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.