Motivation vs Inspiration- What gets you through your workout?

Earlier this week a client asked me, “what do you say to get yourself motivated to come workout?”  My short response to this question was something along the lines of, “I don’t really need extra motivation, I really enjoy my own training and working towards my fitness goals.”  The longer answer to this question, as a fitness coach and as a competitive weightlifter is the same: I don’t really deal in “motivation” because I am playing at a bigger game, INSPIRATION!  

To many people these words carry the same meaning but when we look deeper they are actually quite different.  Motivation involves me prompting the client.  Whether I am pushing them to work harder during a workout, telling them to get to sleep earlier, or coaching them to make better food choices.  In each example, I gave the client knowledge of why those things were important, we set a standard for success and failure, and I demand accountability when they do not succeed.  In each of those examples, I am the initiator of their effort and focus, if I had not prompted them their course of action would remain unchanged.

On the other side of the same coin is inspiration.  Inspiration strikes a deeper note, when we are inspired to do something we need very little outside motivation or intervention.  I give these client the knowledge necessary to reach their goal, I correct their mistakes along the way, but rarely do I need to remind the client of why they are here doing what they are doing.  Their internal switch has already been flipped and they are going to do what they need to in order to reach their goals.  Inspiration is powerful “because” that creates the foundation for our own internal motivation. 

The challenge with moving from motivation to inspiration is finding and experiencing something powerful enough to honestly inspire us for the long haul.  In reality it is rare to find or experience a singular event or story powerful enough to create a change that inspires us long enough to last a lifetime.  Like every skill finding inspiration and being inspired requires practice.  For example, I am a MASSIVE comic book fan.  I have been reading comic books for over 30 years, the stories and characters are what I am most inspired by. I find ways to apply those themes to my own life and training is what keeps me hungry, to keep pushing the limits of what I am capable of. 

With all that is going in the world today, politically and socially, its easy to read the news and be cynical, doubtful, and negative…the opposites of inspiration. If that is all we take in that is what our reality will be, uninspired.  Focus on the stories that uplift, entertain, and challenge you to be positive in your own life and you will find yourself more open to what inspires you!