What do sports mean to you? Everyone has a different reason to work out. Yes we want to get in shape, we want to perform better or look ready for summer. But what’s the underlying reason?
Finding out what it is doesn’t necessarily mean that’s why you still do it. For myself, the reason I started doing sports and working out is different than why I do it now. Either way, it might help your intrinsic motivation. After all, if you do sports or work out for yourself and your own satisfaction, you are much more likely to continue with it long term. If you do it out of extrinsic motivation (to get a reward or doing it for others, even as simple as relying on compliments from the outside world), there is a chance it will be harder to continue doing it long term.
Video of me practicing some sports growing up:
Sander Kid Sports
The reason I always loved working out and started doing martial arts and later fitness was because of low self esteem. As a child, I had jaw problems and bunny teeth. It didn’t take much for the other kids to poke fun of it and aesthetically, my jaw and chin were way off. This dropped my self esteem tremendously as a child, which you can imagine. The worst part for me was that I was only allowed to get surgery (it was also a functional problem with chewing) until I was 16 years old. As a young child, you don’t really care but once you hit puberty, this kind of thing gets a lot harder.
One thing I had going for my self esteem was that I was always a pretty strong kid and had good muscle structure even early on. That kind of stopped some of the bullying even though I was a very quiet mellow kid. The fact that I was pretty strong made me pretty good at sports and eventually martial arts and fitness. Even though my family was always supportive, I needed that feeling of accomplishment when I did sports or martial arts. That’s what kept me going.
Once I was 16 years old, I underwent 3 jaw surgeries to correct the structure. After that, I underwent an emotional transformation and started the path to become a different person. Up to this day, I still struggle with some of this but I also realize it has made me stronger and it made me work harder. I make it a point to give it my all with sports and fitness. Yes I have my ups and downs but I set my standards high and constantly try to push my limits further to reach my goals.
Think about what your reasons are and dig a little deeper. Why do you work out? Do you enjoy working out and why / why not? How do you feel after killing it in the gym or do you have a hard time pushing yourself? Try to figure out these questions for yourself. Once you know the answers to these, you can really figure out (with the help of a trainer if you want) how to maximize your training, reach your goals and more.
By Sander Vanacker, owner, instructor and personal trainer .
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