CMC 101: What is it and why should I care?

WHAT THE HECK IS THE CIVILIAN MILITARY COMBINE?

So, you’re thinking about joining our team for the Civilian Military Combine, but you’re still not quite sure what it entails. Well, beyond encouraging you to visit the CMC website and watch their awesome pump up video, we figured it was about time we wrote a post about it.

To give you the quick and dirty version, the CMC is a combination of a short, high intensity workout, known as “the Pit”, immediately followed by a 4+ mile race packed with military-inspired obstacles – climbing walls, crawling through mud, pushing sleds – that kind of stuff. The race was co-founded in 2010 by Matt Keller and Sean Rogers, two former college roommates. As mud races gained popularity, they participated in their fair share, and while they had a blast doing them, they felt there was an element missing. They wanted to add a piece that would require athletes not only to excel in speed and endurance, but also strength and power – enter: The Pit. Moreover, Matt and Sean both have close military ties, and they wanted a way to bring both civilians and military together to raise awareness and honor those who have or are currently serving. Thus, the Civilian Military Combine was born.

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HOW IS THE CMC DIFFERENT FROM ALL THESE OTHER MUD RACES THAT I HEAR ABOUT? 

Two words: The Pit. The Pit is the revolutionary piece that is completely unique to CMC. No other race has anything like it. The combination of the Pit and obstacle course has attracted thousands of hybrid athletes that do not specialize in one aspect of fitness, but aim to excel across the board – from power and strength to endurance, agility and speed. In other words, being well-rounded instead of specialized works to your advantage here.

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Another cool thing about the CMC is that 80% of participants register as part of a team. This doesn’t mean that you have to remain with your team throughout the entire race (yes, I know some of you are super competitive), but you all enter the Pit in the same heat and start the race together, and let me tell you that knowing you’re surrounded by a team of your biggest supporters as you walk into the Pit is HUGE!

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WHERE DOES A2A/POWERCAKES COME INTO THE PICTURE? 

Having participated in a couple of CMCs in the past, we were beyond AMPED and honored when Sean contacted us about creating a team and having a presence at the race this year. So we met with him (over a workout, of course), and were immediately blown away by his energy. Those who have run the CMC before might recognize him as “the guy on the mic.”

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His enthusiasm for CMC was infectious, and we could tell right away that this is going to be a huge year for them, and that we wanted to be a part of it. As we began putting a game plan together and reaching out to people about joining our team, we thought of our good friend, Kasey, AKA of Powercakes, and thought, why not team up with another fitness powerhouse, create a super team and race the CMC together?!

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HAVE YOU RACED A CMC BEFORE? WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

We were introduced to the CMC a year ago, by our good friend and trainer, Dennys, and signed up for our very first race in New York City last April. We weren’t really sure how to train, so we just continued working out like we normally do and threw in a “Pit Practice” once a week. It was a FREEZING cold spring morning and 7 minutes of the Pit left everyone sounding like avid smokers, but we powered through, pain faces included.

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The obstacle race for this one was short and sweet, just like we like it! A prowler push immediately followed by a sandbag carry up a gazillion flight of stairs, a few walls, farmers carry, cargo net rolls, and BOOM, we were done!

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Once we finished the race, all we could think about was signing up for the next event in September, which we did immediately (after a little post-race celebration…)

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September rolled around and we were stronger, faster and ready to rock. It was a much nicer day, and the atmosphere at the venue was infectious. There were dozens of teams getting amped up to compete – from gyms, Crossfit boxes, and random groups of friends. The energy was pretty incredible. As they called our team into the Pit, we each jogged to our stations, where our judges introduced themselves and reviewed each of the movement standards with us. As the countdown began – 3, 2, 1…GO!, the butterflies in our stomaches were in full force, and we once again why the heck we signed up for this. Once we started though, adrenaline kicked in, we found our own grooves and we kept pushing. Each time we wanted to stop and just lay there on the ground and catch our breath, we told ourselves, it’s only 7 minutes! You can do anything for 7 minutes! Plus, our judges were super encouraging and kept telling us what a great pace we were keeping, which helped a ton. Julia ended up going well beyond her expectations, outperforming her April performance by a long shot with 161 reps! Kayte rock in with 153 – a solid performance by average2athlete and our entire team!

