Self Determination Theory and Fat Loss

I know the statement of “What’s Your Why” has gotten to the point where we hear and say it all the time that we don’t even consider the substance of the statement.


And it’s not our fault.


We’re so constantly bombarded by information that our brains have developed a filter for every single piece of info out there regardless if it’s good info or not. Even when the content is powerfully helpful, we tend to gloss over it and move on to the next piece of info being thrown at us. There’s just too much to sort through.


So even though we see and hear “What’s Your Why” all the time – people still have to stop and think about it every time I force them to answer the question.


People don’t know why they are training. More importantly – people don’t know why they are alive in the first place. They’re just there, on autopilot, just going about their day with the unconscious goal of just getting through the day just to do it all again tomorrow.


That’s not EVERYONE, but for many of us, this is how we approach life.


Just Getting By.


People are in survival mode without even being aware of it. It’s all they really know.


And when operating in survival mode, we tend to react to what’s thrown at us instead of responding, and that’s not our fault either. It’s a biological response that’s out of our control. When we’re surviving – we’re devolving back to operating from our brain stem, or what’s known as our “reptilian brain”.


It’s the part of the brain that we share in common with lizards and snakes after millions and millions of years of evolution.


The reptilian brain is responsible for survival based instincts known as the Five F’s (Freeze, Fight, Flight, Feed, F*ck).


So because so many of us are approaching life with the attitude of “Just get me through this day” or “I can’t wait until the weekend” or even “I’m bored” and are just surviving we tend to react and make decisions rooted in the five F’s.


No wonder so many of us don’t have high aspirations of ourselves.


In regards to goal oriented training – if you’re not honest with the REAL reason you’re training in the first place – than good luck accomplishing any sustainable and tangible result.


So what’s the real motivation to why you are at the gym and (hopefully) busting your ass?


Is it really because you just want to look good in a bathing suit?


As any method trained actor would want to know, “what’s my motivation?”


Are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?


If you like being fulfilled and operating from a place of content – than you should get real with yourself and make your goals intrinsically based as opposed to extrinsically.


Differentiating between extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation is what essentially comprises Self Determination Theory – which holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered “intrinsic” to human happiness and far outweigh “extrinsic” values such as beauty, money, and status.


So are your goals extrinsically or intrinsically rooted?


Our American culture hits us over the head that our goals should be extrinsically motivated in order to drive our economy. If you look this way, have this amount of money, hang out with these cool, good looking, and rich people – than YOU will be happy too.




It’s been proven in a significant large body of research that attaining extrinsic motivators provide a very short-term amount of satisfaction and we quickly return back to our base happiness level after our extrinsic goal has been reached.


That new car you’ve wanted FOREVER to fill your ego feels AMAZING for the first week of having it. Then pretty soon you feel the same way prior to having your new ride.


So money DOES buy happiness, but only for a very short time. The same goes for fame and beauty.

How many attractive people do you know who are miserable? Look at Hollywood and the rate of substance abuse, depression, and general anxiety that’s spewed all over the media on a daily basis.


Shit’s cray.


When our goals are rooted in extrinsic motivation, it’s easy to become jaded and disappointed fast once the goal has been realized.


So as you train, ask yourself “Are my goals focused on contributing to my competence, my authenticity, and my community?


Most extrinsic goals will make us feel good. But beneath all of it are feelings of inadequacy, fear, and loneliness.


So call yourself on your bullshit and make your goals focused on helping you becoming more competent at what you love doing, authentic and real in your own skin, and contributing to your belonging in a community.


Everything else will cause you to be in the constant hamster wheel of fleeting rewards and short term satisfaction.


So let go of the bullshit and embrace the real you and your real reasons for training. Call out your ego for it telling you that because you think you look awesome that you are awesome (I do that shit daily).


Am I personally training to look like a big and bad dude because it contributes to my competence, my authenticity, and my belonging?


Well, yes and no.


Yes because I love the daily practice of little steps towards a BIG GOAL.

Yes because training and healthy eating is a way of me acknowledging my body and mind and treating it with respect.

Yes because if I’m going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk as a Fitness Professional and be experienced in my teachings.

Yes because it enables me to do other physical and mental activities that I would otherwise be unable to do.

Yes because I believe I’m responsible for creating my body, my mind, and my life

Yes because the act of training towards a goal contributes to me feeling like I’m constantly striving towards fulfilling my limitless potential


But as the same time, if I’m being 100% real – I think some of my chase for being big and bad are due to feelings of not being good enough, and that if I look awesome, people will think I am awesome and I have my shit together.


If I look big and bad, no one will mess with me in order to protect myself from feeling vulnerable and scared (Insecurity).


If I look big and bad, chicks will want me and dudes will think I’m the man (Ego).


So I’m aware that my ego and insecurity get twisted up in my other altruistic reasons for why I lift.


The good news – I’m aware of it, and as a result I’m constantly navigating my intentions as to why I do what I do. It’s a real trip!


The more we let go of our insecurity and ego, not only do the results feel better, the process is equally more enjoyable as well. To further compound the benefits, because we are enjoying the process, the results come more naturally and effortlessly as well. That’s like a quadruple win.


So let’s be honest – better yet, let’s be aware and ask ourselves some tough questions as to why we do what we do. Why do we train? Why do we show up daily and eat the same foods over and over again, healthy or unhealthy? What’s the real reason you hit the snooze button and missed your session? What’s the real reason that “you’re just too busy to exercise”?


Get REAL. And get your tribe to help you with it. We all didn’t get here by living in an isolated bubble – it takes a village aka The IMPACT Fam.


Release the chains and LEGGOOO!



















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