Knowing Your Why
Understanding your “why” is the catalyst to taking control of your life
How you look shouldn’t dictate your happiness and there shouldn’t be a trade off to get it.
The most common reason for embracing fitness into your lifestyle is to look better. However ‘get fit’, ‘build muscle’ and ‘be more toned’ are surface level reasons for why we enter the gym environment, start lifting weights and taking our eating habits into consideration. What do they really mean?
That’s an uncomfortable thought isn’t it?
The internal reason why we want to start focusing on our fitness goals is actually pretty damn daunting to confront and I believe for this reason it makes getting started extremely difficult. To be able to acknowledge your internal dialogue takes courage and to act on how you truly feel is brave.
My fitness journey
There’s no better way to explain this than providing my own story.
My fitness journey began almost ten years ago. I was a 55kg, 19 year old who decided he wanted to make a change. I was the voice that was always spoken over. I was the kid who cracked the joke that no one laughed at, only for the person next to me to say the same thing five minutes later which turned out to be hilarious. I found it extremely difficult to find the confidence with and to attract girls. I’ve always generally been pretty well liked, but no one really took me seriously. This was my why.
I decided one day that I had had enough and that I wanted to start changing my body. I borrowed a pair of 5kg dumbbells from my brother’s friend and began throwing weights around in my lounge room. Before I knew it, I started to discover muscle where there was no muscle before. I started to receive compliments from people that I was starting to “get big” and “look good”.
It felt pretty damn good to be recognised for once and it spurred me on to continue training and learning what I needed to do to progress my body.
Over the next few years I would continue to train like your typical gym bro; slamming the bro split, avoiding training legs and buying any supplement that sounded like it would help me get big. At some point during my early years of being a personal trainer, I realised that I was pretty strong for my frame at the time.
I recall one Wednesday at the gym I work at that the trainers decided to test our deadlift max’s “to see what we could do” (Side note — I would strongly advise against doing this, testing strength “just because” is not the safest thing to do, especially for the untrained) and I pulled 180kg pretty easily.
This was before the social media strength training boom and in commercial gyms heavier lifting wasn’t very common, so for people to see a 66kg kid pull 180kg and then 200kg for the first time within a couple of months was evidently mind-blowing to some people. I had something that a lot of people didn’t within my local space — raw talent with a barbell, and thus I began my journey in strength and into powerlifting.
To date, I have managed to add over 30kg to my frame as well as dieting down and losing as much as 16kg while getting incredibly strong. I’ve learned what it takes to put on muscle, trim the fat optimise body composition while taking my strength and performance to heights I never thought possible.
Not going to lie, writing and reflecting on this is a little uncomfortable for me to do, but it’s necessary for me to step into these shoes again and understand why I am where I am. My why was to get noticed, feel the recognition and validation that I never got growing up.
If you can harness your “why” and truly understand why you are training, the actualisation of “getting fit and toned” is far more likely to occur. You’re going to be able to ride the waves of the journey because what the result means to you is so much more than the perceived suffering you have been previously enduring.
Knowing why is just the beginning
We’ve now identified what our big problem is and how to translate it into the fitness realm.
From here, it can be a little bit overwhelming as to how to tackle the obstacles which may be arising. Some of the main hurdles include not knowing what to do, not having the confidence to take action and not understanding how the process works.
In the article 5 Reasons You Aren’t Achieving Your Fitness Goals, I wrote about the common obstacles as well as the solutions that can be the catalyst towards making significant progress with your training outcomes. I would strongly advise checking that out to further identify the areas of which you need further clarity to ensure your start making the progress you deserve.
Growth is meant to be both scary and exciting
If I’m being honest, this is some pretty exhausting stuff. I can appreciate that there might be some pushback. You might feel like you’re not ready to face the voice in your head that’s telling you how you can’t.
I want you to know that growth is meant to be both scary and exciting. A message my mentors have passed on to me this year. As I continue to grow in both my professional and powerlifting career, the challenges ahead scare the fuck out of me. I’m climbing to astronomical heights that ten years ago I never would have dreamed were a literal concept, let alone possible for me to achieve.
There’s a seed of doubt in my mind and I think for everyone it’s always going to be there to some extent. But I’ve made up my mind to go for it and the feeling that what seems so absurd could actually be realistic and achievable excites the hell out of me.
So it’s okay to be a little bit nervous and scared, because it’s normal. Getting the change you’re longing for doesn’t come with an overnight solution and there will be periods of plateau and mistakes made along the way, but they provide us with an opportunity to learn and grow.
As cliche as it is, getting started is literally the hardest part. But confronting your internal fears head on instead of with mediocre efforts will result in progress and achievement you will never regret.
Have the belief
Ultimately, the reason we start going to the gym is because we are in pain of some sort. We have something about ourselves that we want to change because it hurts us. Getting this change is extremely challenging for a variety of reasons that fluctuates person to person. But one thing is certain; you are capable and deserving of a life full of happiness, high in confidence and high self-esteem.
Your journey is your own and for some the progress will come faster than others, but there is no reason you can’t achieve something great.