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We then had about 2 minutes to recover before we were sent off into the obstacle race. The beginning was a nice jog, which most of us used as active recovery as we were still coming down from the Pit. We were then faced with about 3 miles of obstacles, from hopping over walls to crawling through mud, climbing cargo nets and pushing heavy sleds. It seemed to fly by because we were having so much fun. Even though our entire team got separated during the course, we were surrounded the entire time by athletes who were in the same boat, facing one obstacle at a time, helping each other over walls and coaching each other along the way.

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Crossing the finish line was a great feeling, especially knowing we had a cold beer waiting for us, but the best part was watching the other athletes coming through and seeing the combined look of pride, relief, and exuberance on each and every person’s face. Pretty awesome.

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We can’t wait to race again this year – not to compete, but to run alongside our teammates as they get to take part in this same incredible experience.

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And of course, to enjoy a post-race beer with a bunch of awesome athletes!

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OK, I THINK I’M INTERESTED…BUT WILL I BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT? HOW DO I TRAIN?

Don’t worry, we have you covered! To start, this year’s Pit includes 4 different variations of increasing difficulty, so that any athlete can participate, regardless of their fitness level or limitations.

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The folks at CMC will be posting videos with the movement standards for Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta very soon, so stay tuned.

As far as training, there are several things that you can do, and we’ll be helping you along the way:

  1. a2aWOW: Those of you who follow us on Instagram may have noticed that for the past several weeks, we’ve been posting workouts that people can do at home, requiring little to no equipment. These are typically meant to increase “metabolic conditioning” – aka get you read for the Pit. So take a look and start doing these if you haven’t already.
  2. Training Program: Taking the a2aWOW a step further, we’re going to be creating a training program for you guys. We’ll put together a calendar that will most likely include a day for the a2aWOW, a day to practice the Pit, a day of strength exercises (designed to increase your pulling strength for things like climbing over walls) and an endurance day, to help you conquer the obstacle course. Be on the lookout for this to appear mid-March!
  3. CMC Meet-ups: CMC will be hosting a series of meet-ups throughout the New York area, which will give participants the opportunity to practice the Pit and meet others who are doing the race. We will be attending several of these, and will let you know the exact dates and times.
  4. a2a-Powercakes Team Meet-ups: We will also be hosting our own meet-ups and will keep you informed via social media on dates/times.
  5. High Intensity Training – Learning how to push your body to maximum capacity and increasing that threshold is going to be the biggest factor in training for the CMC. Whether you are following our workouts, training on your own or with a trainer, taking classes or CrossFitting, high intensity training is key.

THIS BLOG POST WAS SO CONVINCING, I’M IN! WHAT DO I DO NEXT?

It’s pretty simple – all you have to do is follow this link to our team page and SIGN UP!!! Use the code CMC20 for $20 off. And stay tuned for more updates!

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Join the average2athlete-Powercakes Super Team!

Join the average2athlete-Powercakes Super Team!

Big news! We are extremely excited to annonuce that average2athlete and Powercakes are combining forces to create a joint team for the Civilian Military Combine on May 17th in Camelback, PA! Those who already follow Powercakes know what a key influencer she is in the fitness industry and one of our biggest fitspirations. We’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to collaborate and we can’t think of a better way than inviting our fitfam to run alongside us in the first CMC of the year. To sign up for our team, click the image above or follow this link. Don’t forget to use the code CMC20 for $20 off registration!

