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January 12, 2021 9 min read

More than anything, exercise requires dedication. You need to plan, start, and maintain a workout routine. Without dedication to your work, you’ll lose all of that hard work and you’ll end up having to start over.

Every time you quit you’re wasting your own time. That day off turning into a week off is not just a week of lost progress, it’s a week you’ll never get back. When you feel like you’re not making any progress in the gym it’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Are you tapping out early? Are you cutting corners?

There’s no shame in feeling like you’re lacking the motivation. Sometimes you need a top off. Today that’s what we’re here for. Gathered below is wisdom from some of the greatest minds of our time.

They’re not all weightlifters, hell, some of them are from poets. The one thing they all have in common is drive, though. These people have become some of the most well renown folks in the world, and you don’t get to where they are by sitting on your butt and doing nothing all day. So gather around, grab a cup of coffee, and take a read, maybe you’ll find some motivation here to keep at it.

A man working out in a gym.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali is one of the most well-known boxers, if not human beings, in the entire world. He rose to the top and stayed there for years. He gave back to his community through philanthropy and extremely vocal advocation. His results backed up every single word that came out of his mouth. He was the best boxer of his time, and he remains to this day the only three-time heavyweight lineal champion. 

He trained his heart out to earn those accolades.

You don’t become a pillar of strength and a world renown icon by quitting when the chips are down.

  1. I hate every minute of training. But I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion
  2. Don’t count the days, make the days count. 
  3. Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill
  4. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
  5. It's not bragging if you can back it up.
  6. Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
  7. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
  8. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you

Venus Williams 

Venus Willams, much like Muhammad Ali, is at the top of her field. Her athleticism is far and away above the abilities of her peers. She and her sister have earned three Olympic gold medals today, and Venus earned on herself in tennis singles. She became the first black woman to reach number 1 in singles rankings since the Open Era started in 1968. Her wins are dominant, she’s one of the few names to escape the tennis bubble. You can’t even talk about the solar system without mentioning Venus.  

  1. Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t pretend that you do and, and some point, you will. 
  2. In the sports arena, I would say there is nothing like training and preparation. You have to train your mind as much as your body.
  3. If you're not a competitor, you've just got to go home.
  4. If the sun comes up, I have a chance
  5. Life is challenging, but I’m always up for a chance
  6. In life, there is no such thing as impossible; it’s always possible
  7. Win pretty, win ugly, just win

Jack Lalanne

Jack Lalanne was a prolific fitness guru and motivational. Chasing a healthy lifestyle turned his life around. In his youth, he was troubled. He stirred up trouble nearly everywhere he went. He also described himself as a hopeless “junk food junkie” and a “sugarholic” until he was fifteen.

He turned his life around after hearing health food pioneer Paul Bragg. That awoke a drive within him that he thought he would never have. That drive led him to open one of the first fitness gyms in Oakland, California at 21, publishing several books about getting healthy, and hosting his own television show, The Jack Lalanne show. He laid the ground for Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons.

He gained the respect of titans like Arnold Schwarzeneggar by out lifting them even late into life. In his fifties he was outperforming young men literally less than half his age. When he passed in 2009 his legacy endured. Arnold Schwarzeneggar called him “an apostle for fitness. That’s some of the highest praise you can get from the Terminator.  

Jack Lalanne changed millions, if not billions of lives by teaching them effective fitness, setting them off down the road towards good health, and combining that with closer looks at their diet, and if his words don’t get you to work, maybe nothing else will.

  1. Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom. 
  2. The only way you get that fat off is to eat less and exercise more.
  3. Physical fitness takes commitment to exercise just as it requires good nutrition.
  4. I'd rather take a beating sometimes than get in that gym every morning. Anyone who gets up that early and says he likes it is a goddamned liar. The only good thing about it is that when I'm finished, I look at myself in the mirror and say, "Jack, you've done it again!
Arnold Swartzeneger.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    We can’t talk about the man that inspired Arnold without talking about the big man himself. 

    Arnold Schwarzenegger immigrated to the United States at the age of 21 a few years after winning the Mr. Europe contest while serving in the Austrian military to fill in his mandatory year of service. To say he exemplified the American Dream would be an understatement. He came to the country, served as the chairman of the President’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He was the 38th Governor of California, serving for eight years.

