The Source and Structure of Inspiration
What motivates and inspires you in life?
While motivation is something that you feel inside, inspiration is taken from an outside source and is something that compels you to take action. And while having a motive, or reason to do something, or finding inspiration to lead you to that motive are both helpful tools for accomplishing your goals, there's got to be something else that gets you through the times when those two forces don't quite cut it.
Listen above or check out the video (with transcript) below to learn:
Why you can't just rely solely on motivation and inspiration if you want to reach your goals
2 Key Tools to use when inspiration isn't enough
What James calls “The Constant” and how it separates those that DO from those that wish
James Grage: Welcome to another episode of the Under the Sun podcast where we talk about everything under the sun, fitness, nutrition, training, motivation, a little bit of business mixed in there. So today's topic is actually going to be a little bit of motivation, more about inspiration. I figure the sometimes the easiest topics to talk about are some of the things that I'm going through, some of the things that are running through my head, how I'm trying to keep myself motivated, what my goals are, et cetera. So I just got back from a trip to LA, with Javier Hernandez from inline photography, who's got a studio space right next to mine. He's the one who helps me with all the youtube content that you guys see. So any of the instructional videos, he's the man behind the camera. And, uh, so he flew out with me to LA and we went and visited a good friend of mine.
James Grage: His name is Aaron Williamson. He's..I guess you'd call him a celebrity trainer out there in Hollywood. He's got a pretty, pretty cool story. He was a marine, came back from a serving and just kind of went through a really tough time, a combination of a post-traumatic stress disorder, just, uh, acclimating back to civilian life and was a hard adjustment and went from sleeping in his car in New Orleans and training at a gym and decided he needed something to pull him out of it. He needed some sort of inspiration. And so there was a local bodybuilding show called Mr. New Orleans. So if you won the show, that was the title you had, the Mr. New Orleans. And even though the show had been going on, no one had really claimed that title of Mr. New Orleans. So he was looking for that source of inspiration.
James Grage: And so he decided that he was going to enter this show. This was his first-ever bodybuilding show. It never competed before, but he decided he needed something that he could sink his teeth into. So for anyone who's ever competed before and knows what it's like to prep for a show, the amount of focus and dedication, commitment that it takes, and you're managing your nutrition and going to the gym. And, uh, it's a lot. It's a big commitment. So now imagine doing that or sleeping in your car. And that's exactly what Aaron did. So, long story short, fast forward, he actually wins the show and starts working on, I don't know for any of you know, much about New Orleans, but it's got a lot of, uh, let's call it, uh, you know, Hollywood there, there's a lot of movies that are filmed, their TV shows, et cetera.
James Grage: So he took the initiative, went and kind of guerrilla-style, started placing information. He printed out some cards and he went to all the places where all these people in, in the movie business would hang out. And he started promoting himself. Someone who was ex-military, he was in a train, Mr. New Orleans, et cetera. Long story short, he ends up training Zac Efron for a role. It was a movie they were shooting there and New Orleans and uh, met other people, met, um, you know, directors. So then he moves out to LA, he ends up training people like Jamie Foxx, The Rock, Sylvester Stallone. Uh, you name it, J K Simmons. I don't know if he, you guys saw that was something that went kind of viral with J K Simmons where seemed like it was maybe a year and a half ago. Uh, there was this picture of him that floated around all around the media of him getting super ripped. So that was, uh, working with Aaron. So anyway, Aaron and I are good friends and I've been trying to get him involved with Undersun gradually, which kind of have a funny story because I said, hey man, you know, during this whole thing with the resistance bands, let me send you some. And he's like, yeah, okay, sure, no problem. By the way, let me flip the screen around here on Instagram. Apparently I'm filming nobody.
