It ain’t about the 6-pack.


So tomorrow I have THE photo shoot with the fabulously talented Paige of Paige Kimball Photography (


Contemplating tomorrow got me started thinking about motivation to work out/eat better–specifically, how this particular event should have driven my exercising and dieting so that I would achieve a more ‘camera-ready fitness figure’ (imagine air quotes on those words).


You would think that putting my ‘hottest bod’ out there would motivate me to dial in that diet, to get super focused on eating for that aesthetic outcome, the less soft and more chiseled look.


And….it did. A little.


A few weeks ago, my waistbands weren’t fitting so kindly and I recognized I needed to tighten the diet up a bit, so I cut out the extras and got more vigilant about the amount of vegetables and starchy/simple carbs I took in (one up, the other down!).


I made my great HIIT-it plan (because nothing slims my midsection better than High Intensity Interval Training sessions for a few weeks)…and then I caught the nastiest upper respiratory virus I’ve ever had (as did most of Bavaria, apparently).


So HIIT plans went out the window pretty quick as I was laid up for 10+days and had to work my way back to walk/jogging 2 miles.


I guess I could have followed some kind of ‘get cut’ diet, but I simply found no joy or use in doing so.



So like I said, you’d think ‘being cut’ for pictures would have been motivating, but it wasn’t. Well, only a little bit, anyway 😉


What I have learned about myself, and I think this rule can be generalized to many others, is that I’m only temporarily, at best, motivated by an aesthetic goal.


I do enjoy looking nice, I don’t enjoy feeling like my jeans are too tight, and those kind of help me stay on track, but they aren’t my main motivators.


I’ve had the great privilege of training many clients whose bodies had ‘considerations,’ as I like to put it, I’ve worked as an instructor with the Warrior Transition Unit on post, and I volunteer in a physical therapy clinic every week.


When you’re surrounded by people who just want their bodies to work better, to move better or at least with less pain, it can change the way you look at and conceive of fitness.



Maybe once fitness meant having a 6-pack or staying at 18% body fat (or less), but now it’s more about personal freedom, longevity, and just enjoying the shit out of what I can do for as long as I can.



The things I now find motivating?


Creating the most athletic, capable body possible.

Rocking out some serious pull ups.

Tackling hill runs with joy and gusto.

Learning new skills and tricks and trying crazy, once ‘impossible’ things, remembering that once pull ups were ‘impossible,’ too.

Inspiring others to push back their self-imposed limits and strive to reach THEIR full potential, regardless of body shape, size or ‘considerations.’

Helping people to live fuller lives through conquering limits, managing fears, and tapping into their own inner strengths.

THESE things have now become the force that drives me, that motivates me to eat better, sleep more, indulge a little less.


Aesthetics are temporary, fleeting, impossible to maintain day in and day out for the rest of your life.


I just can’t get excited about working out to get a 6-pack anymore.


I can get excited about finding my own greatness, resilience, talents, and strengths from here until the end of the road, though.


That’s a hell of a lot more exciting than a 6-pack. Trust me, I’ve had experience with both.

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