Life on the Other Side

As many of you know, I left my marketing job about 2 months ago to pursue a full time career in fitness. To some, this may seem like a pretty risky move. It completely goes against any traditional career path or definition of “success” that has been drilled into most of our brains. And believe me when I say, I’m typically a pretty risk-averse person. Hence why I put off this career move for so many years despite the fact that there was always something in the back of my mind telling me I wouldn’t be happy unless I worked in fitness. But I chose to ignore that nagging thought in an attempt to find a “real” career. I mean after all, I do have student loans to pay. I’d be leaving a steady salary and benefits. Plus, wouldn’t my parents be disappointed to find out that their studious daughter with “so much potential” and an Economics degree from Duke was just going to become a personal trainer?

So I spent two years working in investor relations and two years working in marketing only to find that I was never completely happy. Sure, I went through phases, but I always kind of felt like I was wasting my time. Going through the motions because I felt I had to, and doing enough to get by but never really giving it my all. I could never be that great at my job if I wasn’t passionate about it, no matter how hard I tried. That’s just not me. My heart has to be there. And it wasn’t.

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(I felt that this post was lacking in pictures, so I decided to show you what I’m eating at this moment. Yes, that is a chocolate peanut butter milkshake. If you haven’t had Bareburger yet, I highly recommend you get with the program.)

One day I was browsing Craig’s List (yes, they list jobs there too) for anything fitness related that I might be able to squeeze in outside the hours of 9 and 6. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a listing from the Fhitting Room. I hadn’t heard of it, but I scoured the website and everything seemed very in line with my outlook on fitness. Functional training? Strong is the new skinny? Kettlebells? I could get into this. So I sent in my resume and hoped for the best. Lo and behold, they asked me to come in and take a class! Before I knew it, I had been hired and was co-instructing alongside Eric Salvador (I didn’t realize at the time the amazing learning experience that had just been handed to me with this one), Daury Dross, Ben Wegman and Amanda Butler. All star crew right there, if you ask me.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure at first how I was going to feel about teaching. I knew I loved working out, but would I love helping a room full of people work out? More importantly, would I be good at it? There was definitely an adjustment period. I am a shy person by nature and performing in front of a room is something that is VERY far outside of my comfort zone, so it took me a little while to come out of my shell. Because I have been working out on my own for so long, things like demonstrating, correcting form and programming came somewhat naturally to me. But learning how to own a room and really inspire people, now that takes work! Slowly but surely I started to get the hang of it, and I can now say that I absolutely love it. Yes, it’s exhausting, but it’s so much fun and best of all, it’s rewarding. Especially when you see people who show up consistently starting to get stronger, starting to move better. It’s an awesome feeling to know that you had something to do with that.

Ok, back to my saga. For about 5 months, I was teaching classes, going to work and trying to figure out how to squeeze in my own workouts in between (which usually happened at 5:00am before teaching class). I was so happy to finally be able to fit my passion into my life, that at first I didn’t mind the crazy hours. But after a couple of months, I was starting to burn out. A couple nights with 5 hours or less of sleep, fine. After a third or fourth night, I start to get the old eye twitch. I wasn’t able to focus at work, my workouts were starting to suffer, and I new that I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my schedule much longer. Not to mention that I was teaching on the weekends, which meant my social life was pretty much non existent at this point (although if I’m being honest, it still pretty much is, but I’m ok with that right now).

Finally, after bitching and moaning about wanting to quit my job, I realized what a brat I was being. The situation was completely in my hands and I needed to stop whining and take action. So, I set a date for myself. December 20th. That was going to be my last day of work. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pay my rent, but something told me that this was the right move and that it would all work out. And believe it or not, things are going great. I’m teaching, training private clients and working some front desk shifts at the Fhitting Room to make ends meet. I’m able to focus completely on building out my career doing something that I love, and that is such a relief. Am I still exhausted all the time? Sure. But it’s a different type of exhausted. It’s not from lack of sleep, but from busting my ass and putting all my energy into what I love each and every day.