James Grage: Cool. Sorry about that. I wasn't paying attention. I had Instagram shooting the opposite way anyway. So I send them out this pair of bands and you know, he was Kinda like, Hey, yeah, sure, cool, cool. And I know exactly what happened. The bands ended up just like sitting in his closet and it's not that he was totally disinterested. He, I think he just really didn't think much of it. Like, all right, you know, it's resistance bands..cool! You know, Aaron's a pretty hardcore gym guy. He likes going in there, you know, training with dumbbells, barbells, et cetera. So it wasn't until the reason visit that I went out there and we caught a workout that all of a sudden it opened up his eyes. It's like, oh my God, this is amazing. I love training with resistance bands. But it took that first workout for him to get there.
James Grage: So anyway, a day after he started using resistance bands, started taking them in to train with some of his clients, some of his celebrity clients, and everyone was really gravitating towards these like, wow, he's like, people are really digging this. So long story short, he's excited about it. So decided, hey, let me go back out there to LA and let's, let's shoot a bunch of content. Let's, uh, you know, just go out there and you know, workout with different people, et cetera. So I was just out there, like I said, I brought a Javier from Inline Photography out there with me. So we caught a bunch of photos and images and when I was out there, Aaron had gotten in super good shape. Who's since my last trip out there. He had gotten really, really lean because he was looking forward to doing these photos and videos and that was that little bit extra motivation he needed to take his diet to the next level.
James Grage: So kind of the common thread here and where I'm going with this whole thing is finding a source of inspiration, right. So you go back to Aaron's, sleeping in his car, homeless. What was that inspiration? Well, that was getting ready for the Mr. New Orleans show. Now, you know, getting in shape this time. What was his inspiration was having this goal of being in really good shape for these photos and for these videos. And it made me think that I'm always searching for the same thing. Like I don't rely on inspiration to get me into my workouts and to, to eat and to kind of stay in that groove because inspiration is fleeting, right It comes in and goes, uh, matter of fact out there on the trip, one of the people we worked out with was a, uh, a guy named Michael Beach. If you guys Google him, you'll recognize his face.
James Grage: He was just recently in Aquaman. He's had a long career in Hollywood. So we went over to his house, we caught a cool workout, and he said something that was so true. He was kinda comparing motivation with your workouts, with love and relationship, and basically saying that being in love is not going to carry you through because there's going to be those times where you're going to want to club the other person over the head. And, you're not always gonna feel so in love all the time. So there's gotta be something else that gets you through those times, those lows, let's call it now. It's the same thing over with your fitness. You can't rely on inspiration and quote-unquote motivation all the time because same thing, it's fleeting. So you have to have structure and that's kind of what evens out the highs and the lows.
James Grage: And that's going to be your discipline. It's going to be the habits that you form. And that's why I always say that it's really important to try to get into a groove. Habits are only formed when you do the same thing the same way over and over and over, and pretty soon it starts to become automatic. You don't have to put the time and energy thinking about it and that's when he starts to form these habits. And that's what even when I fall into a low, like a low point, my low isn't as low as I can go and that's because I catch myself like the habit of just going to the gym and at least eating halfway healthy when I do fall into that low, like I said, it's not the snowball where it just like continues to roll down because momentum works both ways.
James Grage: There's good momentum. You can start to build good momentum. Things happen, you achieve small goals and you start to build that kind of, you know, confidence and it starts to take over. But the same thing happens the opposite way. If you start to slip on your nutrition plan and it goes one day and then you're like, ah, you know, okay, maybe I'll get together tomorrow and the next day you don't and eat something else that you don't like. And pretty soon you say, Oh, you know what I give up. And it just like starts to unravel. So it's important to have some sort of safety net, so to speak, to catch yourself so you don't fall into that low low. And to me, that's habit. So even the worst workout is better than no workout is the way I look at it. So even if I just go in and get a workout and I stay in my routine and I stay consistent, it doesn't matter how good that workout is, I still went and I still maintain the habit.
James Grage: So that's more of like, you know, the constant, that's the glue that holds everything together between the highs and the lows. But with that being said, if you want to achieve really great results, it doesn't matter what you're doing. If this is business, if this is your fitness goal, so let's say it's, you know, you want to get your, your act together with your nutrition inspiration is still important. So even though you can't rely on it, you always have to look for it. And so we talked about Aaron, well in the process of me going out there, I actually found a little bit of inspiration because I went out there shooting videos next to Aaron and he's in much better shape than I was. So that was kind of like a little kick in the pants for me to want to go ahead and step up my game, which actually the timing on it's really good.
