Food & Fitness

Seeking Motivation

Check out all of my HITT at Aspire Fitness blog posts:

Week One: HITT and the City

Week Two: Tracking food and exercise online with Aspire Fitness

Week Three: Looking for the Ultimate Workout

Week Four: The HITT Diet Plan

Motivation and Relationships

Something that I love about Aspire Fitness is that along one wall of the gym, where there are these huge lovely windows that we can watch the sun rise during our workouts, there are beautiful mounted photographs of a few of the success stories. Client testimonials in picture-form.

The first time I visited Aspire Fitness, Jason walked me through each story by pointing to the photograph and describing the client, their struggles, and their successes in detail. I liked that he knew these people. There was a solid relationship there. It was something that you can’t get when you go to a regular gym. At Good Life, one of the staff members noticed when I missed my usual morning workout, but that was about it. They can’t get a really good understanding of your personal fitness level and struggles.

At Aspire Fitness, my trainer Holly is well aware that it’s a good idea if she stands nearby when I move to the box hop station, because my clumsiness and height hindrance are liable to make me unsteady on jumping on top of the 18-inch-high box. There are only a few of us in my morning class, so we all know what each other excels at and what each other struggles with. One woman can lift weights like nobody’s business; another could run hill sprints for minutes on end without stopping. It’s nice to be able to get to know one another and build relationships as our training continues.

Knowing that we’re all in it together, and that everyone else is waking up at 5am or just after, is another good motivator. If they can do it, so can I! And seeing those photographs of success stories can be a real help to squeezing out another lat pull-down (well, that and watching the clock to see that I only have 5 more seconds of that exercise before moving onto the next one ;)).

Photographs tell a story that the mirror cannot. I find that photographs are a much more reliable source for knowing what we *really* look like. If you forget to suck in your stomach for the camera, or if you forget to get that perfect angle so that your chin looks narrow, the camera will catch it. It may not be pretty, but at least it’s the truth.

I’ve been looking at photos from the past few years. It’s an interesting transformation: losing ten pounds, then another ten, then two more; then gaining three, then up another four, then up another five. It can happen surprisingly quickly. And I’m astounded at what a difference ten pounds can really make!

Pounds and inches and photographs don’t dictate your worth. They don’t tell you if you, as a person, are a success. But they are often related to health and to how we feel. One of my favourite photographs mounted on the wall at Aspire Fitness is of a piper in her full costume (third photograph from the end). She wanted to lose some weight so that she could fit into her piper’s uniform again. And she did it.

Several years ago when I was at my current weight, I was perfectly content. But that was before I lost 10 lbs and bought these awesome boots (it’s kind of hard to see them. But it’s the only photo of the boots that I’ve got):

My hand is on my hip. Just an FYI.

I bought the above super awesome boots in California when I went to the 2009 POM Blogger Harvest Tour. Sadly, the jeans that I’m wearing in that photo no longer fit me. Nor do the boots (and my calves were still muscular at the time the photo was taken. So I can’t even blame that it’s all muscle on my calves).

So that’s my motivation! I want to fit in those jeans and boots again. Because they rock. And I feel great in them. I’m looking forward to being able to take another photo of myself wearing those jeans and boots.

Do you use photographs as motivation? How important are strong relationships to you and your fitness?

P.S. I had my measurements done at Aspire Fitness yesterday and it turns out I’ve lost a couple centimeters around my waist. And Holly commented on how much my shoulder muscles have developed. Whee exercise!


      1. westwood

        If it’s any consolation, despite being an elite athlete/regular weightlifter for what, ten years now… I have never been able to do one. Nor do I think I will ever.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I only like very specific kinds of testimonials. Most of them annoy me to no end because they just don’t seem REAL – like the kinds of testimonials you find talking about weight loss pills, for example.

      I think that’s what I like about the photographs. They aren’t all of models. They’re of people running in races and dressed up in piper outfits. You can look at photos and think, “I can do that.” Whereas if you see an airbrushed photo or a picture of someone who used to be 100 lbs overweight and is now a swimsuit model, it’s a little harder to make the connection and believe that it’s possible to get there!

  1. Jody - Fit at 52

    I agree, photos do tell a lot! For me, it is not so much the bod but the aging & the face.. right now, the camera is no fun for me cause I see my age in pics…. at just about 53, it is telling! I am glad at least that I worked to keep the bod in shape the bet I can for my age because it only gets harder as we age!

    You can do it…. hard work does pay off! I do love that pic though…. I am fashion clueless! 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Oh 53 is young! 🙂 But for sure it gets more difficult as we age. Considering how frustrating I sometimes find it at 22, I can only imagine how challenging it will be in the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years to stay healthy and in shape!

  2. Emergefit

    I agree with Jody, and you, that photos tell a lot. The mirror does too. The most telling thing of all though, is what goes through your head when it hits the pillow:

    “Did I do it right today?”
    “Did I try my hardest?”
    “Did I give it my best shot?”

    When there are lots of yeses to those questions, the mirror and the camera tend to be favorable.

    I wanna see you in those boots again 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Ooh I really like that mentality. I hadn’t thought of it that way – so simple. Yes, if we’re honest with ourselves, and can pinpoint the correct answers to those questions, that’s one of the best ways to get ourselves into shape.

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