For anyone out there who is considering following their passion but is hesitating because of the insecurity or negative stigma that comes along with it, I hope that maybe my story will inspire you. I’m not saying to quit your job right this second, but rather, start finding ways to incorporate your passion into your life, and when the time is right, take the leap. There is always going to be a little risk involved, but keep in mind that the hardest step is the first one. Once you’ve made the decision and decide not to look back, you’ll find a way to make it work. You’ll never regret leaving something that was comfortable, but you will regret not following you heart, especially when it’s too late.

Some Make it Happen

Ok, enough sappy talk for tonight. I’d like to end this post by sharing with you a few (very random) observations that I’ve made since beginning my career in fitness:

1. I don’t remember the last time I put on shorts or pants without an elastic waist band. Or shoes other than sneakers. Or a regular bra for that matter.

2. I’m hungry all the time. And I eat a lot of bacon. And a lot of ice-cream.

3. People assume that I have hours and hours of free time just because I’m not sitting behind a desk. If only this were true.

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4. When I’m not working (or working out), all I really want to do is veg on the couch and decompress.

5. I don’t really consume alcohol anymore. I just can’t afford to be hungover. That being said, I could really go for a margarita right now.

6. I need to be with someone that understands and accepts my lifestyle, which will most likely be someone in the fitness industry.

7. There are always going to be critics out there. And all you can do is try to extract any value that you can from their critique, and then forget they exist and move on.

8. A killer workout can change someone’s entire day.

9. No matter how tired or run down I feel, I’ve learned to find that last ounce of energy and run with it.

10. Mondays are so much better to have off than Sundays.

11. You really can live your dream. It’s not a myth! But it’s up to you to make that happen.

Mean People Suck.

Have you ever been called a “health freak” or a “gym rat?”  Or been out to eat with friends and afraid to order something healthy from the menu for fear of them making fun of you? Or been teased for wanting to go to the gym after work instead out to happy hour? Or for leaving a party early so you could go home and actually get some sleep? Or been given crap for saying no to dessert? (Ok, that last one rarely happens to me because I physically do not know how to say no to dessert.)

Well, you’re not alone. I used to let the negative comments get to me. In fact, one of the reasons that I started average2athlete with Kayte was because I didn’t want my friends to get annoyed when I posted anything health or fitness related to my personal social media accounts. How silly is that? Your friends should support you in your endeavors and passions, no matter what. And if they don’t, then they’re not your friends. And if they’re not your friends, then who gives a crap what they think?!

I’m not saying that you should become a totally boring person who never goes out and orders salads all the time. In fact, please DON’T become that person. You need some balance in your life.

What I am saying is that it drives me NUTS to think that people are holding back from making healthy decisions because they are afraid of being judged, especially by their friends.

Small minds

If you are one of the “haters” (I actually hate that word but am lacking a better one at the moment), please stop. Don’t discourage people from bettering themselves. Ok, maybe you don’t care about the gluten free dinner that Sarah made last night that fit her macros perfectly, or John’s Crossfit WOD from this morning where he completed a gazillion thrusters and pull-ups for time, or how many miles Rachel ran last night for her marathon training. Maybe it seems like they are bragging or showing off. Even if they are, who cares? They are taking steps towards healthy lives and in the end, that’s what really matters. Instead of being concerned about what they’re doing, you should be asking yourself, “what am I doing to better myself?”

In fact, I know first-hand how large a role social media can play in one’s fitness journey. It’s a great way to track progress, and unlike logging something in your own journal, it adds another level of accountability. It also lends itself to helpful tips and fosters healthy conversation. I am so grateful that Kayte and I took a chance in starting average2athlete, as it has allowed me to discover an entire network of like-minded people that want to share their fitness journeys, whether they are veterans or just getting started. The feedback that we have received on our blog and the people that we have been fortunate enough to connect with, just through Instagram alone, has been incredible. And knowing that today my workout might inspire one more person to get up and be active makes any criticism that I receive totally worth it.

My point: there are too many truly inspirational people out there to waste time on any of the negative ones. Let them continue to live in ignorance. Ignore their nasty or sarcastic comments. Keep doing your thing – becoming a stronger, healthier, better version of you. They’ll catch on eventually.

