Motivation, there are a variety of definitions out there to describe that ever resounding word, we often hear them when we are in the fitness game; whether it be for our health or for a more poignant goal like running a marathon or competing in a bodybuilding contest. One I found stood out to me this evening as I lay pondering this, which read:

“The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behaviour”.

One thing I have seen from working with people who are aiming to get in shape is that they lack motivation. When I first made a decision that I wanted to be fit, I was laying in a hospital bed with 16 staples, 13 stitches, a drain from an open wound and 2 drips coming out of me. I was recovering from a major operation which involved a bowel resection, and in trawling through hundreds of books I had just finished one written by the world famous athlete Lance Armstrong.

Something within me, that little voice, connected with what he had written about and I immediately set about telling people that I was going to run a marathon. Consciously, I really and truly did want to run that marathon. It was what kept me going when I was struggling with the physio I had to learn to walk properly again, and I bought all the gear and numerous books; fully convinced that if I understood what I was about to do “academically” it would make my venture a whole lot easier.

The days passed, which turned to weeks, and then into months. A year passed. Two years! I still hadn’t run my marathon. It dawned on me: I wasn’t motivated. I didn’t really want to run a marathon! I didn’t want to spend hours and hours of my time getting fit. I have never been interested in sports, least of all anything involving running. My goal was one that was based on ego in some ways; I had looked at what I thought would be difficult and something I could brag about.

I had no purpose and no direction, as outlined in the above definition. My only goal was to run the marathon and prove to the world I could run 26.2 miles, there was nothing else to it. There was no subconscious drive or underlying factor that was embracing me when I woke up each morning. There was quite simply no reason for my action! I felt like a failure. I had set out to do something and I hadn’t achieved it. But there was so much more to this, and there was such a huge learning and an amazing revelation to come as a result of this step in my journey.

I was now able to take a step back and look at what really motivates me. What drives me as a person? What makes my heart dance, and my breathing get faster? And there it was: the idea of sculpting my body, like a beautiful piece of art. I was a shy child, but I blossomed into a confident and well spoken teenager, I loved to act and to be on stage.

I have had major battles with self image and self confidence since my early twenties; and tried every major diet you can think of. I knew I was risking my health as I have a severe case of Crohns disease and I did not care. I have ranged in weight massively and gone between a size 6 and a size 14. I was always slim in my late teens and ate absolute junk, smoking and drinking and generally abusing my body.

I have never suffered with an eating disorder but I have definitely had to overcome psychological problems around food and control. I spent about 3 years of my life bound to a “food diary”. I would literally break out in a sweat if I did not write down everything that passed my lips, and I would sit and evaluate the caloric intake, the fat content, sugar, carbohydrate and protein. I would hide my frame behind baggy clothes and could not stand anyone looking at me or giving me a compliment.

These are things that I am still battling with, but I know I am on the road to recovery. I have real motivation now! My goal is no longer out of reach, it’s happening every day. Every day, when I train hard or I eat healthily, I am sculpting my body to become a figure competitor. I have so many more baby goals- my clothes are shrinking, my body is shrinking and I have more energy than I have ever had in about 6 years.

I am going to be a show girl. I am going to be on the stage I always dreamed of. I am helping others as I work towards my goal and I get to work with other people, which is massively important to me and gives me greater motivation. This is a LIFE goal for me, it’s not a short term high. It is sustainable and obtainable, it is fun, exciting and I have met some amazing people already along the way.

My goal excites, enthrals and gives me motivation. It encapsulates my essence in so many ways. My goal is like a “new love”. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep. I won’t let anyone tell me it’s “wrong” or it “won’t work”; I treat it with the utmost respect and give it my all. I feel passion and commitment to it, I protect it and I cherish it, and it is instilled in me… not as a “dream”, but as a part of my life it is my motivation.

So in closing, I urge you all to take a moment today and reflect on what really motivates you? What can you see as an all important part of your life? What makes your heart beat faster? I found mine. Remember, the answer is usually on the inside.

Elle Mac

athlete workout motivation

This lady has no problem with motivation