Towards the end of my pregnancy last year I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a bodybuilder. I started following bodybuilders on Instagram (total guilty pleasure) and reading everything I could about weightlifting and nutrition to support a killer physique. It wasn’t just the fact that I felt huge and very pregnant that had me dreaming about six-pack abs but the pregnancy itself made me curious about transformation and the stuff our bodies are capable of doing.
So these bodybuilders I follow on Instagram are constantly pairing their #gymselfies and photos chicken and oats in tupperware with motivational captions like “I have goals. Nothing will get in my way. You have to know WHY you want what you want and then you have to go for it full force.” (Trite, yes – but I’m a total sucker for them.)
These captions always have me feeling like I don’t know really know my why. That said, these women with boulder shoulders and glutes that won’t quit never really seem to articulate their WHY either. So I started thinking about my own personal reasons why I want to be in killer shape. I came up with two:
1. so I can kill zombies and look like The Walking Dead‘s Michonne doing it
2. so I can look like a zombie-killing badass in a bikini this summer
I think I’m disciplined enough to go to the gym and kick my own ass and track my macros down to the gram so I can look and feel like Linda Hamilton doing hundreds of pushups and pull-ups in Terminator or Ellen Ripley kicking some Alien ass or Michonne slaying zombies … but is it a sustainable why? Is looking like a post-apocalyptic badass the kind of why that will get my ass in gear when I’m tired and want to eat All The Sugar?
So I started digging deeper about my “why”. Why do I work out?
After lots of driving and thinking, showering and thinking, working out and thinking, walking and thinking, and brushing my teeth and thinking I came to the conclusion that my WHY boils down to two values: 1. transformation and 2. discipline.
Transformation. I love a good reinvention. I remember as a kid I was always excited for Madonna to unveil her newest look – I even admired how bold and unapologetic she was about stuff like her fake English accent. Into my late teens and early 20s America’s Next Top Model was my favorite – and the episode I never wanted to miss was the big makeover where they chop Rapunzel’s locks into a Rosemary’s Baby pixie. I couldn’t get enough.
And then there is Discipline. I love the idea of spontaneity and just living life, man… but when it comes down to it I thrive on discipline and routine. Trusting a process that will get me from Point A to Point B – it gives me the certainty I crave. But I’ve noticed over the past year that when I lose faith in myself, I stop trusting how over time little steps will add up to great distances. When I’m low I can’t even see past my own hand. Getting from Point A to Point B seems pointless when I don’t even know what Point B looks like. So discipline – it’s about focusing on the process. It’s about establishing habits that pull me, step-by-step, out of the valleys, even when I can’t see what’s ahead.
So back to my why. Why do I work out? Because I believe if I can sculpt my body into a zombie-killing machine then I will prove to myself that transformation + discipline can accomplish any vision I set my sites on. And right now, I have some pretty big vision.
So now I have my why. I like it. But I still want to look like a zombie-slaying badass in a bikini.