Excuses…we all got ’em.

Hi friends, Julia here.

Sorry it’s been so long. We really are going to try and get better at posting, I promise. It’s just that blogging takes a while and sometimes life just gets in the way. Between jobs, and second jobs, and training, and cooking, and trying to find time to be social so that you don’t become a crazy cat lady (not that I own a cat, but I could), it can be hard to find time to sit down and write a blog post. And before you know it, three months have gone by and you realize you haven’t posted and you feel like a slacker and you’re letting the world down because obviously everyone is holding their breath waiting to see what average2athete has to say next. Right?

I can’t help but think this series of excuses sounds familiar. How often do people tell me that they want to start working out but they don’t have time? Or that they’re going to start once work gets less crazy, or once they finish exams, or once they’re done moving? The list goes on. My point is, there will ALWAYS be something in the way, but if something is important to you, then you will make time for it. And if it’s not important, then you won’t. It’s an adjustment, sure. But if you really want to get healthy, you HAVE to make time. There’s just no other way around it.

I’ll give you a personal example. A few months ago, I started teaching fitness classes at a studio called the Fhitting Room here in NYC. I absolutely love it. Not only has it given me a chance to share my passion for fitness with others, but it’s given me the opportunity to meet and learn from some pretty awesome people.

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And some creepsters too 🙂

However, as much as I love teaching, taking on a second job did interrupt my perfectly regimented schedule of getting up and working out first thing in the morning. Since I primarily teach early morning classes, I started having to find time to work out at night after work, and then I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, and I’d be exhausted the next day after having to get up early to teach class. My workouts started to suffer, which was no bueno. I needed to figure something out.

I knew that my schedule wasn’t going to get any better, so I had to make some adjustments. I started getting up even earlier in the morning so that I could work out before teaching. Or, if I was teaching a really early class, I’d plan a shorter workout that I could squeeze it in after before heading off to work. Sometimes I still brave the gym at night. It’s not a perfect schedule, but I make it work the best I can.

That’s probably more insight into my schedule than you could possibly have wanted. My point is, we are busy people. Life happens. There are always excuses. I’m even going to provide you with an overused inspirational quote to emphasize my point.

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End of story.

And I’m going to try and take some of my own advice and make it a priority to blog more often. And if I don’t, feel free to call me out on it.

As always, I’ll leave you with a recipe so that you can take away something of value from this post. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m going to be lazy and give you a link to a delicious recipe for Sausage Spaghetti Squash Bake from PaleOMG that I made the other week. I modified and used chicken sausage, but you could use any meat really. Or scrap the meat and make it vegetarian. The best part was, it was super easy to make and still delicious after a few days. Meal prep win.

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Wonder Thighs and Bulging Bi’s (and banana muffins)

Howdy folks. Long time no chat. I’m sure y’all were sitting on the edge of your seats for the past 6 weeks, wondering, “OMGEEEEE WHEN IS AVERAGE2ATHLETE GOING TO WRITE ANOTHER BLOG POST?!?!?!” Well, not to worry because here it is!

It’s actually been a crazy month for me. A few weeks ago, I started as an Assistant Instructor at a place called The Fhitting Room, a boutique studio here in NYC that offers small group circuit training classes – think TRX, kettlebells, dumbbells, rowers, bodyweight exercises and burpees , lots of burpees.

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I’ll go into the studio itself and all of the awesome people there in more detail in a later post, but basically I’m teaching anywhere from 5-10 classes/week – on top of my current job – before work, after work, on the weekends, you name it. I actually wasn’t sure how I would feel about teaching classes, but it turns out that I ABSOLUTELY love it. It’s exhausting, yes. You have to be completely on ALL THE TIME. Especially in such a small studio (classes are 12 people max), clients pick up on every little thing you do.

He changed the music too much, she looked out the window one time, he let the clock run for 50 seconds instead of 45. Woof.

