Motivation is a strange thing. Why are some officers fit, working out, eating well and practicing a fighting art while other officers are not? I have pondered this question for a long time. Sure we can factor in fatigue, schedules, stress, family and overtime shifts. But none of those prohibit you from eating well and you can grab a quick workout almost anywhere. So it has to be deeper than that. For many years I focused on pain as a de-motivating factor; if you hurt or have pain, no one wants to work out. To an extent I still do but I have to wonder what else factors into the equation.
Resistance is something to consider. Obviously you are dissatisfied with your current situation (health, wellness, fitness, you feel bad). So you create a vision of a future state or in this case your goals. Then you identify your first steps as a way to meet the vision and combat your dissatisfaction. But what is the resistance?
At some point you will meet resistance and what I am realizing more and more is that almost all the officers that fail to stay motivated never stop, take a look at their personal world and identify what the resistance will be. Will it be pain that stops you from exercising? Will it be financial? Will it be your spouse? You and you alone have to take the time, quiet your mind, and honestly identify what the resistance(s) are or will be. Until you identify this key point, motivation will never last as it’s not a sustainable process.
Last year I finally got my posterior back into the dojo. I have wanted to do this for a long time but kept making excuses. I’m too tired, too busy etc. but they were all excuses. I could have made the time. It took my son, who had just turned 8, to motivate me to get back in, because if he was going so was dad! 17 months later I am proud to say that I am still at it and loving every minute. Well, if I have to be honest, I do not care for some of the nasty falls and throws. What was my resistance? Fear of failure and fear of not knowing enough. Those were my resistance points and as soon as I identified them they were no longer holding me back.
Larry was one of the most dedicated LEO’s I have known; he loved to be a cop. I would go so far as saying he was born for it. After about 10 years on the force (in a big city), Larry had gained a good bit of weight and his back was a constant source of pain. Every time Larry tried to ‘get back at it’ his back would hurt or his knee ached so the only other option was to do nothing. Larry never stopped to quiet his mind and identify what his resistance was. Interestingly, when we did identify it, the pain was not the main resistor; it was a very common problem that we must discuss.
Larry had convinced himself that, before he could see a trainer or take a class, he first had to get in shape! While this may seem strange I can tell you that in 15 years of clinical practice and fitness training this is the #1 reason why LEO’s do not ask for help or hire a trainer/coach. Once Larry realized that he was being silly by hanging on to this ill-conceived notion he had no further resistor to hold him back!
If you know it’s bad for you, why do you do it?
This is another motivation question that has always baffled me. If you know that candy bar is bad for you, why eat it? If you know smoking will kill you, why do it? The next time you are staring at __________ (fill in the blank) just ask yourself what is a better option; and yes even a little is still bad for you!
Your Fitness Will Save Your Life One Day & Every Day!
I checked and there is not a single book or manual that says working out to total exhaustion, puking in a bucket or unable to stand up will make you a better athlete or officer. In fact ALL the best professional athletes in the world NEVER train that hard! So why should you? What they do. you should do. Lift heavy with unending perfect form and with specified rest periods to allow maximal muscle activation, not exhaustion. Sprint hard, as this is the most primal of all motions in the human body. Sprinting stimulates ALL the muscles in your body and is absolutely the best exercise to do. Then rest. The best athletes in the world know the value of rest. Nothing is gained in the gym or on the field. It is all gained through recovery. In this case, what’s right is right so beware the fads, gimmicks and workout-till-you-almost-die programs. The science is pretty clear here folks and if we follow rule #1, NO exercise should EVER cause injury!