As you may or may not know I am currently in the middle of contest prep right now. I will be competing in a few shows in the spring. This will be my first time stepping on stage in about 3 years as I have taken an extended offseason to make improvements. I realize some people don’t like the term offseason as it implies that the time was actually taken “off”.
To me it is just a word, what I actually do with my time is what I find important and I can tell you that this was my most productive stint in my entire bodybuilding career. Now that I have been in contest prep mode for some time I am beginning to remember something that I forgotten about. I had forgotten how easily motivation comes during contest prep.
As soon as you let people know that you are actively preparing for a bodybuilding show they want to know everything. They want to know how progress is coming, how much you are eating, when it is, and how much cardio you are doing. While this can sometimes make it hard to get in a workout without being interrupted, this does wonders for keeping you motivated. While we all enjoy different things about this sport, everyone enjoys receiving attention for something they are working hard for. My extended offseason has taught me one huge thing, there is a HUGE difference between truly loving what you do and loving the attention you receive for what you do.
I am a firm believer that there are two types of motivation and they are drastically different. There is external motivation and internal motivation. External motivation comes from many sources; someone complimenting you, an inspiring video, or motivational quote are all examples of external motivators. This type of motivation is fleeting and will not last long. It can serve well as a nice boost or pick me up, but if these types of things are what keep you going then it is time for a gut check. There is a much more potent source of motivation, and it does not wane.
Internal motivation is the type of motivation that comes from your own personal goals. No one on earth can give you this motivation and no one can tell you how to achieve it. This is a goal that you have chosen for yourself and will not stop until you have achieved it. People that are internally motivated do not simply “get though” their workout, they destroy it! They don’t just endure their contest prep, they CRUSH IT! (All Core Nutritionals people know what I’m talking about). They do this because they truly love what they are doing. Every step is a goal in and of itself.
Progress and success itself can be a motivator as well. But even these are a form of external motivation. When an individual is successful they will of course be driven to attain further success, but oddly enough it is in failure and defeat where we are able to differentiate those that are truly motivated from within. I think we have all seen people react to loss in one of two ways. Some become discouraged and quite or take time off. While there are a select few that are not phased at all by setback. In fact, it seems to almost strengthen their resolve to succeed.
Progress is made in the offseason. This is where we beat our opponents and gain ground on people that are ahead of us. This is also the time where we most often are left to ourselves. People are not checking on your progress daily or asking when your show is. This is the time when it is up to you and you alone to drive yourself forward. It is easy to train hard and diet when you have everyone cheering you on. The big question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you can work just as hard when no one is watching. For the internally motivated this is hardly a question at all.