We all aspire to be the best versions of ourselves, like the champions we look up to. Our health and fitness are areas we have control over but at times excuses get in the way, and we have to be reminded to push through.

Here are five great motivational quotes from some of the best in their crafts to steer us on to the path to a success story.

“You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.”

- Michael Phelps, 18-time Olympic gold medallist (Swimming)

What you take away from it: Learn to visualise what you’d like to become and plan on how to make it happen. As the old adage goes ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. But that’s only part of the equation. You have to act upon your plan decisively no matter what gets in the way of your goals. If you fail, look for helping hands. Gyms and fitness communities have trainers you can depend on. Choose to be mentored because oftentimes, collaborations yield the best results.


“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

- Michael Jordan, 6-time NBA champion (Basketball)

What you take away from it: Stop wishing and start doing. The time for learning theories is over; now you have to put them into practice because in the world’s stage, you can’t be left forever an audience member, you have to be your own hero. You should not utter ‘fitness’ and ‘tomorrow’ in the same line. You’re all too familiar with procrastinating workouts only to later regret. The mindset has to be ‘here and now’, so if you want to get fit, just do it.


“You just have to prove to yourself that you can go out there and be the best that you can be and not prove anything to anyone.”

- Serena Williams, winner of 23 major singles titles (Tennis)

What you take away from it: The competition we so look forward to facing is staring straight back at us in the mirror. Forget what others think, we are our harshest critics and we can use that to our advantage. Sometimes we have to filter out everybody else’s opinions so we can listen to what we should be telling ourselves. That is to be in our own race, to run at our own pace. So it doesn’t matter if you finish last in a marathon, as long as know you pushed hard and to the best of your abilities.


“Most people focus on the wrong thing: They focus on the result, not the process. The process is the sacrifice; it’s all the hard parts — the sweat, the pain, the tears, the losses. You make the sacrifices anyway. You learn to enjoy them, or at least embrace them. In the end, it is the sacrifices that must fulfil you.”

- Ronda Rousey, former UFC women’s champion (Mixed Martial Arts)

What you take away from it: This comes from the ‘World’s Most Dominant Athlete’ in 2015’s Sports Illustrated cover story. All the pain and suffering you endure during training should satisfy the athlete in you. It should serve to fuel you, because you’ll never get to your goal if it doesn’t. It might appear to be masochistic but the tedious process should be enjoyed if you want to be in fitness for the long haul. That’s the blunt reality of it all.


“The ultimate measure of a champion is not where he stands at times of comfort and convenience, but at times of challenge and adversity.”

- Rich Froning, 4-time “Fittest Man on Earth” (CrossFit)

What you take away from it: This is where your mental grit is tested. Your body will never do what your mind won’t let it. There’s that barrier and it’s built with comfort and we all want to stay behind it. But to be the best that you can be, you have to get over your conveniences. This most likely involves stumbling and falling face first. How you overcome your injuries, your failures, and rising above them determines your true worth, whether you’re champion material or not. It never gets easy pushing limits, but that’s what we have to do to continuously get fitter and stronger.