What motivates us to get up every single day and put ourselves through sometimes torturous behavior is different for each one of us. It is true that our outlet is the gym, but make no mistake, our outlet is not always pleasurable. It often hurts, but we realize it’s a necessary evil for the bigger picture we are trying to achieve. They say that those who constantly repeat the same behavior with the expectation of experiencing change are crazy; well call me crazy then.

Going to the gym on a regular basis has been a part of most of our lives for longer than we can even remember and yes we do expect to see change. But is it the thought of change that keeps us pounding away at the iron or is it more than that? I’ve spoken to many people over the years about where their motivation comes from and what drives them to the gym each and every day. Here are a few of those reasons.

Poor body image as a kid

Most of us have been there or know someone who has. Growing up and learning everything you have to learn is difficult enough let alone doing so with a poor self-body image. Whether you were the heavier kid who had problems keeping up in gym class or you were the smaller kid who always seemed to get picked on for your size, this type of environment can make you go one of two ways; you accept your fate and eventually be confident and comfortable with who you are which is fantastic, or you decide to make a change for the better and turn yourself into the person you want to be which. Being one of the chubbier kids in school, I chose the latter and made weight training my priority, and I’m thankful for it every single day. Lifting weights and going to the gym gives you a purpose and that purpose quickly turns into an obsession as you start to see the changes your body goes through. Along with those physical changes comes an improved mentality and a better overall self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.  And the thought of reverting to what got you here in the first place is the last thing you’re going to let happen.

Competition

At first, the competition in the gym probably came in the form of trying to out lift your friends and peers. Knowing that you were stronger than most people your age was a pretty significant driving force propelling you to the gym that you really enjoyed. But once that got old, you started to look at your competition outside of your circle of friends and wondered how you’d match up against others you didn’t know who were doing the same things you were. Maybe you entered a couple of powerlifting meets or even a bodybuilding competition as a teen or in your early twenties. Maybe you did well, and maybe you didn’t, but the idea of putting your best against others was intriguing. Then once you ticked that off your bucket list, there was still something there that kept you training as hard as ever; that something was the inner competition with you. Do you have it in you to be even better than what you are right now? Can you get just a little stronger, can you add any more muscle to your frame, can you get in better shape and can you still maintain your dominant presence in a gym full of hungry newcomers trying to take you out? Of course, you can; a competitive streak is something that you never lose once you have it.

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Lifelong health

General health is, unfortunately, one of the last things on the minds of the young individuals getting into this lifestyle and often failing to keep sustained health in mind is what knocks them completely out of the game prematurely. The fact of the matter is this; training and sound nutrition, which are two of the founding pillars of this lifestyle, will keep you up and on your feet much longer than in its absence. I love seeing our older generation in the gym pumping up their guns or enjoying a nice walk on the treadmill. This gives me hope that one day I’ll be doing the same thing late into my golden years. And I kid you not; I’ll still be smashing my post workout shake of VP2 Whey Isolate, DGC, Micronized Creatine Monohydrate and GL3 L-Glutamine as soon as I’m done and supplementing all day long with BCAA 4500. You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not, and the other day when I saw a much older gentleman than me pull out his shaker cup in the locker room it just made me smile. He was a lifer for sure, and that was a pleasant sight to see.

So you see, the driving forces behind our gym memberships are different for each of us but fairly common in nature. It’s all about being better and maintaining a level of health that you’ve become accustomed to. Sure for some, it’s about vanity and a need for recognition, but for the ones who’ll be around when the dust settles, it about much more than that.

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The Driving Forces That Keep You in the Gym

by Dana Bushell time to read: 4 min
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