Why You Don’t Need Self-discipline for Bodybuilding

Have you ever vowed to loose belly fat or commit to your bodybuilding program or stop binge eating or change whatever, only for you to find yourself reverting back to your old habits within a few days?

Of course you have. We all have.

At first glance, you’d think your problem is lack of “self-discipline“, but that’s not it.

Ok, so you’re probably thinking now, “Eh?! What do you mean that’s not it? If I had self-discipline to loose belly fat I would’ve resisted binge eating by devouring that box of donuts! Or I would’ve done my bodybuilding workout 4x a week instead of 4x a year!

That’s what I thought before as well – until something happened and I “got” it.

Let me explain.

You see, I used to be the ultimate example of a person with absolutely no self-discipline. I wanted to loose belly fat but I had dessert after every meal. I wanted to stop binge eating but I did it every evening. I had ambitions to lose weight and build muscle but I just didn’t have the ability to stick to my guns and follow through.

I was convinced I was a total loser.

Deep inside I dreaded that I was going to stay fat and unhealthy and unfit and unattractive forever. I realized that until I changed my ways for good, I’d never feel good about myself. I was strongly horrified at the thought of this, but I continued to struggle, especially on the losing-weight-build-muscle side.

One day I heard a simple anecdote.

It was about a young man who travelled far and wide to seek the counsel of the wisest sage in his time.

“Tell me how I can become great,” the young lad pleaded.

“Follow me,” and the Sage led the young man to the river.

They kept on walking until they were submerged waist-deep in the river’s water.

“Now go under the water and keep your head down until I tell you to surface,” the wise Sage instructed.

Although hesitant, the young man followed the instruction. The Sage had the reputation of being the wisest man alive, so he must have been on to something.

Soon enough, the young man started to run out of air and resurfaced, but the Sage put his hand over the boy’s head and prevented him from coming up. They struggled against each other until the young man managed to overpower the Sage.


“Do you see now? If you want something bad enough… if you want to achieve something as if your  life depended on it – then nothing can stand in your way, young man.”

The penny dropped for me then.

That was it!

It’s NOT self-discipline you need, it’s Motivation! When you’re motivated – when you want something BAD ENOUGH because you have a reason strong and powerful and meaningful enough, you will do anything and everything in your power to get it! Nothing could ever stand between you and your goal!  You’ll do whatever is necessary, and you’ll keep doing it until you succeed. You’ll continue to fight for it until you reach your end; nothing else will cross your mind but your one true goal.

The problem is that self-discipline, for most people – feels like forcing themselves to do something, that’s why it doesn’t feel good. With self-discipline, you’re doing something that you actually dislike, or something to which you have attached various negative labels.

Trying to be self-disciplined  is such a draining thing to do because you’re literally at war within yourself, torn between two conflicting desires and seemingly conflicting selves- and often it’s the lazy part of you who wins and you end up feeling terrible because of that!

Now think about it.

When the young man in the story started struggling for air, did he procrastinate? Did he make excuses about why he shouldn’t come out of the water? Did he have to psyche himself up to get some air? Did he try to surface above water half-heartedly? Did he have to weigh the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of getting air in his lungs?

Of course not! He just DID it!

The same goes for you. You will continue to struggle and have a battle going on inside you between your 2 selves – until you reconcile these 2 conflicting desires and just choose one.

Ask what’s more important to you: the short-term pleasure of eating that ice cream, or the long-term pleasure of having the best body you’ve always dreamed of?

So you see, self discipline is merely a by-product of a strong Motivation. When you are motivated, you are naturally “disciplined”;

When you are motivated, you just do whatever is going to move you closer to your goals without debating about it or even thinking about it;

When you are motivated, your actions just flow because inside you, there are no conflicting desires or thoughts that are clamouring to win;

When you are strongly motivated, everything you do are consistent to your highest aspirations;

When you’re motivated, you just frigging DO IT! Other options or alternatives don’t even occur to you- at all.

That’s what it means to be single-minded:  in your mind, you have one (and only one) option, and nothing else matters.

So goals like “bodybuilding”, “lose weight”, “loose belly fat” – actually becomes super EASY because things flow more smoothly when you’re motivated.

But how do you get yourself to that state of mind?

How do you get yourself MOTIVATED?

Ahhh now you’re talkin’!

Ready to get yourself motivated? Here’s How -> Read the “Body Builders Guide to Becoming Motivated and Unstoppable” <-


Founder & Fitness Nerd

Founder of Muscle4Hardgainers. Loves to experiment and teach others the best ways to reach their physical goals.

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