James Grage: We just launched last week, the new nutrition plan on undersunfitness.com it's called TA@ LEAN BUILD. This is the nutrition plan that when I'm on my game that I follow and even when I'm not on my game, it's still loosely the exact same concept. But I've just been really busy with a lot of things and kind of juggling a lot of things. And so I haven't been putting the same amount of intensity or energy into my workouts and certainly haven't put the same amount of, let's call it focus or energy into getting really dialed in with my nutrition. So I think it's actually a really good time in here wanting to get back in shape. Having launched, launched the new nutrition plan, uh, and plus we're also within the private group, so on the under sun fitness private group, which if you bought any of the TA2 workout plans or the brand new TA2 nutrition plan or bought one of the UNDERSUN sets of resistance bands that you can get invited into that group.
James Grage: And within that group we're actually doing a little 90 day challenge, uh, just to keep, keep ourselves on track and to find that little bit of it, you know, extra inspiration, like wanting to get in shape, whatever, you know, your end goal is saying, hey, I want to drop 10 pounds or I want to drop two inches off my waist, or whatever that goal is. Sometimes it's nice to have just that little extra something that inspires you because you're gonna find a lot of motivation within that to push yourself that little extra bit. And sometimes that's what it takes. You know, when I was a kid, my mom always told me, and this is something that I've really lived my life by and I think it's one of the things that's really helped me, especially in business, helped me when I was competing in bodybuilding.
James Grage: And that is the difference is in the details, most people will take something 85-90% of the way and they'll say that's good enough. And so if you think about it, if you're willing to go that extra 10 to 15% that's what then separates you from everybody else. If everyone else has stopping at 85-90 and you go all the way to a hundred you've separated yourself and let's face it, it doesn't matter what you're doing, if you want to stand out, you have to separate yourself. If you want to win a bodybuilding show, what is the difference between fifth place and first place A lot of times it's not much. So it's the person who trained just a little bit harder. They did a little bit more cardio, they cheated less on their, their nutrition strategy. They just went the extra mile. And you know, that's usually my best advice for anyone that wants to, uh, achieve something or excel at something.
James Grage: It's go the extra mile. But, uh, you know, sometimes it's not easy to go the extra mile when you don't feel like it. You're tired and you got a lot of different things going on, you have other priorities. So what is it that's going to push you to really, you know, put that extra bit of energy into it. And for me it usually takes some sort of inspiration. Uh, and that's why I'm always choosing a goal for myself. Anyone who's ever followed, uh, my youtube content, I've done different things. I, I think it was probably about two years ago. I did the Arnold Classic, uh, went ahead and I'd never done physique before. Years, years ago I did bodybuilding. Uh, but I was just looking for some inspiration. I just wanted to push myself and challenge myself and get excited about something. And so that's why I did the show.
James Grage: It wasn't about winning the show. Uh, it wasn't even so much about competing. It was just, again, it was something to get excited about. So, you know, that's my best advice for you is you got to find this balance on one side of the structure, the discipline, the habit, because that's what's going to create the consistency that you need. That's gotta be your foundation. But then on top of it, you've got to find that bit of inspiration. And again, that inspiration's not enough to make you do it day in and day out. That's where the habit comes from. But the inspiration is certainly going to help you go that extra mile, which is what you need if you're looking to really achieve something. Great. So long story short, a first day back after La, uh, which by the way, it's really weird out here and in Florida right now, we were very, very fortunate that a hurricane Dorian went up.
James Grage: The coast missed us. Um, you know, my heart goes out to everyone in the islands and The Bahamas. They've just taken a really bad beating. Uh, so again, my heart goes out to them and everyone in south Florida needs to feel very, very fortunate because that could've been us. But long story short, it's really quiet here. Uh, no one in the streets, uh, just very, very still outside. But uh, so today just getting back in the groove, I am going to go put my grocery list together and nick is going to do the program with me. So she's going to do a 90-day challenge along with me. Uh, anyone who's interested in doing this, we're actually all gonna start tomorrow and I know this is really last minute and that's only because we didn't really plan on doing this challenge. Uh, our main goal was just getting the nutrition plan launched, but we said, hey, wouldn't be cool to go ahead and do something.
