Bodybuilding Maryland motivation Dorian Yates

Originally Titled – Emotional Fuel – What Motivates Me – Look for the link at the bottom of this post for Davids video followup to this article.   Why did he write it? What were his thoughts behind it? What the hell does Ayn Rand have to do with any of this?

Rarely in my life do other individuals push me to greater heights. For those who know me personally (which should be all of you), you know that I work hard, I play hard, and I try to go 100% on pretty much everything I do.

That changed this past week when one of my personal training clients (who shall remain nameless) started giving me a hard time. “Dave, I expect a weekly motivational email from you. With what I’m paying for personal training, I should be receiving at least one motivational email every week to get me fired up to come in”.

I explained to this individual why it was difficult for me to do this– Lifetime limits our email lists to 10 recipients. “So don’t use Lifetime’s server”, he replied. I told him I would eventually love to have a motivational email in conjunction with my website, and it was something in the works. “Why eventually? Why not now?” he replied.

We went back and forth for the better part of the hour, and every time I stated a reason why it wouldn’t work– an excuse why it wouldn’t work– he countered with a very simple, precise retort that basically boiled down to, “That’s a shame, get it done anyways”.

For probably the first time in my life, I felt how many of you must feel when dealing with me during a training session– “Geez, this guy is relentless! He won’t give me a friggin’ inch!”

And then I realized something: he was absolutely right. I was sounding like many of my own clients, coming up with excuses that could all be easily countered with just a little bit more effort and thinking. That little bit is what separates good from great.

Hence my new weekly email, which I shall call the “Emotional Fuel” mailer. There are many days when I wake up exhausted, uninspired, yet I know, as a bodybuilder, that I have to find that fire, that drive, to go in and absolutely crush the weights. I have to find that same fire and drive when dealing with my clients, when running my business, when raising my daughter and being a good husband. It’s called “will”, and it’s the only thing you truly have control over in this world: how hard are you going to apply your will at any given moment of any given day.

But on those less-than-perfect days, it’s nice to have a little external motivation, a little “emotional fuel”, as I call it. Often times before I head in to train, I will pull up video clips on Youtube of various pro bodybuilders or other athletes, and watch the grueling intensity of their workouts. It makes me want to work harder. It makes me think of them as heroes. It makes me feel like I’m 10 years old again, looking up to people who have accomplished more than me, setting a bar high up for me to aspire to. It makes me put on my hoodie and head out the door, ready to destroy absolutely anything and everything that lies in my path when heading into the weight room.

This is the warrior mentality that guides me day to day. And in working with my personal training clients, I try to cultivate that mentality, to various degrees, in my pupils– that idea of taking 100% ownership of your life and the means to achieving your own goals, and enjoying it all in the process.

I know that in many regards I’m a pretty odd duck, so some of the things I find motivational might be “off the beaten path”. But I’ll do my best to deliver the honest-to-goodness spirit of what drives me further. Hopefully it will help you in your own quest. Needless to say, if you consider this junk mail, please tell me and I will remove your name from the email list.

In starting out, I decided on something nice and simple, uncontroversial, and something that sums up the very spirit of the topic at hand, willing oneself into action, from the ancient Greek tragedian Sophocles: “Heaven never helps the man who will not act”.

As for a little visual motivation, I present for you the Best of Dorian Yates. Of course, I have to start with a bodybuilding clip. Dorian was the top bodybuilder of the ’90s, winning 6 Mr. Olympia titles. He was not known for having the best genetics, but was always considered the hardest worker, as well as the smartest worker, when it came to bodybuilding. Through sheer force of will and application of intelligence, he was able to surpass individuals with far better genetics and become arguably the greatest of all time. To get a sense of his intensity, simply check out the look at the :38 second mark:

Hopefully this will get you all fired up for a week of hard training and clean eating!
-David A. Johnston

Be sure to watch David’s followup video to this article here…

PS… What is it that motivates you? What is it that you do get your ass in gear when you don’t feel like it?
Leave a comment below.


Originally published on 4/11/10 on  We have moved it to this website