Bodybuilding is such a mental sport. Those who have achieved great levels of success have done so not only through great genetics, training and sound nutrition. But also by having the correct mind-set. Having tapped into the powers of mind these athletes are able to push themselves through pain barriers in the gym and also maintain a great sense of discipline when following their bodybuilding diets.
Dorian Yates used to say that he beat his competitors due to his extremely high levels of dedication and being the most motivated to succeed. Dorian would concede that others, such as Flex Wheeler, had better genetics than him but they didn't share his warrior's spirit so vitally important in differentiating between second place and Mr. Olympia's!
Everyone goes through spells of being highly motivated. When training and eating properly are a labor of love rather than a chore. You only have to look at how busy gym's are at certain times of the year, such as early January and just before summer, when all these people are motivated to attain their goals.
But like clockwork they drop off because they didn't appreciate that motivation by itself isn't enough, you have to be consistently motivated. Year round pursuit of your bodybuilding goals is key in attaining the body and competitive success you desire.
We as bodybuilders are in a much better position to be motivated than the regular Joe, firstly because lifting weights is a deep-rooted love of ours and correct eating follows suit as we fuel our bodies for optimum performance. However, that isn't to say that we can't reach higher levels, nor does it mean that we should become complacent with our current levels of development or discipline exhibited towards our goals. With this in mind I wanted to share some successful steps I have taken to ensure that my motivation is kept running red hot.
Read Books That Inspire & Motivate!
I always have built up a great collection of books which I use to boost my motivation through the powerful stories told, or by learning how to successfully tap into the mind's potential more efficiently.
My Favorite Books
Arnold's 'Education of a Bodybuilder' and 'Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding'. Both are classics. Looking at those great black and white pictures of Arnold training at the Mecca are always inspiring. Furthermore, the stories of Arnold's amazing positive mind-set and his incredibly strong will to win is what really gets me fired up.
Dorian Yates book 'Blood and Guts' is my number one book. Every time I look through it I remember how I was when I was 16 and reading it for the first time and how it impacted my bodybuilding journey. Dorian sets the standard on pushing the envelope on training intensity and absolute commitment to his bodybuilding dreams. In this book he talks about what makes the difference between those who talk a good talk yet, never achieve their goals. Dorian states;
I have read that statement hundreds of time over the years and it always reminds me to accept any shortcomings I might have had in my bodybuilding pursuit. Not eating correctly all the time, skipping training for the day, blaming lack of results on genetics. Don't be fooled, useless excuses and poor decisions are made to just keep yourself in your comfort zone. Take responsibility for your actions and become the bodybuilder you have envisioned.
Skip La Cour wrote an excellent book called 'Thinking Big'. This is written in a Anthony Robbins style motivational work book for bodybuilders. With chapters covering topics such as; strategies to achieve your goals, holding yourself up to higher set of standards and how to expand beyond your perceived limitations. I like to look back at my answers that I wrote for each chapter and see if I am achieving what I set out to.
If I have then I get a great sense of satisfaction at knowing I'm moving in the right direction, plus a huge hunger to keep on progressing and reach new levels. If I haven't achieved certain goals I make no excuses. I analyze why I haven't and devise a plan on how I'm going to smash through that goal. Getting really specific with your goals and how you intend to attain them serve to increase your motivation dramatically as with a road map to your goals you feel in control and know what you have to do to make your dreams a reality.
In 'Brother Iron, Sister Steel' Dave Draper really helps to keep you focused with empowering statements written in his charismatic style. One of my favorite parts of the book is Dave's take on discipline, where he states; "I have something to say about discipline. I go nowhere without it. It's tough, it's austere and I treasure it as if it were a loving family member. That is, I welcome discipline always and I long for it when it's not present."
There are so many great books out there just waiting to inspire you that I really suggest in investing some quality time with these valuable sources of motivation.
Watch TV That Feeds The Mind!
I love watching sporting documentaries where athletes have overcome all odds to win. Seeing the strength of the human spirit fight through all obstacles is always inspiring. Hell, you just have to look at the Rocky films to see how much people enjoy seeing triumph over adversary.
Now, I appreciate that after a hard days work and training many of us want to just go home and chill-out in front of the TV. That's great, as rest and recovery are essential to progress. However, at the moment TV is filled with many useless and brain-dead shows. All those reality shows that hooks the public in, to watch and scrutinize people while preying on their weaknesses are a terrible waste on time.
Especially when time is as limited as it is for most bodybuilders, working full-time jobs and with family and friends commitments. Sure, TV is great for escaping the stresses of the day but I think that through seeking out inspiring programs, movie's and documentaries you can keep your motivation tank topped up.
Regularly Go To Bodybuilding Shows
I make it a point to attend the local bodybuilding shows. Luckily, in Atlanta we get quite a few with the NPC, SNBF and NGA holding shows here. I love going to watch and feed off the atmosphere at the events. You can feel all the weeks of hard dieting, training and personal sacrifice the competitors have endured working towards that point of standing of stage to duke it out with others. I always feel myself being energized after the event, and this carries on to the subsequent weeks where I feel my training being pushed up an extra notch. Especially, after seeing the competitors in the class that I would be in. This really fires me up to improve more and never be satisfied, to always be progressing.
I've got tickets for this year Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas and can't wait! The thought of seeing the best competition and bodybuilders in the sport blows my mind. I would well recommend anyone to make the effort to see a IFBB Pro event. Afterwards you can really appreciate firsthand quality of the best our sport has to offer. Luckily for me the GNC Show of Strength is being held in Atlanta two weeks after the Olympia so I get to do it all over again.
Enter A Bodybuilding Show!
This is the ultimate in motivation source! Nothing will inspire you to step up the intensity and reach new heights of discipline as setting a date for a competition will. Knowing that you will be standing on stage in posing trunks displaying your hard work is certainly enough to get the fire burning. The first time I competed I found a new level of commitment I never knew I had. I would never miss a training or cardio session, I never had an unplanned cheat on my diet and felt like I was on a high all day just by the knowledge that I am working towards my dream of competing.
Sure, the idea of standing of stage can be overwhelming. Many people worry if they won't be big enough, cut enough or confident enough. Accepting these excuses for reasons to not compete is just a way to stick in your comfort zone. I suggest that if you want to compete deep down, then to set the date, make the commitment to yourself and don't look back. You only have to look at the great on-line training journal's bodybuilding.com has to see how the journey leading up to the contest is an amazing ride. I hope this article helps you with further increasing your motivation and keeping you progressing forward.