like I always say, keep your eye on the prize. Your goals are like directions to your destination, you have to first plan them out in your mind and then put yourself in drive and don't take your foot off the gas until you get there.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
[ Q ] Visualization is often recommended as a motivational tool. How would you use visualisation in your life as a motivational technique?
Like I always say: you have to see it in your mind before you can make it happen. You have to create a visual blueprint in your mind. I do this with everything from home improvements to photo shoots. I envision how I want the final product to look and feel.
I can actually see myself holding up that trophy, changing peoples lives, being the best I can be, making money, living a happier more fulfilled life accomplishing all my goals and going through life with full force! If you can see this before it happens, then it will happen if you plan it out and work towards success.
[ Q ] How can people lacking inspiration become more motivated?
Read "Reach for the stars" (laughs)! Seriously, "Reach for the stars" has all of the tools necessary to reach your peak mentally, physically and emotionally.
Once you have read this book, look at yourself in the mirror, and make a commitment to yourself and most of all trust in God because motivation is like faith, you have to stir it up from the inside.
For those who find it hard to become motivated, there is a way forward: a spark can be ignited with the help of others who have walked the same, or a similar path and succeeded.
[ Q ] As bodybuilders our training intensity is a major factor in the results we get. I am sure many of our readers can remember times when the intensity of their workouts was such that they experienced the best feeling of accomplishment ever. What motivational tricks do you use to achieve the best possible workout?
Before I begin my workout, I go through the set prior to me actually doing the set. I envision the blood filling up that muscle I can actually hear it. That's why I like to train alone.
At the moment I'm helping my friend Anthony win his first contest so I'm training with him day-after-day - he is a great guy and we are good together, but for me to be at 100 percent, I need to train alone. I need to concentrate on just myself.
This is what works for me. Some guys need a training partner all the time and if that helps motivate them great. But if that's the case then are you really self-motivated? Remember, a warrior holds his own sword for battle.
You must find that motivation that burns within you and when you do you will never need anything or anyone to help you for the rest of your life! Become your own person, a leader, not a follower.
[ Q ] Some people seem to be constantly motivated to achieve whereas others appear to completely lack drive and determination. What separates these people and what can be done to improve motivation levels for those who find it hard to wake up in the morning much less achieve to a high standard throughout the day? When all else fails, what can be done?
Like I always say there are two kinds of people: those who want fish to eat and those who are willing to learn how to fish. If you're the type of person that just wants to have a great body and not work for it, you are very weak minded and you will never be where you want to be.
You will go through life blaming others for not achieving what you wanted in life. I love what Rocky said in Rocky 6:
and get what you are worth, but you got to be
willing to take the hit."
Remember, a person isn't judged on what they have, they are judged on what they had to go through to get it.
[ Q ] It is said that ones motivation levels are often based on whether their life has a purpose or not. How do we build purpose into our lives?
Everyone feels down from time to time. I battle with depression now and then but this is normal. God put feelings into my heart and I know that there will be clouds from time to time (this is normal for most people) but beyond the clouds lies an incredible sunshine.
Remember, your sprit and faith is what makes you who you are. This is something you have to believe; it's not something you can buy at a store. Faith and belief in yourself are the strongest weapons you could ever own. Learn to step back and not take things so seriously - life is too short for that. I'm working on this myself and because of this I'm able to have better balance in my life.
[ Q ] Great words Tony. To conclude, if you could give one piece of advice to someone seriously lacking motivation, what would it be?
You have to find out what it is that is stopping you. Once you do that, work on killing that part of you. I like to call this "starving the enemy". Little-by-little, don't give energy to the negative thoughts that come into mind such as, I'm never going to have the body I want, I'm too fat, I have bad genetics or I just can't do it.
Stop thinking like that and start saying, I'm going to the gym and I'm going to keep my eye on the prize, I'm going to look and feel better than I ever did. I'm a winner inside and out, everyone can tell I'm a changed person - I'm a warrior! Personally I don't need anything or anyone to do it for me, I have myself and that's all I'll ever need for the rest of my life!
Get motivated. I know you can do it and now is time to prove it to yourself!
God bless you always,