Do you really know the answer?
Often, the answer we give is as simple as losing weight or looking good.
Or so you think.
Might be obvious but often, the true answer is a few layers underneath the first answer you give.
Is it to look good?
To feel good?
To be healthy?
Everyone has their personal reason for doing so but it’s an important question to try and figure the answer out to.
When my why didn’t exist
My brother was the where it all started.
I was a typical kind of college student, just going to college, getting drunk 2-3 times a week (when I say drunk, I mean not knowing where I am, drunk!). Late night pizzas, skipped meals, liquid calories and no gym. Living my best life, as it were.
My brother got himself into bodybuilding and lived the exact opposite lifestyle to me.
Super strict diet, gym 4 days a week with intense lifting sessions…man, that guy was on it! In his early twenties, he ended up onstage at Mr Universe, which is an incredible achievement.
He had a strong goal and purpose.
So he took me under his wing, after telling me a few home truths that only a brother can. I started training like a bodybuilder and he showed me the ropes.
4 sets of this, drop set that, sound familiar?
When the initial buzz wore off, I started to get bored. Attention span of a nat! I wanted to do something else. So I started cutting.
"I WANT ABS!"
I’d repeat this cycle every month, chopping and changing.
But I didn’t have a strong reason for doing it. I enjoyed being in the gym, the feeling of working out, being with the lads but I didn’t have a personal fire burning in me.
I chopped and change a lot for years but the end result was I wasn't seeing any significant benefits. You can’t get big in a month and I certainly wasn’t looking lean either. Completely pointless!
So, for a while, I fell out of love with the gym and got to a point where I was at my chubbiest.
The spark that ignited my fire
I proposed to my wife, Claire, on Christmas Day in 2013.
I was nervous as hell but managed to mutter out some form of the speech I had prepared to ask her (honestly, it just went out of the window!).
We’d only been seeing each other since 2012 but I loved my life with her and knew that I didn’t want this to end. She was the one for me.
The wedding in 2015 was a big benchmark for me to get my arse into gear so I bought some kettlebells and, rain or shine, early hours or late, I was outside training. I’d never felt more motivated to get myself into shape.
I’d become known as the “weirdo on the street with the kettlebell” after training in pouring rain at 6am in the winter. Better than being known as "the weirdo peering through curtains!"
At that point, I was in good shape.
The wedding had been and gone but I now wanted to live a great life with Claire, that was my motivation.
I didn’t care about abs or big muscles anymore but how well my body performed and to build it for the long haul. I don’t want my body to fail me and cut my enjoyment or even my time short.
That’s when I discovered there was a Crossfit gym round the corner from me and this appealed to my short attention span and my new motivation.
It focuses on a wide range of fitness and I could focus on setting movements as goals for a healthier body. I wanted muscle ups and to do olympic lifts because it all calls for a healthy, mobile, strong and flexible body.
I was (am) hooked!
It just so happened that by focusing on these long term goals, I look the best I ever had. I’m lean and athletic yet that wasn’t the goal. It was a by product of a long term vision.
Funny how looks and weight loss come as part of a long term plan, naturally! 😉
My son Thomas was born in 2017 and this just cemented this mindset further. No way am I leaving that dude earlier than I have to!
So I discovered Yoga, through ROMwod and mostly online. Some of the shapes and poses I was seeing men and women get into was insane and I wanted a piece of that. The strength in their body and ROM was just so incredible, I couldn’t imagine their bodies failing them.
My tight body will be tight no more!
Throughout this process, I’d accidentally, without realising, discovered my Why. Simon Sinek just put it into words for me and the lightbulb went off.
Start with Why
If you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s awesome book “Start With Why” then I would urge you to do so.
It’s a fantastic insight into not only what makes certain businesses have loyal fans, like Apple but why people do what they do. As Simon says, “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it”
I’d like to go one step further and amend this sentence for you, to resonate on a deep, intrinsic level…
“YOU don’t buy into what you do, YOU buy into why you’re doing it”
What do I mean by that?
I’ve told you my story to highlight that without a solid reason behind your efforts, you’re likely to lose motivation and quit.
I stuck to Crossfit and Yoga when I discovered my why and let go of the typical “I want to look good” mentality that I didn’t resonate with. Of course, we all want to look good and I do too but it wasn’t deep enough to keep me going.
So this is my why…
To create a healthy body built to last so that I can continue to be a great dad and husband.
I don’t train in Yoga because I want to be flexible. I do it to create a body that lasts!
Does that make sense?
So what does this mean for my fitness?
Online programs are built for a quick 30 day shred. If you have a similar goal to me, is 30 days going to be long enough?
You can repeat the same 30 days over and over again but is that going to keep you interested?
Once you’ve discovered why you’re doing something, the What and How fall into place.
How are you going to do achieve that goal and with What tools?
Maybe the 30 day shred is for you to gain knowledge of structuring programs in a way that can keep you lean. That’s cool and I would argue that’s a valid reason.
What other tools are out there to help you get there?
The call to action here is to discover why you are working out and to understand if what you are doing is supporting that goal.
When you think you’ve discovered your why, try and put it in this format. You should be able to put it into a simple Twitter-esque headline. If you can’t, you haven’t found it.
Try to fit it into this format…
To _ _ _ so that _ _ _
Give it a try and let me know what it is by commenting below.
In a bit.