Before I tackle my question, a little about me–> I began my martial arts training at the age of four, earned several sports awards in high school, was the champion of the Physique Body category of the Lebanese National Body Building Championship 2013 and was (still freelance) a personal trainer for several years. In addition to working for one of the most renowned and expensive studio gyms in the Middle East. What I am trying to say is that I’ve had my share of the fitness world.
At a younger age almost everyone thinks of the aesthetics of their body. Especially at the end of teenage years and early 20’s when it actually matters how you look if you’re in the game of dating and attraction. I guess it’s a part of life that we all go through. I was close to being obsessed, making sure that I spend at least 2 hours at the gym with no excuse whatsoever. I never missed a single day. I would look at all of these huge muscle men to only get more motivated and obsessed about training harder and getting bigger. The idea was bigger looks stronger, stronger looks scarier, scarier was respected. And girls like bigger, stronger and scarier or at least that’s what I thought back then.
I don’t really regret all the fitness-related activities that I had and the time I had spent in the gym but I wish I had someone to guide me through the thought process of why being fit, NOT BIGGER, was important for my life.
Winning the 2013 Lebanese National Bodybuilding Championship in the physique body category was life-changing. It is a milestone that I am proud I experienced and is a good memory that I will hopefully share with my grandchildren someday.
Throughout my experience, I had noticed many older people who had spent a lot of time in the gym and obsessed about their fitness but I never bothered to ask what motivated them to wake up every single morning to train. Yes, my assumption was to look better which is probably one of everyone’s reasons. As I gained more experience in the fitness industry as a trainer I began to understand more about the different mentalities and perspectives of people. Some think about the way they look, others do it for health reasons, some who need it to make money like models, and a single man who’s reason taught me a lesson.
I had been training this renowned gentleman for a while. He would come in to train, always on time with no exceptions. Always gave his best and never argued or questioned my training style. He respected and listened to my directions and simply pushed through his sessions. He was as strong as a bear and trained like a monster but never cared about how he looked. I had enjoyed many meaningful and enlightening conversations with him throughout our sessions. One day we started discussing the reasons people care about their fitness and what keeps them motivated. I still remember that moment very well; I ask him why he was so dedicated and what motivated him to show up and give his best even when he is extremely tired. He said: “I do this to have the strength to protect my family if ever needed, to be able to work enough to save for my children’s future and to live long enough to see my grandchildren and carry them on my shoulders someday.”
His reasons for motivation were at the very least, 100 times more important than the ones I had when I heard them back then. Truth be told, it is only now that I understand the meaning and feeling of what he was saying. Now that I have children of my own I could not have said it better.
Let me repeat this wise man’s words as I am sure they might become your own someday.
“I do this to have the strength to protect my family if ever needed, to be able to work enough to save for my children’s future and to live long enough to see my grandchildren and carry them on my shoulders someday.”