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Self Motivation - The Difference Between Wanna-Be and Gonna-Be

Stew Smith, CSCS

Most people who email me are pretty motivated but need guidance on how to get to a new level of fitness and health. From the unfit seeking to getting healthy and lose weight to the athlete seeking to change from a sport workout routine to a military workout routine to better prepare for the different challenges that the military provides, I am honored to help.

However, every now and then I receive emails from those who say they want to serve but have been unmotivated for a year or more to physically prepare for a profession in the military or law enforcement. This is a problem. With the current economic recession and job losses, recruiter’s offices are full of young and older recruits looking for a job.

Here is an email from a young man seeking to join either the military or police force:

Hello – I am a recent college graduate and used to be an athlete in high school, but have not worked out in more than two years with any consistency. I know I need to lose weight for my health but I also want to get a job in the military or police. I am not sure which one and I just cannot get motivated to go and workout. Any suggestions?

The good news is that you are young enough to get in shape relatively quickly. Four to six months of daily fitness at your age will help your ability to survive whatever training you are seeking. However, ask yourself: is this an attempt at “job hunting” or are you really motivated to serve your country in the military or police force? These are honorable professions that require personal drive and motivation to succeed, not just a place to pick up a check every two weeks.

One day while performing your duties, your fitness may mean the difference between life and death for you or your buddy. If that does not motivate you to workout then I am not going to be able to do it by holding your hand and telling you that you can do it if you try. You have to ask yourself, do you really want to serve your country enough that you are willing to suck up the pain of preparation in order to achieve the goal of proudly wearing that uniform?

Another thing you will develop when you start to train hard is the confidence in yourself. You will sharpen your mental toughness by pushing your fitness levels each week.

One thing I have learned by being in the military/law enforcement fitness and fitness writing business for the past ten years is that you can set the example for people to follow, but you cannot make them follow. I do not motivate people to workout – YOU have to do that. When you are motivated, let me know and I can help you get the the level of fitness you need.

When you are truly motivated to serve, you will do whatever is in your power to prepare yourself. You have to understand that we are at war with people who want to shoot you for your ideals and beliefs. Whether it is your belief of freedom for all or justice to those who break the law, you will one day embody that belief in the uniform you choose to wear. It is not just a job – it is a noble profession that you will always treasure having served in and you will never forget those who served and the new generation that still serves after you.

Now get to work!

  • Snoopy-cool_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I am not a LEO but my application is going out after the 1st of the year. I am doing a lot to prepare. Two years ago I quit smoking. I do a lot of cardio to help build my lungs back up and the cardiovascular endurance. I am overweight right now but I joined a gym and I also ride my bike all the time. I know what the PT test is for the agency where I am applying and I have started doing the exercises that they do in daily PT during the academy. It's now or never for me so the motivation is there. My biggest challenge is maintaining a clean diet.My job takes up tons of time so I have to be organized to prepare meals correctly and not eat crap. We have a lot of reps bringing food to the job so I have to just eat salad instead of indulging.

  • John_groh_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Good read

  • 082310163642_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Excellent article !!!!!!!

  • Sany0182_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    exactly how i live life!! such true words!!!

  • Wind_therapy-_angel_max50


    over 5 years ago


    "Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body" An old Marine saying. Semper FI
    I agree motivation is knowing that you are not only responsible for your self but if you are not physically prepared for any thing that could happen on the street you are putting your buddy at risk, and possibly the person you are their to help.

  • Challenger_cop_car_max600_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    I totally agree with this. I have just begun getting in shape for the Academy and it is not easy...but I cant stand to lose so I wont. I am making great progress too, I've lost nearly 10 pounds in 2 weeks, just by cutting out the junk and running a mile everyday (plus push-ups, crunches etc.) If you lack motivation then when your working out just think the each rep, and each step gets you closer to your goal...your dream. Now get out there and run!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    my biggest motivation was pain is weakness leaving the body or mind over matter. you can do anything you put your mind to.

  • 28243_129036320459925_100000606722266_205581_7200737_n_max50


    about 6 years ago


    My biggest motivation is a quote I heard "Somewhere a true believer is training with one goal in mind... to kill you... will you be ready when you meet?"

  • 1243002590_picsay-1243002590_max50


    about 6 years ago


    One of my motivations is watching Fit Tv on Direct Tv. after watching that show i got a membership with the YMCA, and if it was up to me i would go everyday.
    So whats stopping me, well maybe that the heat and humidty is a detterence.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    I find the hardest time to be motivated is when its raining and my kids r home otherwise i can get up early and run a few miles bfore work and come back and go. Sometimes if not tired take the kids and do some form of exercise after and we do something on the weekend. Summer is hard we need to wait for evening or early am. but the rain is the killer.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    This is awesome some need the motivation

  • Obcop_avatar_max50


    about 6 years ago


    my god i am printing this and giving it to my guys today.. awesome article

  • 4006742807_max600_max600_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Very useful article. I would think this should hit home to some of those people who lack motivation.

  • Nj_508th_mp_co_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Amen to that! I'm currently experiencing the same dilemma. I'm trying to motivate people who will be attending the academy in the near future. However a handful lack to drive to get up at O' Dark thirty to workout. I advise them that they owe it not only to themselves but to their families and the public they serve. Guess you can bring the horse to the water but you cannot make him drink.

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