A Guide to Finding Deep Meaning: Why My Clients Succeed

Do you know what I think when I see a guy who has a body carved out of granite like the guy above? That man has discipline. There is an immediate feeling of respect.

Plenty of guys have muscle, but very few have the abs that they want. We are so desperate to shirk responsibility for this that we allow the charlatans of the fitness industry to kid us we are missing some supplement, ‘bio hack,’ or trendy new training method.

It’s bullshit, and deep down we know it.

  • It takes discipline to go consistently to bed earlier so you can train in the morning without being sleep deprived.
  • It takes discipline to say no to ‘one more’ drink with the boys.
  • It takes discipline to seek out a gym so you can squeeze in a session when you are away from home.
  • It takes discipline to cook more than you eat out so you can fuel your body with what it needs.

Anyone can train hard and eat right for a short while, but where we go wrong is failing to follow through on these actions consistently enough.

But do you know what makes this discipline easier? Defining a deep and powerful reason for why you are chasing your goal in the first place.

This is the one thing that sticks out among the hundreds of people I have worked with that were most successful. Sure, knowing that they need to check in every two weeks helped keep them accountable, but this isn’t the army, I couldn’t force them to do anything. That desire needed to come from within. So that is one thing I make sure that we take time to clearly define before working with people.

If you want to break out of your cycle of frustration, you need to explicitly define your ‘why.’ Here are some examples of the exchanges with clients who decided they would not settle for mediocrity.

Finding meaning in a powerful external motivator

As part of my client intake process for coaching, I give out a fairly detailed questionnaire which helps me to assess compatibility, give a thorough appraisal of their situation and suggestion of what I think they need to do to move towards their goals.

The seventh question concerns the ‘why’ behind the goals they have stated. Why do you want this? Really, why? What will succeeding here mean for you?

Looking back over the years, it is easy to identify that clients with the highest success rates are those that had an external motivating factor. Here are four examples from clients:

  • “I want my wife to look at me the way she once did.”
  • “One day when on tour, the shit will hit the fan. And when that happens I want to be as physically fit as possible because I know the life of one of my fellow marines may depend on it.”
  • “I have a young family but the doctor told me that I am headed for a heart attack. I want to be around for them as a father and husband.”
  • “My son was just born, and I want to be able to play football with him as he grows up.”

Have a think right now if there is a compelling external motivating factor like this in your life.

Finding meaning from within.

Finding an external meaning like those examples above is easier to do when you have a lot of weight to lose or muscle to gain. However, when you have got to the point where you are in ‘good shape,’ perhaps with some blurry abdominal definition, those motivations are no longer potent if your goal is to get shredded lean, which it will become eventually when you raise the bar for yourself. This is where people most often find themselves stuck.

Here are a few examples of how you might dig deeper. These are all real exchanges with clients.

Example 1: Removing doubt

“I want my ex to look at me in six months with eyes of regret for the relationship she threw away by cheating on me.”


“Because screw her!!”

But seriously, why does it matter to your future?

“I don’t ever want the nagging self-doubt that physically not being in shape will be the reason for the break down of any future relationship.”


Example 2: To gain self-respect and the respect of others

“I don’t want to feel self-conscious about taking my shirt off at the beach this summer.”


“Because I’m weak and thin, I train hard but don’t get results and it is embarrassing.”


“I fear that people judge me for it. People with powerful physiques get more instant respect on a subconscious level from people, and I know that this will give me more confidence. Especially when talking to women. This is something I have never had.”


Example 3: Self-mastery

“I want to see my abs for the first time. I haven’t been able to do it yet and not getting there frustrates me.”


“Because I know when I put my mind to something, anything, I can do it. But this one seemingly simple thing that every Instagram fitness idiot is able to do evades me, and that pisses me off.”


“Because I’m smarter than them… Ha, well, you know what, that’s a silly thing to say. But fundamentally, I want to feel that I have power and control over my physique as I do the other areas of my life.”

^ This is my favorite.


Have a think about why you want to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Ask yourself why again and again, until you can’t dig any deeper. Tell me in the comments, I would love to hear. And if you would like to work together this new year, as of right now I have eight client spaces available and you can apply here.

– Andy

About the Author

Andy Morgan

Hi, I'm Andy, co-author of 'The Muscle and Strength Pyramid' textbooks and founder of RippedBody.com. This site is my sincere effort to build the best nutrition and training guides on the internet. Some readers hire me to coach them, which I've been doing full-time, online, for the last seven years. If you're interested in individualized, one-on-one coaching to help you crush your physique goals, let's start the conversation. (You can read more about Andy here.)


  1. Gabo says:

    To me that external motivation is what drives you to make that final decision for the long term. I was also headed to genetic predisposed heart disease, having a son really made me want to care of myself for sure.

    Internal motivation is what drives me every day, looking forward to my food, my training session, and even on days off just staying off my ass. Discipline is hard when you don’t have a daily motivation, as little as that may be, and often times I find it while drinking coffee with my wife in the morning (our daily ritual) talking about being grateful of anything in particular.

    Life is to be enjoyed, stereotyped as it sounds, and improving your lifestyle with nutrition and training to attain a goal shouldn’t feel like a struggle, while certainly not too easy.

    Good read Andy, thanks for taking the time to write this. Really appreciated.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Most welcome and thank you for sharing, Gabo. 🙂 Hope you reach and surpass your goals this year!

  2. John says:

    This is what I was looking for when I asked you about losing motivation. This. Motivation starts you on the path. But motivation is fleeting as I have found out several times. Discipline keeps you consistent. Thank you for showing me this.

    1. Andy Morgan says:

      Most welcome, John.

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