The secret to your success is your own hard work and focus. My goal is to give you the tools to accelerate that success. I am not here to make it easy, but I am here to make it possible.

Nick Mitchell

My Personal Motivation!

It all began with a very innocuous little post I made on Facebook at the weekend.  As is my fortnightly habit I’d been updating my computer with the latest photographs of my kids, Roman and Mia, and I found one I particularly liked.  Being a gushing parent of a bouncing baby and a terrifying toddler I emailed a couple of shots to my family, and then thought I’d also share an image on Facebook with the followers of our UP personal training page.  My children are the best thing I have ever done and I feel so blessed to be able to derive so much joy and fulfillment from them (of course, I am also counting down with dread the days until my beloved Roman becomes a sulky, temperamental teenager!), and it isn’t overstating the case to say that they provide me with my biggest and most tangible inspiration.  Not to sound like an evangelical nutter or anything, but they are my personal motivation technique to keep me striving to be the very best and most productive that I can be, and I thought a little insight into my mindset might be educational / entertaining for those who follow my ramblings.

So up went the photograph you see above you, and onto the page went my accompanying wise guru comment:

“Motivation is the key to success in the gym, on your diet, and in life in general. This is MY motivation that never ceases to lift me up and strive to be the best I can be. I even derive a little mental trick out of it that I use to help me to train much harder in the gym…if we get 50 likes I’ll tell you my “secret”, and if we get 100 likes I’ll put up a video of me training that shows it in action (gulp!) and me having to train like a madman.”

Now in the realms of Facebook, 50 “likes” isn’t bad and 100 “likes” is really rather good.  Unless of course you are Megan Fox, and then you can make the lamest statement about the right emotional way to play online role playing games and you’ll get 13,000 comments and 20,000 likes (I kid you not)! For some reason I can’t fathom out, she has 20 million more followers than me…

To be fair I expected 50 “likes”, and that it would maybe get close to 100, but I was shocked / amused / pleased / frightened when I returned from a long walk to see that in an hour just over 130 people wanted to watch a video of me putting myself through a world of pain and learn about my little motivational techniques for exercise!  The worm had turned on the personal trainer and it looked like it was going to be time to swallow my own medicine!

The next training day just happened to be a legs day, and a strength session, so lucky me got to adapt the workout accordingly as a mere one to four rep max type attempt isn’t really “madman” stuff that requires super mental motivation.  It might be if you are a monster lifter, but my days of huge weights are behind me as 40 years of age creeps ever closer for November 2012.  In fact, I suffered a severe, non gym related, ankle injury 5 years ago and the limitations this has given to my lower body  and posterior chain workouts are manifest, as the restricted range of motion in the ankle has negative knock-on implications for my knee as it tries to accommodate the inflexible ankle, which then impacts my hip, which in turn gives me a certain fragility in the lower back! This is why I never squat, and if I really must do so (for example when it’s the best way to fulfill a foolish promise!) I have devised a way that causes me very little discomfort.

As you will see in the accompanying video (below) the only way for me to squat without knee and back pain is to elevate my heels (taking out a bit of the ankle flexibility issue), use a Safety Squat Bar (that allows me to stay more upright and focus on better form, by not pushing me too far forward and bringing my hips and erector spinae into play as much), and by using reverse bands so that I get a deload effect in the bottom position.  I find this last trick has two positive ramifications.  Firstly I don’t have any cause to wrap my knees and therefore limit compression of the patella, whereas on any other type of squatting movement my knees hurt unless I wrap them, and secondly the bands assist in keeping me in a more upright position that really protects my lower back.  And yes, if I was a pro athlete I’d find a way to fix the ankle and not have to go through all this rigmarole, but I can’t spare the ongoing 2-4 hours a week necessary to achieve this and keep everything stable and flexible.  I am just like the rest of you, pulled in a hundred different directions by the pressures of life, with just enough time in the day to get my four times a week workouts under my belt.

And as for my motivational technique / trick, watch the video and you’ll understand why I have no choice but to give a real 100% effort.  Gym training is one of those things where you hit a point of perceived failure, but very often, with just a marshalling of mental reserves you can go on and hit more reps, or just exercise that little bit harder for that little bit longer.  All of which can accumulate to massively quicker progress.  I simply imagine that one of my inspirations in life is watching me and under no circumstances whatsoever can I let them down.  Try this with your own personal inspirational / motivational person and see what it does to your workouts!

As usual I hope that you enjy this and found it useful for your own motivation techniques for exercise and life in general.  Please feel free to leave any comments, and if you liked the video then please use the “like” button on the left of this screen.

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18 Responses to “My Personal Motivation!”

