Every new beginning comes with hope and great expectations. You feel like you have finally found a solution to your problems, an escape route, a hack, a way to reduce the misery.
Sadly, 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. People forget how the snow feels during the summer, but it always comes.
I began training when I was 17 years old. I was completely uninformed and didn’t know the difference between biceps and triceps. My knowledge on lifting weights was limited to action films. I started doing push-ups every day because that’s what the movies showed me. I didn’t know that I was supposed to have rest days. This notion was counterintuitive to me. I thought that a man should push the limits every day.
That’s what I knew and that’s what I did. The result? I got an injured elbow. The injury was nothing special, probably needed two weeks to heal. But who has two weeks at 17, right? I trained through the pain and got in a worse state. Why? Because I was controlled by the very same euphoria. I took my new mission very seriously.
As you can guess, I have experience at the other end of the spectrum too.
Last year, I lost all my motivation to train. I thought that I was done. I hated everything about training and stopped all kinds of planned physical effort for more than 7 months. Not because of an injury, but because I didn’t want to train.
I was sick of the dirty muscle game.
The love was gone, the heart was empty.
And that made me mad.
However, I I got out of this state this year. I started training again. Some how some way I got hooked again. I began by doing pull-ups once a week. Then I added dips and set basic goals. It worked – the mechanism restarted. I am still training today, and I don’t think I will stop soon.
There is an old movie from 2002 called Rodger Dodger. It’s about the love troubles of a teenager whose uncle is trying to teach him how you are supposed to treat girls according to the modern standards.
A conversation from the movie stayed with me for many years.
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.
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.
Roger: Have you met my nephew? His name is Jesus.
The external personality of humans passes through a tremendous conditionning dictated by the outside world. Regardless of how hard you try, you can’t avoid it. The world around shapes us. We often do things just because we have seen them in a movie.
True love reveals itself only when the superficial stuff is gone. If you want to see the core, you will have to wait for the repertoire to run out. At that stage, you have a chance to see the real raw character of somebody and make a decision. This is 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 realize that it’s 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 that I am there yet. I may never be, but I am definitely closer than before.