I’m still trying to get the hang of my schedule – balancing 9+ hour days at work, teaching classes and finding time to fit in my own workouts. But when I’m in that room and class starts, that hour flies by and I somehow muster up every last drop of energy I have to scream and jump around. Plus I’m getting to work with some amazing instructors that I’m learning so much from already. It really is a blast. For anyone in the NYC area, I’ll be posting my class schedule here on a weekly basis in case you want to drop for some fun.

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It’s fun to torture train people other than myself.

Long story short, life has been busy. In a good way.

Ok, this is where this post is going to get a little random…this is what happens when I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about body image, and why we have it so engrained in our heads that we have to be so damn THIN. I know the whole mindset now is supposed to be, “strong is the new skinny,” but I still don’t think that the majority of thinking has shifted. And even if it has, when people say “strong” are they really thinking about the amount they can squat? Or are they really thinking “toned,” in which case, the issue is still about body image.

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Pretty sure there’s some airbrushing going on in this picture.

I get caught up in it myself. I preach about focusing on performance goals instead of weight or pant size, but at the same time, I have days where I hate my body, feel like my arms and legs are huge (even if they are muscle) and wish that I could fit into skinny jeans better. I look at pictures and feel like my arms look so much bigger than everyone else’s. I beg my legs to get more definition, my hips to get smaller, my abs to show more.

So what do I do when that happens? Do I hop on the treadmill or the elliptical for hours, trying to burn fat and consequentially burn off the muscle that I worked so hard to gain? Do I drastically cut calories in an effort to lose weight and inevitably screw up my metabolism?

The old me may have done that. But not now. No way. I take a step back, give myself a little slap in the face and tell myself to STOP ACTING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON! I remind myself why I train and why I love it. It’s not to see my legs get smaller or the number on the scale drop. It’s to squat heavier, to do more pull-ups, to jump higher, to run faster. Because those are the things that ultimately make me happy and have and will continue to make me a stronger, more confident person. What is not going to make me happy is trying to fit someone else’s unrealistic standards.

This post from Elisabeth Akinwale sums it up perfectly. She also references the book Bossy Pants, in which Tina Fey spouts out a list of attributes that every girl is supposed to have:

Caucasian blue eyes
Full Spanish lips
A classic button nose
Hairless Asian skin with a California tan
A Jamaican dance hall ass
Long Swedish legs
Small Japanese feet
The abs of a lesbian gym owner
The hips of a nine year old boy
The arms of Michelle Obama
And doll tits

We totally have all those things, right?!

Point is, no more trying to achieve and maintain a body type that is not meant for me. So my legs aren’t as long and lean as I’d like them to be, so what? They’ve gotten me through some tough ass workouts and races and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to show my “wonder thighs” some love! And as for my arms? Well I’ll take the ability to bang out pull-ups and push-ups with the big boys over skinny arms any day!

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We all have those days where we look in the mirror and just don’t like what we see. It happens to everyone. So take a deep breathe and don’t get too caught up in the whole being skinny thing. There are bigger and better things to focus on that will make you a heck of a lot happier.

On that note, I’m going to leave you with a recipe so that you at least walk away feeling like you’ve gotten some useful information out of this post. I made these muffins a couple of weeks ago, thinking they would be a great on-the-go snack for when I need a quick energy fix in between work and teaching class. Well, I forget that when I post baked goods on Instagram, people ask to try them and I have a hard time saying no and the 12 muffins that I made were gone in a day. Needless to say, I’ll be making these again soon…and I will not be posting pictures!

Grain-free Banana Protein Muffins

Makes 12

2 (very) ripe medium bananas
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used Oxy-elite Vanilla Icecream)
1 tbsp chia seeds
4 eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (2%)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Cinnamon/vanilla to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix wet ingredients in blender. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and pour in wet mixture.

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Spray muffin tin with coconut oil and pour batter into tin.

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Lick bowl.

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Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. I would remove these from the muffin pan before they cool all the way because otherwise they’ll continue baking in the pan and can get dried out.

