Motives. We all have them and they shape nearly everything we do. The problem is, many times we aren’t even aware of what they are. They work from our subconscious and negative motives can either set us onto a path we shouldn’t be on or corrupt the one where we belong. Knowing your motives for something can set you straight and allow you to attack a goal with everything you need to accomplish it. It can also turn you away from a path you shouldn’t even be on in the first place. Either way, knowing your motives is good thing.
What I see when I look at social media is a bunch of people trying to create a place where they can fit in, be recognized, feel a part of. I really don’t see too many people that seem to be training for the love of training. What does it mean to love training? It means you would be doing it even if there was no competition to train for and nobody would even know you trained other than, possibly, by looking at you. It means likes for a gym video don’t really matter. It means you don’t feel the need to make some training related Instagram post every time you train. It also means you realize that lifting, in the grand scheme of life, doesn’t really matter. You just do it because you love to do it. There are plenty of reasons to love it without all of that stuff.
When I started competing in powerlifting back in 2002 there was no social media. There were no places to post updates on your every movement and pictures of your meals. It was actually a lot more pure in most ways. By this I mean we did all of it because we loved to do it and nobody would ever see 99% of it, and nobody cared. We were training in garages because most commercial gyms would kick us out and the few gyms where we could train as a group usually meant a 30+ minute drive to get to. The same could be said for bodybuilding. It was also pretty much just an underground subculture. The shows that had 80 competitors now have 500. Now powerlifting and bodybuilding are “cool” because you can throw some hashtags on a picture and it seems like you have a following. It seems like what you’re doing actually matters to other people. Would you have been doing it when it didn’t seem to matter? I can’t answer that for you but I can venture to guess that some wouldn’t. Fitness, bodybuilding, and powerlifting have become trendy. Trendy means an influx of people who are only in it to be part of something, not because they really love the game. Trendy means a million girls throwing up ass pics on IG and buying followers because they think that will somehow translate to fame. Trendy brought in thousands of competitors who think that their training and competing will somehow change the course of their life. Trendy brought in people who do it for no other reason than a number of likes on their pictures makes them feel important in some way. Social media destroyed the purity and the realness, if that can be a word, of the game. If you think you fall into these categories it doesn’t mean you absolutely need to quit. You may have started the journey with different motives. That’s what you need to get back to. I’m telling you that you need to change the motives. Change them now or you will burn out and fail because all the work you are putting in is set on a foundation of B.S.
Anddd for my next trick I will destroy all of the stupid motives people could have for training and competing. **If you started reading this please finish reading this. This next part will be a little harsh but there is a point to it**
People who strive after winning competitions or gaining status in these sports because they think it will make them money are in for a long hard road of disappointment. If you think status in these sports means you will somehow make a living directly from them you need to drop that idea. People who make money in this industry do so because they are good at business. How many top competitors try ,and fail, to start successful businesses in the industry? A lot. And that’s because it’s got little to do with what they have accomplished and everything to do with what they bring to the table as an entrepreneur. The point is if they can accomplish it with competing they could have also accomplished it without. People know there is next to no money to be made in powerlifting and in bodybuilding there are only a few of the pro shows that pay enough to even cover expenses. Unless you are placing top 5 in the Olympia you are not making any kind of career money. These sports are actually money pits and the worst return on investment you could get.
Question because I think this also ties in to the money motive but I’ll address it anyway. And I’ll address it in two words….nobody cares. The problem with social media is it makes it seem like people care. When we train we are doing something that literally millions of other people ae doing. It’s not special. The only people who care are the people also doing it. Outside of that group of people what we do is pretty odd and obscure. And if you are absolutely phenomenal at the odd and obscure, people care until you aren’t phenomenal at it anymore. That happens pretty quickly and the “fame” is gone much faster than it came. Win nationals 5 years in a row, get hurt, and in less than a year nobody will care anymore. It’s just the way it is. And money from the fame, only if you are good at something that you can turn into a business…see the first point.
This is where people get a box of free t-shirts in the mail and then get to write “Sponsored By” in their profile and list all of the people who use them for cheap advertising. This is also somehow linked to people feeling more important. They get to feel like they are making it in social media land. The land of dead dreams and empty pockets.
For Likes and Followers
This is probably the most common motive that people in this industry are doing what they do. For some reason human beings like being liked and it becomes an addiction. It also has gotten so out of control that a lot of people are completely detached from reality. It destroys relationships and takes time away from possibly doing something worthwhile. If everyone put as much value on their family, relationships, and real work, as they do on their social media… they would be a whole lot happier. It’s still mind blowing to me that people with no vested interest as far as money is concerned, are paying for services to add followers. They are also paying for photo shoots, and not just because they worked really hard to get in shape and want professional pictures. They are paying for them in hopes that the pictures will get them more followers. These are the Instagram models that everyone has seen at least 50 times. It’s out of control.
The common theme between these things is status. The motive to train and compete for some type of shift in your status.
So what’s my reason for this? It’s not to make fun of people but hopefully to wake you up. Everything above is a dead end. And by walking that dead end road you will lose every bit of the real enjoyment you can get from training. Lifting is awesome. It can’t really be explained as to why it’s awesome. If you are someone who just loves it for what it is, that’s enough. It’s one of the best escapes that I have ever found. When we lift we get to take a break from the constant stream of nonsense that the world throws at us. It’s our time alone to work through things. To focus on something that shouldn’t have pressure and stress attached to it. Our time to really just do something with no strings attached. Why would you want to give that up because you are chasing something else that isn’t going to pay off in the end? Competing is great also. But there is a difference between competing because you train and training to compete. If you were never going to compete again would you still train hard? Yes? Then live that way. The competition is secondary. The primary focus is the love of training. Things need to be in perspective. And the great thing is if you need to shift your motives and get back to basics, you may not need to change anything besides that. You just have to get back to doing it for the right reasons. Leave your phone in the car, bring an iPod, shut the world off, and train. No pictures or checking social media. No texts or phone calls. This is the time to just grind it out, alone, for nothing but the feeling it brings. Leave everything else behind and fall in love with training again. Go in and train without your phone. Get some good music and forget the clock. Do it because it what you love to do. Every rep, every set, every session, for nothing more than it feels really damn good.