LIFTING WEIGHTS: DEALING WITH LOW MOTIVATION

At the beginning of our training journey, we are under the influence of special euphoria experienced every time something new enters your life. With every opening come hope and great expectations. You feel like you have finally found a solution to your problems, an escape route, a way to reduce the misery.

This feeling goes away faster than you think. It may seem unreal to you right now, but there will be periods in your life when you will have zero motivation to train.

I began training when I was about 17 years old. I was completely uninformed and couldn’t tell the difference between biceps and triceps. My knowledge on lifting weights was limited to action films. I would do push-ups everyday, because that’s what the movies showed. I didn’t know you were actually supposed to have rest days. This was counter-intuitive to me. I believed you should push the limits every day. That’s what I knew and that’s what I did. The result? I got an injured elbow quite fast. The injury was nothing special, probably needed two weeks to heal. But who has two weeks when at 17, right? I trained through the pain and got in a much worse state. Why? Because I was controlled by the very same euphoria. I took my new mission very seriously. The muscular body was going to be mine. I had the “Never quit!” attitude.


As you can guess, I have experience at the other end of the spectrum too.

Last year I lost all motivation to train. I though I was done. I hated everything about training and stopped all kinds of planned physical effort for over 7 months. Not because of an injury, but because I didn’t want to train. I was like: It’s over; that was it; retirement.

Ironically, there were times when I would look online for a gym when I travel (which happens 1-2 times a year) just to do my training, but at that point I was completely sick of the whole dirty game. The love was gone, the heart was empty.

That changed the last few months of this year. I started training again. Somehow someway I got hooked again. I began by just doing pull-ups once a week. Then I added dips and then a few more exercises. I set some basic goals. It worked – the mechanism was restarted. I am still training today and I don’t think I will stop by desire anytime soon.

There is an old movie from 2002 called Rodger Dodger. It’s about the first love troubles of a teenager whose uncle is trying to teach him how you are supposed to get the girls according to modern standards.

A quote from the movie stuck with me for many years.

Fine. I don’t quite remember the quote word by word, since I am about to check the script, but I still known the essence. Here’s the quotation:

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Nick: It always drives me nuts when I hear a guy going on about something a girl does that’s supposed to be so sexy.

Andrea: Like what kind of thing?

Nick: I don’t know. Like how she flips her hair. How she stands with one foot to the side. It could be anything.

Roger: What’s wrong with that?

Nick: Because that’s nothing. That’s just something she does. And she probably only does it because she saw it in a movie. It’s not real. It’s not their real stuff.

Roger: All that stuff– the hair flips, the mannerisms, the catch phrases. They add up to the personality. So they are what’s real.

Nick: Yeah, but it’s all the outside stuff. That’s fine in the beginning. You need the outside stuff. You need, like, the reasons to be in love. But I think you can get past that. I think you can get to the part where the little tricks don’t mean anything.

Roger: I say you are attracted to what is in front of you. End of story.

Andrea: How romantic.

Nick: It takes years and years together.

Roger: Yeah?

Nick: I can’t describe it exactly but it’s like there’s nothing she can do. All her usual ways of hooking you in have no effect and yet you’re still in love. It’s like the act is over and you get to the part she’s been hiding. And she’s been hiding it because she thinks that’s the part that’s gonna blow it or make you leave or get bored or whatever, but you get to that part, and you’re still there. And you’re even more in love.

Andrea: Wow.

Roger: Have you met my nephew? His name is Jesus.

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Damn, it’s a whole dialogue. That’s why I didn’t remember it word by word. I will just sum the conversation the way I understand it.

People’s external personality is developed through various forms of conditioning coming from the outside world. There is no way to avoid it. The world around shapes us. We often do things, just because we have seen so in a movie or music video.

You can only know you are truly in love with a person after all superficial stuff is gone, and the whole fake/external repertoire has already been used. There are no more tricks left. At that stage you have a chance to see the real raw character of somebody and make a decision. I guess this is an important part of the phenomenon known as “the test of time”.

If you truly love lifting, you will stick with it one way or another for as long as possible. You will continue to play the game even after you have realized that the whole thing has been built on less than honest expectations. You will be there when the special effects are failing, and the only thing left is the raw desire to better your physical abilities with or without visual and external rewards. I can’t say I am there yet. I may never be because I am a loser. What’s certain is that I am definitely closer than I was before.

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