Ok I admit it. I thought the Patriots were down and out after three quarters in the Super Bowl! Shame on me! But they were following a similar game performance as when they lost to the NY Giants in two Super Bowls. It just goes to show what motivation and inspiration can do to turn around a game! Tom Brady is inspired by his mother who has been quite ill. He wanted this game for her. The rest of the team followed!
But what is inspiration and motivation?
These two terms are similar but different. Motivation is a more active method of influencing a behavior change. As it relates to health and fitness, a motivating factor could be a better quality of life or prevention of injury. The beat and music of a song can be motivating.
Inspiration comes from a feeling caused by an indirect action by someone or something that causes a behavior change. Such as, a person that sweats through physical therapy after a major injury, or someone who has set a “reach goal” and worked towards that goal, or the lyrics in a song can be inspiring.
We set goals every day and may not even realize it. We wake up and plan to get out the door to work by 7am. That’s a goal. Achieving that goal could come from motivation or inspiration. The motivation could be positive or negative. If we get out the door by 7am, we will have time to stop for coffee and a paper. Or, if we do not get out the door by 7am we will be late for work and be forced to work late to make up the time.
On the other hand, we might be inspired to get out the door by 7am because we have a successful co-worker who we admire because she diligently gets out the door by 5:30 am, to go work out, shower, stop for breakfast and still get to work on time. We might be striving to be like that person. Inspiration is almost always positive.
As a personal trainer and coach, part of my job is to help people create a path and strategy to reach a health and fitness goal and then inspire and/or motivate them to stick with the plan in order to achieve that goal. I try to inspire people by “walking the talk”. I eat healthy, exercise regularly, and am physically active outdoors.
One way I try to motivate people is by creating structured programs, encouraging people to reach beyond what they think they can do just by trying it, and reminding them why they are doing what they are doing.
Trainers are human beings and also need inspiration and motivation. Oftentimes trainers are inspired and motivated by other coaches. I attend conferences and seminars not only to keep up with the latest information about health and fitness, but to recharge my batteries. I learn from other successful coaches and share that knowledge as part of our programs.
I find more inspiration from other coaches than motivation. One such coach is Greg Panora, a world record holding powerlifter. After achieving various lifting records, he was forced to retire after suffering a massive stroke several years ago while in his late 20’s. After 3 years of simply trying to teach parts of his body to move, then deciding he was going grow stronger, he got back into the sport and has achieved yet more world records. Truly inspiring to hear him speak!
I am also inspired by other people such as you – friends, family, and clients. I’ve thought a lot about how you have inspired me lately. In the last several years, I’ve worked with folks who have experienced major shoulder surgeries, experienced knee or foot pain, back pain, and struggles with family loss, and weight management. Each of you was motivated to get back to a level of health where you can be physically active in whatever you enjoy and feel better.
Personally, my father experienced a stroke that has affected his ability to walk and use his right arm, this after having both shoulders replaced last year. He is working incredibly hard to rewire his brain so that he can start getting strong to walk again. My mom is by his side helping him every step of the way. The nagging injuries that I have experienced in the last couple of years were minor road bumps in comparison. And I continue to be inspired by each of you and your effort to build up your fitness and strength for better health.
I’ve also worked with folks who have inspired me to try new activities that I previously did not find enjoyable such as running. I relate it to learning to like broccoli! I won’t lie – I hate running on roads – in fact I despise it. But trail running is different. I was inspired by a friend and client who set an aggressive goal to run an ultra trail marathon. As part of her training we ran longer distances. Instead of me pushing her, I was keeping up with her. Now, I am all-in entering mountain trail running races, relays, and winter races!
I am privileged to work with you as you stretch your abilities to achieve some pretty impressive athletic goals and you continue to inspire me to take on new fitness challenges!
Ultimately, the best form of motivation and inspiration comes from inside of us. Something that positively triggers an emotion. Once we are able to repeatedly experience that emotion inside of us, we can reach our goals. For “…so often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key…” – Already Gone – The Eagles.