James Grage: I, you know, like I said, give people that little extra goal, something to work towards. The reason we started right away is we want to finish it up before thanksgiving. That was the big reason we would have waited a little bit longer to give people time to prepare. But let's face it, most people don't want to diet through Thanksgiving through the holidays. So with that being said, uh, starting tomorrow, I wasn't originally planning on doing it, but you know, coming back from this La trip, I've found that a little bit inspiration. So tonight I'm going to go through and they can, are going to put our grocery lists together, which by the way, in the nutrition plan there is a grocery list. So there's grocery lists, there's videos on recipes. Uh, it's very comprehensive. So if you're interested in joining us, all you have to do is go to the under sun fitness.com website, go to training programs in the dropdown you'll see ta to lean build, click on that, purchase the program.
James Grage: Once you purchase the program, you will be invited into the group, the private group. And you also get invited into this competition if you're interested. So if that's something you want to do, make sure you do that today. And you know, I'm going to be posting within that private group, my, uh, my progress pics. Matter of fact, you know, uh, going to do all my measurements, et Cetera, do that today. So like I said, so as a nick, we'll post that in there. You know, Kinda need it right now. I wouldn't say that I'm out of shape, but I'm not in the shape that I want to be in. Uh, the whole goal of this program is, is a lean build program, meaning to put on lean muscle mass without putting on fat. The reality is I'm probably not going to put on any more muscle than I already have.
James Grage: I mean, let's face, I've been training for 29 years. The kind of reaches a point where you reach a plateau. So for me, my goal within this is to maintain lean muscle mass as I get leaner because I'm just at a point now where I would much rather be a little bit leaner, uh, less muscle mass then the way I used to feel, which was I rather carry more muscle and didn't carry care as much about being lean. So I really just don't care about, you know, maintaining a lot of size. I'd like to try to maintain as much as I have a way right now, just a hair under 180 pounds when I really, really feel my best. I'm probably about one 76 and a little bit leaner. So it'll be interesting to see body composition change. I don't know what my lean body mass is right now, but for anyone out there who wants to do this program, just know that one of the things about it that wanted to do was to simplify things.
James Grage: In preparation for any kind of nutrition strategy in the past. I like going through the process of calculating body fat and lean body mass and, chloric requirement and then the macro breakdown. But for most people that becomes really daunting. That's a lot to do. Uh, so one is something that is really simple. So we've eliminated the need to do any of that, eliminated the need for weighing your food and measuring your food. So it's really, really simple to, uh, to follow. And I think that's the key to sustainability, which is the key to consistency, which is the key to results. So that was what the program was based around a, and that's actually how I, I do my own nutrition. I do not weigh my food anymore. Once upon a time I used to, I don't weigh it, I don't measure it with measuring cups.
James Grage: It is, but I do measure it and so there's an easy reference point which I just to give you a little clue is actually your own hand and think about it. The size of your hand is usually relative to the size of your body. So it makes for a nice reference point when it comes to portioning like, okay, I want something that is the size of my palm or I want a protein source the size of my hand. So very, very simple to, to measure your portions, which is one of the challenges that a lot of people have because when something gets really complicated, I, you may be able to follow it for a short period of time. But after a while there, there's a bit of, let's call it fatigue that sets in, you get worn out by it, it gets old. Uh, and that's when we have a tendency to fall off.
James Grage: So my ultimate goal for this is to create something that is easy to follow long term because that's ultimately what we're all trying to do is create a lifestyle here. It's not just about getting in great shape because what's the point of getting in great shape only to get out of shape again, isn't the goal to get in great shape and stay in great shape. And it'd be like in business saying, well, I want to make a bunch of money and you work really, really hard to earn a bunch of money, but then you lose it. All right What's the point The goal is to go ahead and, you know, be able to make this something that's sustainable. So that's the vote with the plan. So that's what a, what I'm going to be doing here tonight is getting myself prepped for that. I will be, like I said, posting within the under Sun private group.
