Q: Help! I train hard for a couple of workouts, and then I start slacking off. I hate that! How do you guys stay motivated to keep pushing?

A: Motivation does ebb and flow, but we’re pretty good at keeping the intensity switched to “on” most of the year. Why? Let’s be honest: It’s mostly vanity. The big reason we work out is to look great when we’re out and about. Nobody likes to be embarrassed when they take off their shirt at the beach or the pool.

Now, avoiding embarrassment is one thing; you reach another level of confidence and pride when you have abs blazing and some sizeable, cut-up muscle on your frame—the kind of muscularity that grabs people by the throat. Steve witnessed an incident early in his training career that is still burned in his memory banks that he often dredges up for motivation (and it may motivate you)…

"It was spring break on Texas’ South Padre Island, and college students were out by the hotel pool, basking in the warm sunshine. It was vacation time for us, but school was still the main topic of conversation—until this well-built guy showed up. You could feel the attention shift.

“He was wearing baggy bright orange surfer trunks, but you could still see he had sculpted quads and hams. And his calves were full and vascular with impressive flare (no chicken legs here!). The loud conversations around the pool turned to whispers as he pulled up a lounge chair, spread his towel and began peeling off his T-shirt. Having lifted for a few years myself, I was impressed. His balance and conditioning were eye-popping, and every movement he made was a lesson in muscular anatomy. He was ripped!

“As his shirt came off and his arms came down from above his head, the striations in his pecs flashed like a fireworks display. His physique wasn’t overly massive, but it had such a harmonious flow of muscular development and cuts that most of the people around the pool were mesmerized (especially the women). He resembled a work of art, not an overblown cartoon. I and no doubt the other guys there were thinking, ‘Damn, I wish I looked like that,’ and then just to hammer the point home…

“One gorgeous gal who was sitting near me (whom I was working up the courage to talk to) turned to her friend and said, ‘The scenery just improved 100 percent. Let’s go check things out up close.’ And they went over and started talking to him. Yep, his physique was like the perfect opening line, no words necessary. When I saw those girls leave my vicinity to go over and chat him up and squeeze his arm, I knew my workouts were going to shift into overdrive. Thinking about it still gets me fired up today.”

Jonathan Lawson, back and arms outside - Muscle-Morphing Motivation

Okay, that’s not the spring break guy in the photo; that’s Jonathan—but you get the idea.

Of course, there are other reasons to train hard. We both believe it sets a good example for our kids, and you can't help but feel much better and more self-confident when your lifting regularly and in shape. It’s obviously a health thing for both of us, too—which is why we don’t use drugs.

But when you really need a kick in the butt, it usually all boils down to how you look—or want to look. You have to visualize yourself by the pool on that first warm day of spring, not feeling embarrassed but proud for improving the scenery—and raising a few eyebrows. Also, keep our philosophy in mind: Bodybuilding is not about being better than others, it’s about being the best you can be.

Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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