Motivation vs. Determination

Have you ever woken up and thought, “ I don’t want to go train today,” or have you ever gotten to the gym and thought “this is the last place I want to be?”

Many people look at me, my instagram, my life, and think that my motivation must run rampant. It must course through my veins. I must wake up dripping with motivation, unable to wait to get to the gym and grind. 

While some days and even training cycles, these statements hit the nail on the head. Other times, it could not be farther from the truth. What happens when there is no motivation though is what will determine if you will achieve what you desire, if you will pursue greatness, or if you are satisfied where you are now.

People will struggle during training for entirely different reasons, sometimes physical other times mental. Right now, I want to address the mental struggle of training, specifically when its related to outside stressors and not directly related to training itself.

You can have a training cycle that is going swimmingly, you feel great, you are seeing the progress you expect or even greater. Then, out of nowhere, the motivation wanes. This could be for a multitude of reasons, sometimes you may not be able to pinpoint it, other times you may know the exact reason but be unsure of how to change it.

Just as training puts stress on your body in order to make your better, make you grow, so does life. Life puts stressors on your body that will push you outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully, you react in a way that just like in training will make you grow. Just like training we are looking for a positive effect to be the end result. However, what you may not realize is that these stressors are not two separate entities. Your body does not know the difference between training stress and life stress and therefore, even if your training stress is that in which you can typically recover and see progress from but your life stress has increased, you may see a negative impact on your training.

This all seems simple and obvious but what gets tricky is when the motivation to continue to train during this period of stress is low.

Why?  Well, for most training is an outlet of sorts. When your outlet from your increased stress levels is becoming a negative experience, what kind of outlet is it? The motivation that once coursed through your veins is far gone.


What drives you now to stay the course? Determination.

If you have big goals. You must dig. You must show up, put in the work, TRUST THE PROCESS. You must find other outlets and prioritize yourself until your stressors equalize and your training will return to normal.

YOU HAVE BIG GOALS for yourself. Remember at the beginning, when I said if you are pursuing greatness, this could be the difference. When training isn’t fun, when motivation is lacking, what do you do? You find your determination. Even when you are questioning if the sacrifices you are making towards training are worth it, if they even make sense, be firm with your purpose. The purpose behind your training. Write it down. Remind yourself. Have your trusted team remind you. Keep telling yourself your purpose even if you barely believe it at the time.

I have been pretty open about struggling with training and the lack of motivation I had for about a month after moving. The month seemed like forever. I felt as though I was unworthy of some of the goals I had set forth entering the year. I felt as though things I had done before in training, and numbers I had hit were false. The weights must have been wrong, there is no way I did that before. I felt as though my goals didn’t mean anything to me anymore and if that was the truth, why the hell was I in the gym.

Talk about negative self-talk for someone who is generally very realistic and positive.

Guess what, its okay!

If you have been in this head space, or you are there now, know others have been there too and, it will pass.  This is the time you have determination. You are determined to show up and make everyday the best that you can. This is the time that will make you grow as a person and become a stronger athlete. You must show up. You must put in the work and take what is there on the given day. You must trust the process. Take the good days when they come, and get through the bad ones.

While there is no magic recipe to make you “feel better.” You must accept that it happens. It is normal. Everyone will experience periods of life stress and waning motivation. This is what will separate many people. How you react. If you are have the determination. If you decide you are determined to push through, you must accept that you are going to have suck it up. That not everything is sunshine all the time. You have to in some ways, embrace the suck for a while.

When you are not in the gym, you must take care of yourself. Find other outlets; sleep, eat well, talk about things that have nothing to do with lifting with friends and family. Read. Walk. Go to the movies. Celebrate other victories be it personal or business related. Leave the gym at the gym.

One day, you will wake up and it will click again. Things will start moving like they did before, you will start to enjoy the process again and it in turn training will become that outlet you so desperately enjoy. Better than that, you will realize that by sticking out the rough patch you have not only maintained your abilities but have actually progressed. You are physically and mentally stronger. You are determined. Your willpower and desire is greater than ever.


That motivation is coursing through your veins again, you know why you set those goals before and you know why they mean so much to you, and you are ready to attack again.

My goal isn't to be the most motivation goal is not to be the most motivated person, but the most determined. 

Trust the process, and be kind to yourself.