I think there’s a difference between inspiration and motivation. Inspiration is what spurs the beginning of the action, motivation is what keeps you coming back for more. In those terms, there were two things that inspired me: Girls and a WANT to better the world. I thought that if I worked out, lost weight, and looked good, I’d get girls’ attention and I’d be getting phone numbers left and right. I started working out in college and there were a lot of girls I was interested in. So that’s why I started. But I was also inspired to workout because I want to change the world for the better (which is a big thing to do, and some would say it’s outright crazy) and it’s my belief that in order to do that I need to change myself for the better first.
Over time the reason I keep working out has become for overall improvement in myself (my health, my strength, and my stress relief) and less about girls’ numbers. What motivates me is different. There’s 3 things that motivate me: My sister, my strength, and my success.
(1) I’ve raised my sister since we were little. She’s the one person I care most about in this world. Unfortunately, she deals with the same weight issues as I did, my whole family does. If I expect my sister to become a healthier person, I need to show her that I can do it first. She also needs guidance, the more I learn, the more I can teach her about nutrition and losing weight. She’s my biggest motivator, I have to be her role model and her teacher so she can become as healthy as she needs to be.
(2) Seeing my strength increase weekly definitely keeps me coming back for more, it’s like I’m competing with myself. The stronger I get, the more I want to lift, and the more I want to keep working out.
(3) My overall success, I have a goal weight of 190, which I’m going to attain by June 15, 2016 (my 24th birthday, I’m 22 so I have a bit of time). Having that end goal keeps me focused. The only thing I know how to do is chase an opportunity…chase my dreams. I am building something. I will work as hard as I can, with as much focus as I can have to attain that goal.
I’ve actually lost the most amount of FAT since being at CSC. Before working out at CSC I was mainly focused on the scale, not necessarily body composition. I’ve gotten A LOT stronger and A LOT faster as well. I would say I’ve made the most significant changes while working out at CSC and I have all of the trainers there to thank for that. They’re always giving me quick critiques and tips for improving my lifting and my diet.
In college, I was all about bench press, biceps, and going on the treadmill for hours on end. I only worked out for hypertrophy (usually 4 sets of 15 reps) and never worried about strength. I just wanted to be smaller. Since I moved to Boston, I’ve shifted my focus towards powerlifting, while still having periods of hypertrophy training and I incorporated HITT instead of overly long treadmill walks. My strength has shot up quite nicely because of it. I can now lift WAY more weight in the three compound lifts, while in a caloric deficit, than I could while in a caloric surplus a year and a half ago. I think what has really made the biggest difference is knowledge. I’ve read so many books on weightlifting, watch so many YouTube videos of powerlifters explaining technique, and gone through trial and error myself. Knowledge is power. I’ve never had a trainer, I’ve been doing this whole thing by myself (aside from getting tips from CSC trainers) since I started so I’ve had to learn a lot.
Everything has changed. I used to snore EXTREMELY loudly; I would always wake up in the middle of the night; and I couldn’t run for more than 3 minutes. I will say this though, working out makes me tired. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I’ve been starting to use it more to stay up and study. It’s still worth it though.
Gummy bears. No joke. Gummy bears and sour patch kids have been my biggest challenge. I LOVE candy more than I love girls. I have a big sweet tooth, so my diet has always suffered. Again, like the lifting, I was oblivious to what was healthy and what wasn’t.
I used to starve myself thinking if I didn’t eat I’d lose weight, but then I’d get extremely hungry and binge eat. Over time, I’ve read nutrition books, watched YouTube videos, and gone through the trial and error. Figuring out my calories and macros has always been my biggest struggle. Growing up my parents just fed us and told us to stop when we were full. There was no portion control and no concern for healthy options. Fast forward to 17 year old me weighing 287 pounds. So I’ve never known how to control myself with food, but now I am able to eat healthy throughout the week and still fit in some gummy bears when I’m craving them. This past year, I’ve definitely honed in on what it takes for my body to lose weight, lose fat, and keep my strength. Recently, my biggest challenge has been my back injury.
In November of 2014, I was deadlifting and I lost concentration thinking about something outside of the gym, which I never do. I went to lift the weight and all I heard was *CRRRRAAAAACCCCCKKKK*. As soon as I dropped the weight I felt a sharp pain shooting down my spine. Honestly, I thought I was going to die. So I rolled it out, left the gym, and couldn’t get off the couch for 3 days because I was in so much pain. I wouldn’t say it was a severe injury because I was back in the gym the next week and I set my bench press PR that week, but I still have pain because of it. It happened a couple of weeks before Christmas break, so when I was back home I didn’t lift for the whole month. When I got back here in January I started lifting light and switched my deadlifts from conventional to sumo, which was annoying at first, but I’m starting to like it more and more. I’m focusing on building core strength so I don’t snap my back up again. Even with this, because I don’t have the money to go to a chiropractor or a doctor, I’ve had to read up on my injury and learn how to stretch it out and massage it so it doesn’t hurt as bad. My deadlift is getting back to what it was in November, so I’m definitely making slow improvements.
I have never, ever lost motivation to go workout. Working out is an addiction for me; I have trouble taking rest days. I think working out is actually my motivation. If I’m at school studying or in class, the fact that I get to go workout after keeps me motivated to pay attention and finish my work faster so that I can get to the gym faster. My roommate and I both go workout in the morning some days and I’ll be up at 4:30am happier than a clam because I get to go workout soon but he’ll be dreading it. BUT, I’m in law school so sometimes I won’t go to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning and I’ll go to the gym at 5am anyways, that’s when I lose a bit of motivation. It usually happens mid-workout, but I just blast my music and keep going. Music definitely helps me keep going through the workout.
There are three things that have changed. First, I have a bigger butt because of deadlifts and squats. Second, I’ve lost a lot of fat around my face. Going through old pictures, I can’t even believe how much fat I had around my cheeks and chin. Lastly, although I’ve always been a really happy/smiley person on the outside, I’m way happier on the inside (if that makes any sense). I guess I should elaborate on that one. Growing up I was always the funny, happy, smiley, nerdy kid, but on the inside I was always really angry. Now, I’m just the funny, happy, smiley, nerdy kid ALL the time!” I love working out because I like seeing the progress I make. I remember my very first workout ever I couldn’t even bench press the bar, which is pathetic, but now I can lift a little bit more than that. I also love it because I can zone out, I can forget everything else and just focus on the weight. I turn my music on, put my hoodie on, and just lift. I know I’m probably known as the quiet one, it’s not because I don’t wanna talk to anyone, it’s just I’m in the zone (as corny as that sounds).