Ask Rocco: 09/01

The best motivation to start exercising

By Rocco Castellano

I get asked this question many times a year. It’s become one of my staple questions in my FAQs.

“What is the best motivation to help me start exercising?”

As you know, I’m not really a big fan of drone-like, repetitive, same-thing-every-other-day stupid shit. One thing I can’t stand is monotony; it drives me crazy. I can understand the uninformed and semi-stupid needing go to the gym and do the same thing over and over and over again because they don’t know any better.

Many have to go to places like Planet Fitness where it looks like an army of fat cyborgs is doing marching drills on treadmills—not very motivational. That’s the problem; most people think that is the only way to exercise. Be bored to death, hate every minute of your so-called workout, leave in a rush and get home to the kids, husband or just a glass of wine as a reward for not cutting someone’s head off.

Motivation has much more to do with understanding, acceptance and discipline than anything else. If you understand that your body has to move in order to stay healthy, strong and productive, that’s the first step. The acceptance of these facts coupled with knowing that you are not at your best, and in all honesty you’re probably not even close to your best, is the second step. If you have never known discipline, determination or follow through than you will fail every f–king time.

Step three: grab ahold of some discipline. If you have never had it, don’t try it when considering a fitness or weight loss program—you will fail miserably and be all frustrated and a big cry baby. I’m going to work backwards in the three steps I just laid out just to build a bit of a foundation.

Discipline is the key to becoming motivated. There is no motivation without resolution.

In order to resolve or get results, you need to finish, reach a goal or be consistent enough to see your way clear to the intended result. That does not come naturally to Americans, especially those in the Midwest. If it did, you wouldn’t have to read my column—you’d already know what to do. So let’s go outside our so-called great country and see what a healthy environment looks like.

If you ever have a chance to visit Norway, please do. The average Norwegian grows up in an environment that is healthy and naturally slimming. Norway has a 5.8 percent obesity rate compared to our 30 percent, making it the slimmest country in the developed world. What motivates them? Nothing. They grow up eating smaller portions, in-season produce, grains, meats and soups. The average Norwegian doesn’t own a car and bikes or walks to where they have to go. It’s in their bones—so to speak—to move under their own propulsion.

So when I’m asked about motivation I always wonder if there had ever been any discipline, or learned consistency. If there is not, then very rarely is there any ability to be motivated. When I was a kid, I had no discipline—which resulted in no motivation. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was just doing whatever the f–k I wanted… mostly getting into trouble. As I got older I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere and there was really nowhere to go. I wound up doing a stint in jail and after reading nearly 50 books during my stint, several of them talked about discipline and how to understand what it really means to be “disciplined.” Motivation is created through discipline.

When I explain discipline or the ability to create a motivated individual, I often get that deer caught in the headlights or eyes glazed over look because most people think I’m talking in riddles. So in order to lessen the confusion I’m going to spell it out for you with a little homework—just in time for back to school.

Make a list of four things that you have a hard time doing.

When I first started this I had a hard time flossing my teeth, making my bed, eating a “real” breakfast and reconciling my checkbook. Every one of those things annoyed the shit out of me to do and when they weren’t done. That was my first list. I put it on a chalkboard in my kitchen. So, everyday I knew that I had to at least get those four things done. When they were completed I wrote a line on the chalkboard. If I forgot to do it, no line. Pretty easy, right?

The visualization with the cumulative effect of the many lines showed what I had done. Now it gave me “motivation” to do better. If in two weeks I only flossed my teeth 10 times, made my bed eight times, ate a real breakfast (eggs, toast, melon and juice) and my check register only had four debits in it, I could see it and became motivated to floss my teeth more, come home to a made bed more often and so on and so on. This little exercise will help you discover what really motivates you while you develop discipline and consistency. You need to start somewhere before you even think about taking on a life-changing transformation. Weight loss and fitness can beat you to the ground mentally if you don’t build a foundation of discipline.


The views and opinions expressed in Ask Rocco are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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