Steal These: 12 Philly Fitness Pros Share Their Go-To Motivational Mantras

Tuesdays are hard: The joy of the weekend has worn off and the next weekend is still so. Far. Away. In fact, a LOT of life is the kind of hard that makes you want to hide in the crease of your couch with a pint of Little Baby’s ice cream in hand and forget about responsibilities and goals and hygiene.

What I tell myself to get through days that feel tougher than others (quite embarrassingly) is something I heard one of Rev Run’s teenaged sons say on the radio like six years ago: “Do your best, forget the rest.” It has gotten me through many a grueling day and many a grueling workout.

But that might not work for everyone, so to round up some more tried-and-true motivational mantras, I reached out to the folks who motivate others for a living — Philly fitness pros, of course. Here, 12 fitness trainers, group-run leaders and yoga instructors dish on what they say to themselves when they need an extra push to get through life, whether that’s during a killer workout class or during a tear-inducing day. Soak up their wisdom below (they shared a whopping 29 mantras with us in total) then scribble what speaks to you down onto a Post-It note and keep it close for your next breakdown. We all have them, right?

Juliet Sabella, The Wall Cycling Studio
“A big thing that gets me through a lot — workouts, when I want to cry at work, or at new parenting, and just when I’m down — is ‘You get what you focus on.’ Focus on the negative, you’re only going to see the negative and get negative results. Focus on what is positive at the time and you’ll realize you’re doing better than you give yourself credit for.”

Adriana Adelé, Three Queens Yoga
“My favorite mantra is a very affirmative ‘I got this’ with no questions asked and no follow-up doubts. When I really need to push through, my mantra has to be short and sweet. Hey, if it worked for Laurie Hernandez before her Olympic beam routine, it should work for me.”

“‘Nevertheless, she persisted’ is something I’ll write down in my weekly planner every now and again as a reminder of all the trailblazers who’ve had to persist through a lot more than a hard workout or crappy day at the office.

“Then there’s ‘Imma keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves’ from Beyoncé’s song ‘Freedom.’ To be honest, this isn’t my favorite Beyoncé line, but it comes in handy when I feel like I’m about to quit. And if my inner voice isn’t motivating enough, blasting ‘Freedom’ through my headphones usually does the trick.”

Liz Pagonis, Philadelphia Runner
“One, ‘This — whatever you’re going through or running or up against — is tough but I am tougher.’ Two, ‘I think I can’ … just like the little engine. Three, ‘Feet fail me not.’ This is Eminem and I’m not really sure how this entered my line up of mantras but it helps!”

Osayi Osunde, Fit Academy
“Excuse my language but this is probably my number one thing I tell myself during tough times in life: ‘This shit will never be, and has never been, given to you. You better go EARN IT.’”

Anna Greenwald, On the Goga
“I have two personal mantras I repeat to myself almost every day. This first is ‘Value courage, not success.’ When I’m approaching any task — a yoga pose, a big project with work, daily to-dos — it’s easy to get paralyzed by the idea of needing to get it right, or succeeding. When I focus on what I’m doing needing to be perfect or extremely well received, the fear of failure can often stop me from even getting started. Therefore, I try to value courage over success, even in the littlest things. Courage is something I can practice, success isn’t. Am I going to fall out of this yoga pose? Probably. That’s okay. It scares me, and I’m doing it anyway. That’s practice, and that’s what’s going to lead to awesome things.

“The second is ‘The difference between the people who do cool shit and the people who don’t is that the people who do cool shit do it.’ Kind of in the same way as the last one, but basically it’s easy to look around at all the cool stuff that’s being created in the world, or the wonderful things people are doing — from people running marathons to people creating amazing businesses — and think ‘I don’t know if I can do that.’ But, when it comes down to it, action is always the differentiator. Amazing piano players? They sit down and practice piano. Crazy Instagram yogis? They’ve clocked serious hours. Most things in the world that we admire are the result of skills. Skills are the result of practice. So, when I’m wondering if I can do something, I look at the people I admire and think ‘The only thing between me and them is just doing it.’ Circle back to the ‘Value courage, not success’ mantra, and you can literally practice anything you want, and after a lot of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ practice, you find that you’re now the one doing the cool shit.”

Katie Costalas, RippedPHL
“My absolute favorite thing to think about is ‘Sometimes life is about risking it all for a dream nobody can see but you.’  Sometimes looking inward on those rough days or at the end of a workout is the push I need to get through those extra difficult times. Nothing provides more motivation than turning inward and finding that strength.”

Daniel Cordua, Palo Santo Wellness Boutique
“This is my mantra when things get tough, when I get into my head too much and forget to lead with my heart.  This is also my mantra when I feel the opposite — when I feel most connected, most aligned, and most full of love: ‘Sat, Chit, Ananda,’ which is Sanskrit. It means that even when we don’t feel it or it seems to elude us, we are all full of ‘Truth, Knowledge, and Bliss.’ Sounds kinda epic right?  That’s why I love it so much. Behind all my actions, big and small, and beyond the perceived limitations my body and mind might have at a given time, there is a much larger undercurrent — that of real knowing, of truth, and of the most bountiful bliss … that of spirit!”

Mariel Freeman, Three Queens Yoga
“This is some of the stuff I tell myself on the regular: ‘What would your eulogy say?’ ‘Be the change;’ Be yourself;’ ‘Be the you you have yet to become;’ ‘Planning is priceless, plans are useless;’ ‘Pace yourself;’ ‘Enough is enough;’ ‘When there’s a will, there’s a way;’ ‘It’s not about doing what you love. It’s about loving whatever it is you’re doing;’ ‘Give love. Everyone in the world needs love;’ And I almost forgot the one I say ALL the time: ‘Challenge awakens.’”

Jayel Lewis, JL Fitness
“There are several mantras that I repeat to myself on a daily basis given the situation I’m in, but one of my favorites that’s on autoplay in my head is ‘There’s beauty in the breakdown.’ It’s not only a constant reminder that it’s quite literally okay to break down from time to time, but it also allows me to know that just because I’m not feeling my best at the time doesn’t mean I can’t become my best from that moment where I thought everything was falling apart. It’s a nice reminder that no matter where you are, both literally and metaphorically you can rebuild — better, faster, stronger.”

Holly Waters, Fitness Alive
“My dad was big on being positive. He thought I could take over the world. Everything was ‘Run your own race’ or ‘You got this,’ so now I run my own race and let myself know that I got this, daily and hourly. But let’s get serious, my real mantra is ‘JUST KEEP SWIMMING.’”

Gina Mancuso, CoreFitness
“My dad had recently undergone a bone marrow transplant, he was extremely weak and de-conditioned. I asked him if I could take him outside for some fresh air in his wheelchair. He said no. I continued to encouraged him and he said, ‘No, I don’t want to go in a wheelchair, I want to walk.’  I asked him why he wanted to walk when I could easily push him. He said, ‘Because I Can.’ Those three words get me through and they keep my dad’s spirit alive, every day.

“On the days when I’m feeling extra dramatic, my mantra becomes “There will be a day when I cannot run (walk/brush teeth/exist); today is not that day.’”

Juliet Burgh, Unite Fitness
“Mine is ‘You were born to be real, not to be perfect.’”

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