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Note: Amazing when slathered in almond butter.

Enjoy!


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I Work Out Because __________ .

Why do you exercise?

Is it because you feel like you have to or because you actually enjoy it? Do you have goals? What are they? Aesthetic goals? Health goals? Performance goals?

The reason I ask, other than my general nosiness curiosity, is because the reasons that you choose to exercise can play a huge role in whether or not you stick with it in the long run, and ultimately, it can either prevent you from or enable you to reach your goals.

I’ll start by describing the two types of motivation that continue to drive people to the gym, track, box, studio, garage, or wherever their exercise venue of choice may be.

Motivation Hierarchy

The first is extrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is all about external goals and can include rewards, guilt, coercion and health and social benefits. It is doing things because we feel like we have to in order to achieve some sort of physical or social benefit.

Most people (including myself) begin to exercise because of extrinsic motivation – you want to lose weight for the summer, fit into your jeans, become more attractive, be thin, get abs. Your doctor may have told you that you needed to start exercising for the sake of your health. You may like the fact that exercising allows you to eat more of what you want and not feel guilty. Maybe there’s a cute guy or girl at the gym that you enjoy staring at and hope to have the courage to talk to one day. The list goes on.

You may be thinking, ok, at least I’m getting my butt to the gym. Why does the motivation part matter?

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Unfortunately, extrinsic motivation does not always persist in the long-run. It may get you to the gym, for a bit, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily doing anything worthwhile during your time there and you may not see the results you want. Or maybe you did get results, but then the summer comes to an end, and somehow your schedule is suddenly too busy to make it to the gym anymore. The fact of the matter is that you’re much more likely to stay motivated and reach your goals if you truly love what you’re doing.

Enter: intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is based on internal goals. It is the desire to do things because we want to, not because we feel we have to. We exercise because we truly love and enjoy it. Intrinsic motivation is usually tied to a performance goal, like mastering a skill or sport.

But how do you find it? Well, you need to find some form of exercise you actually want to do. A skill or sport that you want to master. You may not know what it is right now, but try a few things out. Work with a trainer. Try out a Crossfit box. Sign up for a Spartan Race or a half marathon or anything that requires you to train for it.

Trust me, I didn’t hop out of bed one day thinking, I want to lift heavy weights! And do double unders and handstand pushups and pull-ups and…no. I just wanted to look good and after doing a ton of cardio and not seeing any sort of change in my body, I was fortunate enough to start working with a trainer who changed my entire outlook on things by making fitness fun and literally introducing me to a whole new world. And that’s when I knew there was no turning back. I was hooked.

Sprawl box jumps

For the first time, a new level of intensity was brought to my workouts, and soon I wasn’t able to settle for anything less. I became motivated to work harder on my own. I wanted to learn new skills and to get stronger because I finally had goals. And those goals were not tied to a number on the scale or a pant size. They were performance goals. And I reached those goals. And I set new ones. And the more I continue to learn about this whole world of fitness and all of the different things I have to learn, the more excited I get to step into the gym each day.

1-deadlifts

Why do you think people are so obsessed with Crossfit? Think about it, there are always new skills to learn. New PRs (personal records) to hit. And once you hit those, you set new goals for yourself, and you go after those. You focus on your performance. And guess what? Combined with a little healthy eating, your body changes and you forget about the scale. You’re focused on your goals and one day you look in the mirror and think, “holy crap, where did these muscles come from?!”

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Ok, that was a little bit of an exaggeration. Apologies for the shameless selfie.

But really, I encourage you to find what you love. It might take some exploring, but you’ll never know until you try. I can’t tell you how many people think they could never be into fitness until they’re introduced to it in the right setting and with the right attitude, and then they couldn’t get enough. I’ve been fortunate enough to have someone in my life that has made it fun for me and been a key factor in finding my intrinsic motivation. And there are people, or activities, out there that could do the same for you. You just have to go out there and find them. That’s the first step. The hardest and scariest step. The rest is easy 😉