Most of us require motivation from time to time to keep us on a workout routine or new diet.  We always start off with the commitment and intention to reach our goals.  Life happens along the way to knock us off course or stop us completely.  This is where motivation comes in!

We can look for motivation in videos, speeches, stories or whatever inspires you.  I loved watching Rocky movies over and over as a kid.  My mom and sisters would retch at the umpteen number of times I loaded Rocky IV into the VCR!  I would watch the training montage and the final fight with Ivan Drago over and over.  Rocky would train like mad.  Then he would take an incredible beating but keep getting up off the canvas to finally drop Drago.  I was energized after watching it!  I wanted to lift weights, chop wood and beat up giants!  I was motivated!  (For those of you that had a VCR, you know the struggle was real to rewind or fast forward to the exact spots you wanted to see in a 90-minute movie!  I’d get so mad if one of my sisters fully rewound it to the beginning!)

Music is a natural motivator, especially while working out.  Having the right tunes can increase your workout tempo and extend your workout.  Invest in a decent set of ear buds and plug into your favorites.  You know you cannot shut it down when the beat drops on your favorite song!  When Marky-Mark’s Good Vibrations drops, I know there is at least another five minutes in me!

Today I experienced a motivation from an unexpected source.  Before I tell you where, I want to set the scene.  Maybe you are familiar with those days you coach yourself into the gymTonight I have plans and cannot hit my usual workout time after work.  My work day is hectic and I should probably work through lunch and not hit the gym.  A friend asks if I can join them for lunch at a killer sushi place and somehow I began to make time for that!  My conscious took over and I declined lunch and headed to the gym.  I jumped on an elliptical to warm up.  My left knee is angry with me over a previous workout so I hop off and opt for the bike instead.  Enter serendipity…

On the bike next to me, a guy climbed on and began to pedal.  He instantly looked very familiar to me.  A guy I hadn’t seen in decades!  I wasn’t quite sure if it was him. I thought to myself, it had to be him, but if I keep looking at him without saying something this will get even weirder!  So I blurted out his name.  His head turned and he said “Hi”.  I hadn’t seen him in 20 years!  We had grown up together.  Our homes were only a few miles apart out in the rural foothills of Spokane, WA.  We had been friends since grade school all the way through high school.  We did all the usual boy stuff, rode bikes, threw rocks, blew stuff up with M80’s and grew up along the way.

After our senior year in high school he was in a terrible car accident.  I went to see him at the hospital. It was hard to tell it was him.  He suffered severe brain trauma and internal injuries.  The doctors said his memory was lost and he’d need to learn to walk, talk and do everything all over again.  I continued to visit him as he improved and was moved to a nursing home.  He couldn’t remember me but I remembered him.  As he improved, time between my visits became longer and I eventually stopped.

Today I saw him struggle to extend his legs much beyond a 90-degree angle.  Yet he pushed himself to ride the bike alongside me.  His feet slipped off and the pedals cracked against his shins several times.  He just grabbed his legs and put his feet back on the pedals.  He was happy and excited to talk.  He said “I gotta keep working out, it’s use it or lose it!”.  He smiled and had only positive things to say.  We chatted and pedaled away… as I watched him I was inspiredI was motivated.

He stopped pedaling and started to get up.  I hadn’t noticed that he had a walker sitting behind the bikeI instantly started to get up and help but he declined.  “I’ve got this Tom!  You finish your workout.”  He apologized for not remembering me and thanked me for saying hello.  He was headed to the weight room to continue his routine.  I heard several people holler “Hi Mike!” “You’re looking great Michael!”  I kept pedaling.

I finished my workout.  I crossed off my excuses.  I was motivated.  Thank you old friend!

What motivates you?  Keep it front and center and let it encourage you to your wellness goals!

Featured image courtesy of Michael Pollak