  1. Abhi says:

    I’ve never thought of that trick while actually training, yet I have used it in so many other things I do. Awesome advice. Classic music choice too – proper pumped up stuff!

    • Anonymous says:

      My boy is my best motivation. I imagine he is down to my right watching me and then all I can think is “Come on Nick, don’t be a pussy!”.

  2. Biker74 says:

    Brilliant, and great and perfect motivation.  Somehow, the soundtrack was strangely apt.  I’ve never seen a rack like that before, we have the standard affair.  My motivation is somewhat faltering at the moment so its always good to see what motivates others.  Good stuff. 

    • Anonymous says:

      haha – glad you liked the soundtrack. I don’t like training videos of myself, I am not Jay Cutler! So a bit of humour never amiss I feel.

  3. Martyn_p says:

    Hey Nick, fantastic video. Loved the trick used for that little bit extra, so simple and so effective. Since I last posted on here i found out my wife is expecting a little girl in March. Motivation dropped to zero recently for god knows what reason and this was a perfect kick up the jacksie I needed to get my arse in gear. Deffo gonna take a photo of my boy in next time and can’t wait to see peoples faces in my gym when they see me squating next to it heh.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Congratulations Martyn! I don’t normally use a framed photo of Romi, you have to allow me a bit of dramatic license! However, I do very often imagine him down at my right hand side looking up at me…it works a treat.

  4. Mark Thomas says:

    Hi Nick, 

    Great stuff, with some excellent weights on that rack.

    I also use thoughts of my two children to motivate me as well. 

    But my main motivation when things get tough with the weights, or at the end of a run when I don’t think I’ve got anything else in the tank is my mother. She passed away just over a year ago after fighting the horrible illness that is Motor Neurone Disease for over two years. for about the last 6 months she couldn’t eat or talk, but she never complained about her situation. She was brave and a fighter to the end. So when I think things are tough, I bring a picture of her to mind and that gets me through the difficult press, or pull or the last 1km. Positive attitude and motivation goes a long way to help us pass the barriers that we think exist.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for sharing that story Mark. It is both inspiring and humbling.

  5. Rich G says:

    Great video Nick! Thank you!
    I’ve been having some success with shouting at myself (in my head) and listening to some obnoxious metal before squatting, gets me nice and angry. I think with the addition of imagining you standing next to the rack will definitely keep me going for those extra reps.


    • Anonymous says:

      Obnoxious 80s rock is my usual choice of music Rich! And if imagining me growling at you works then that’s brilliant. Whatever motivation technique is best!

      • Rich G says:

        Tried it out yesterday. I was on the floor by the end of the 3rd giant set, imagined yourself stood there yelling at me, got up and hit that final set. I’ll say now what I’ve been saying all day; Ouch, thanks Nick…

        Bring on the next session!

        Best wishes,

  6. David Jack says:

    Hi Nick!
    Gorgeous photo!
    Mia is stunning! remins me of my daughter Maya…
    You better keep training those guns to fight the boys off when they come knocking!
    On a side note I also found a clip of the FUNNIEST gym advert ever! Great watching if you have 3 minutes! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice one David. What areyour own best motivation techniques for exercise?

      • David Jack says:

        My daughter Maya hands down is the best motivation!
        – not so much as in working hard for her, but working hard to be a better person and subsequent parent for her… she is my inspiration! -and not just to do with training in the gym ,but in every aspect of my life.

        In saying this, I think parenting can go one of two ways:
        -it can inspire you to be better
        -it can re-inforce your fear

        just depending on where your heads at…

        Some phospholipids + creatine also seem to amp up the motivation but that is different! :)


  7. David Jack says:

    Hi Nick,

    Forgot to mention a few favourite motivation techniques for exercise!

    I like quotes pertaining to empowering philosophies…
             ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ (MKGhandi)

             ‘Life is hard if you live it the easy way and easy if you live it the hard way.’ (Joe Pollack)

             …and my favourite:  “No citizen has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man (or woman) to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” (Socrates)

    I hope I answered your question now.


  8. Adina says:

    Fun stuff, Nick!


    My motivation: My
    dear friend that survived surgery and radiation treatments for cancer during his
    med school finals without complaint. Not only did he write every final, he
    placed at the top of his class. Oh and for good measure, he placed in the
    world powerlifting championships just weeks after he finished radiation
    treatments (he wasn’t really up to it but didn’t want to let down his team).


    When it’s too heavy, it’s
    too hard, or I’m not feeling up to it I tell myself to shut the f*** up, get on
    with it and be the best at what I’m doing – anything less is simply
    unacceptable. This is my motivation for all things in life!

    • Nick_Mitchell says:

      Totally agree with this Adina. There is no point in wasting a second that we have on this earth with anything less than our best efforts.

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