Get Out of Your Own Way: How to Stay Motivated

By Lisa Guggisberg


It’s no mystery that if you want to be a top level athlete you have to sacrifice a lot and put some time into training.  If you compete at a serious level you know what I’m talking about.  Let’s talk about professional athletes for example.  They spend pretty much 24/7 devoting their time to training, eating for performance, recovery, rehab and every day is pretty much like Ground Hog day.  They give up time with family and there’s usually not a lot of down time for a pro level athlete.  It’s pretty intense to train at that level and eventually it will wear on a person’s psyche. Eventually training isn’t fun anymore.  It becomes a job and motivation can become non-existent.

Now, let’s take it down a level and talk about us common folk – those of us who compete as a serious hobby.  We still put in the hours, make sacrifices and we can also lose motivation when things get grueling and training is no longer fun.

We’ve all felt a lack of motivation at some point during training.  It’s going to happen!  The good news is there are few things that can help when you hit the great wall of un-motivation.

Be a Glass is Half Full Person:


Negative moods hurt performance.  Having a belief in your ability to achieve goals is equivalent to being mentally tough.  Everyone is going to have injuries, bad days, getting beat by the weights, but how you view those defeats will determine the outcome.  Look at setbacks and failures being where the good stuff happens.  It is where you grow and learn.

Stop Comparing Yourself:


This is easy to do with social media playing such a huge part in our lives.  Before you watch that next video of some guy pulling 800 for reps and feel bad about yourself, stop and say to yourself “you are you.” Focus on your goals.  Being envious, or comparing yourself to others will only make you feel bad about yourself.  Unless you are the all-time world record holder, there will always be someone stronger than you.  Keep your head down and focus on your goals and you might be amazed at the results.



There are many times where I don’t feel like training.  I’d rather just relax, or simply do something else.  Honestly I will decide to not train somedays and take a break, BUT those days I save for offseason.  Offseason is a time to dial back the intensity in training.  Meet prep comes and I force myself to train.  The level of intensity changes during meet prep, as do priorities.  This is why you have to have an offseason, to find some balance and not burn out.


Talk to Yourself:


If something is bothering me, or causing stress, I take a moment, rationalize and talk it out in my head and move on. I do this all the time.  Rational thinking and self-talk is useful when faced with stressors that affect your training.  Figure out what can be controlled and talk yourself through the problem.  Sort through all the factors effecting you and make a rational decision and plan to address the stressor.

Love the Grind:


I know this is cliché, but it really is true.  Caring less about your training and assigning negative attributes to it will only put a bigger damper on your psyche.  Enjoy the training as much as you love the competition.  I know that is easier said than done, but try looking at training as a means to push the limits of learning and being challenged emotionally and physically.  In powerlifting, the destination is the journey.

Don’t Let Your Goals Overwhelm You:


As athletes we can sometimes become overwhelmed by the bigger picture of our goal. If you feel overwhelmed stop and just focus on each training session, one at a time.  Sometimes you just have to stop and say to yourself you can do anything, but not everything.

Staying motivated is difficult for an athlete at any level, but staying positive, focused and applying some rational thought can get you through.  Some of the most successful athletes aren’t always the strongest, they are just better at staying motivated.

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A self-proclaimed former high school band nerd turned meathead nerd, Lisa has been coached and mentored by Brian Carroll using 10/20/Life principals for 3 years. She started CrossFiting in 2006 but gave that up after realizing all she wanted to do was squat, bench and deadlift heavy. She now competes as a raw and multi-ply powerlifter in the 114 and 123 weight classes. Lisa has All-Time top 10 totals in both raw and multi-ply in her respective weight classes with a raw pro total of 936 lbs at 114 and a pro 1118 lb multi-ply pro total at 123 and 1090 lb multi-ply total at 114. She is currently ranked the #1 female multi-ply lifter at 123, #2 at 114 multi-ply female and #3 raw with wraps. Lisa has a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration, but hates politics and political debates. She is a mom of two, a firefighter wife and has worked as a full time litigation paralegal for almost 20 years.
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