    His bodybuilding career opened doors for a rather unusual path through the acting world. He wasn’t just some hired muscle, a stunt guy, or some meathead villain. He played some of the most iconic roles in film history.  He overcame his, at the time “strange thick accent,” and “unconventional body” and made the world accept him for who he was.

    So maybe he’s got something to say about motivation.

    1. The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.
    2. You have to remember something: Everybody pities the weak; jealousy you have to earn.
    3. Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
    4. What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else?
    5. Just like in bodybuilding, failure is also a necessary experience for growth in our own lives, for if we’re never tested to our limits, how will we know how strong we really are? How will we ever grow?
    6. The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.
    7. The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.
    8. Positive thinking can be contagious. Being surrounded by winners helps you develop into a winner

    Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou might not have dominated on the tennis court or punched her way to unprecedented worldwide glory, but she did help usher in the Civil Rights movement. Her poetry will never move a weight, but it moved a generation. 

    She was eloquent, powerful, and influential. She changed the legal fabric of America forever by working with Martin Luther King and Malcom X. For a number of years, she was a college student, and then eventually an administrator at the University of Ghana. She moved back to America after meeting Malcom X during a brief visit. She picked up her life and moved back to America and helped build the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

    She traveled the world and worked several odd jobs, from dancing and fry cooking to assisting in the decolonization of Africa in Egypt and Ghana. She had to get up out of bed every single day to do insanely hard work over the course of her life. Maya might not be a champion bodybuilder, but her legacy was engraved on the world through herculean effort and dedication that never wavered.

    If she can do all that, you can do maybe one last rep. Let her mind for poetry feed you some motivational quotes. 

    1. Nothing will work unless you do.
    2.  All great achievements require time
    3. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.
    4. If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?
    5. If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
    6. I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it. 

      Michael Jordan

      You might have heard of this guy. If you want some fitness quotes to get you through a particularly grueling set. If you need help meeting your fitness goals you can do worse than following in the footsteps of the greatest Bulls player of all time. 

      Michael Jordan dominated the 90’s. He’s been enshrined in the Basketball and FIBA Halls of Fame. He’s gotten gold in the Olympics in basketball twice, as well as in the ‘83 Pam American Games. He’s one of the only players to have saved the Looney Tunes by stretching his arm all the way across the court at the last possible second. If you had a dollar for each point he’s scored over his lifetime in the NBA you’d have enough cash to buy a pretty decent car. 

      His accolades are relentless. Michael Jordan is a six-time NBA champion, led in steals three ties, and earned NBA scoring champion 10 different times. In 2016 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Anybody that plays basketball professionally will tell you that Michael was the greatest to ever play. 

      1. I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. 
      2. Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.

      You thought we were done? If you haven’t found the right fitness motivation quote we’ve got a few more for you. You don’t have to be Superman to dig deep at the gym. Find a way to keep up the hustle, you could rotate them out as your phone’s wallpaper, or write them as affirmations on your mirror. Wellness starts in your mind, but you’ve got to start your fitness journey and keep at it. 

      1. Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. ― Vince Lombardi Jr.
      2. Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but, because of lack of commitment. – Vince Lombardi
      3. We cannot start over. But we can begin now and make a new ending. —Zig Ziglar
      4. Put all excuses aside and remember this: YOU are capable. – Zig Ziglar
      5. Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t. —Jerry Rice
      6. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. —Wayne Gretzky
      7. If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. —Thomas Jefferson
      8. It’s going to be a journey. It’s not a sprint to get in shape. —Kerri Walsh Jennings
      9. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. —Tony Robbins
      10. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. —Oprah Winfrey
      11. The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. —Tommy Lasorda
      12. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit. —Aristotle
      13. Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you. – John Wooden

      Don’t give up. Growth only comes from overcoming an obstacle. Maybe, you’re tired after a particularly long week. Whether it’s weight loss, an emotional reset at the beginning of the new year, or an attempt at getting out of your comfort zone you’re going to need to keep the ball rolling if you want to stand a chance against yourself. Take care of your body as well as your mind, and you’ll work up an indomitable will. 

      Tomorrow get a good warm-up in and channel these badass motivational fitness quotes.