James Grage: So if you're not part of that private group, and you have purchased the TA2 program, uh, one of either the TA2 build a training program or the TA2 body shock program or the brand new ta to lean build nutrition plan. So make sure you join that group, jump on this challenge. It'd be fun. We do have some prizes in there as well for a top three finishers, just as a little extra incentive. Uh, but most importantly, it's just for all of us to be able to support each other and our goals. And that's one of the other things that, uh, we don't talk a lot about, but it's important to have a support network. It's important to have people that are in your corner behind you, rooting you on. Because let's face it, we don't always get that from the people around us.
James Grage: Sometimes let's say that you're into changing, but your friends are, it's really difficult sometimes for them to be able to support you in your goal and say, you know, hey, I get it. You don't want to go out for beer and chicken wings. Uh, but a lot of times inadvertently they put that social pressure on you, like, come on, just hang out, come on, let's do it. So, you know, it's important to find people who are trying to accomplish the same thing that you're trying to accomplish because that's a lot of times also where you're going to find that inspiration. Again, going back to going out there and hanging out with Aaron, seeing him get committed or recommitted to his fitness goals and to get back in great shape motivated me. So it's important, you know, not just with fitness but again with business or even in a social setting, like be really cautious who you surround yourself with because it's really important.
James Grage: It has a major impact on, on everything in our lives. So that's the purpose of this group is to find a, or not just find, create a very positive environment where we're all have similar goals and we're supporting and encouraging each other. So that's ultimately the point of it. Especially with social media being kind of a nasty place. Sometimes I want to create a safe environment where people can ask questions. If this is their first time doing a nutrition plan, they can jump on there and say, hey, you know, I'm struggling with this or I have a question about that. And they feel comfortable posting that up there without someone criticizing them because let's face it, there's plenty of criticism thereon in social media. So that's one of the things that we're very protective of in the group. Making sure that there's none of that, that it's all positive and I think the world needs more of that right now.
James Grage: But, so anyway, that's all, this wasn't a, it wasn't a ton of, thought that went into this podcast other than sharing with you guys what's on my mind right now and what I'm doing to try to go ahead and motivate myself to get in great shape. And you know, it's a, it's sometimes difficult when you have a lot of things going on and right now I have a lot of things going on, juggling a lot of things. And so it's not always easy to put that kind of time and energy into your training and nutrition if you're not inspired. So definitely find something that inspires you and, like I said, maybe join this group. You might find someone else in there who's got similar goals and is out there already doing and maybe might find some inspiration in that.
James Grage: But I appreciate you guys. I know this was a short one. Uh, but moving forward, I'm trying to keep these down to about 30 minutes anyway. I'd rather have this be short, uh, useful information instead of kind of droning on and on, which I have a tendency to do sometimes a little bit wordy. But, uh, like I said, appreciate you guys and I will see you guys. I just saw a question here, how to join the group. So if you've purchased the nutrition plan or one of the TA2 training programs, you'll get an invitation into that private group. And actually you can even search for it on Facebook, look for it. You can request an invitation as well. So that's one of the easiest things. If you buy one of the programs, just go into the Facebook group and request an invitation. So I will see you guys next week, 12:00 PM eastern time on Tuesday.
James Grage: So have an awesome week. Hopefully, you guys join me on this nutrition plan. Let's get in awesome shape here as a finish the year strong, like everyone waits and waits for January 1st New Year's resolutions to get in shape. But why not finish off the year super strong and go into the new year with all this momentum and feel great and already be accomplishing your goals. That's a much better way to start your goal or to start your year, uh, as opposed to the way everybody else does it. And let's face it, if that way worked, you'd see more people accomplishing their new year's resolutions, but statistically you don't. Matter of fact, I did a podcast on once upon a time about it, on the, about the statistics of New Year's resolutions. But anyway, I'll see you guys soon.