Mind Over Matter: How To Stay Motivated During Strongman Training

Watching competitors at the World’s Strongest Man, it’s tough not to ask how in the hell these men and women managed to achieve such a level of strength. Are they using a special training program that no one else knows about? What is in their diet that is supporting their power?

Sure, training and diet are important, but the fuel behind the fire comes from motivation. Let’s take a look at the most important form of motivation, why it’s important, and how you can achieve it.


The highest level of motivation you can achieve is intrinsic motivation. This is the type of motivation that is basely exclusively on enjoyment and passion. You aren’t driven by some external reward; you love Strongman training for the sake of the training itself. When you step inside that weight room, you feel like you’re in a second home; you feel like you belong.


This level of motivation is essential because Strongman training goes beyond your typical workout where you lift passively for 30 minutes and then head home. Strongman training requires a great deal of commitment. You’ll have a very aggressive training schedule followed by a calorie-packed diet plan. You’re guaranteed to be eating more than anyone in your household.

Most importantly, due to the difficult nature of Strongman training – pushing yoke sleds, hugging big stones, and carrying logs – being intrinsically motivated will keep you going even after your most disappointing workouts.

If you’re not sure of the difference between Strongman and Powerlifting, check out our article.


Intrinsic motivation is the never-ending fuel that keeps the fire going and pushes you to train. Here is how you can reach a level of intrinsic motivation and continue to stay motivated.


You chose Strongman training for a reason. What is it? Why were you naturally drawn to Strongman training and not a yoga class? Determining your “why?” is the first step to reaching a level of intrinsic motivation that is unshakable. A few questions to ask yourself to help you discover why you started Strongman training:

  • What is it about Strongman training that made me interested in it?
  • How do I feel during training?
  • What is my ultimate goal with Strongman training?


Continuing with the last point above, once you have locked in your reasons for being passionate about Strongman training, it’s time to write down your goals.

Taking the time to write down your Strongman training goals can help to put you on a path with a destination. Too often, you see guys and girls in the gym who are going through the motions. They have no end goal in mind so their workouts and results reflect this.

What are your Strongman training goals? Do you want to enter a Strongman competition? Do you want to set a new personal best in three Strongman-style events? Be specific with your goals. Once you write them down, work backward to see what you need to do to reach your destination.

For starters, this will mean creating progressive overload workouts over several months, designing a recovery-focused nutrition program, and getting your hands on the right equipment.


This might be a popular practice for those self-help gurus, but it works, so we’re jumping on board:

Write on a Post-It note or 3 x 5 index card a specific Strongman training goal and how you’ll feel once you achieve it. Now post that goal and feeling in a place where you’ll see it multiple times a day such as in your car, the front door, or your bathroom mirror.

This is a technique that has been used by motivational speakers for the last several decades. If it’s still being recommended, there must be some madness to the method. The idea is to always have your goal in your mind, which will act as a constant source of motivation.


We aren’t doubting that you can achieve great things on your own, but research shows that when you hang out with like-minded people, you’re more likely to accomplish or surpass your goals. This happens for a few reasons:

First, you’ll have a strong and knowledgeable support system. CrossFit is an excellent example of this. For those beginners interested in Strongman, having those people around you who are more experienced can set you on the fast track to learning proper technique and lifting hacks. Most importantly, the more experienced lifters will be there to lift you when you are feeling like throwing in the towel.

Second, competition is a powerful driving factor. If you’re lifting alone or with people that are weaker than you, there will always be a limit to how far you’ll go. When you become the weakest link in the chain, you’ll push yourself harder than ever before just to keep up. You might remain in last place, but you will progress more than you ever would walking the lonely Strongman path.

Finally, friendship and social interaction are essential to recovery. Research shows that you’re more likely to recover and perform better when you are a more social person.


Even the most dedicated people in every sport, career, and activity eventually experience periods of doubt. It is okay and to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up if you start to doubt whether Strongman training is for you. Instead, take a week off. During that time, focus on recovery with a sports massage, proper nutrition, and time with friends.

Above all, take some time to revisit our first tip: Find Your Passion. Going through these questions will help you to remember why you started this journey, and it should help to reignite that desire to train.