I’m a huge motivational quote junkie. I’ll admit it. Even when I was young, I remember posting all kinds of motivational quotes around my room. Mostly from athletes and bodybuilders. On the door, wall, mirror, everywhere. I still do it today at 30 years old.
There’s just something about hearing powerful words from a successful person that makes you want to get up and go. It’s amazing how much of an impact a few words strung together can have.
One area in particular where motivational quotes are especially helpful is bodybuilding. The biggest obstacle most people face when it comes to lifting weights and getting in shape is their own mind.
All the supplements and proper dieting in the world aren’t going to help you deal with the mental aspect of bodybuilding. At the end of the day, it’s a huge mind game that you play with yourself.
Figuring out how to push yourself further when you have nothing left. Finding the strength to lift heavier weights despite nagging injuries. Forcing yourself to do a few more repetitions when your muscles are screaming in pain. It’s all mental.
When the body gives up, you have to find a way to use your mind to keep yourself going. The greatest athletes have all said it.
Sometimes your mind gets tired and you just feel like you don’t have it in you. That’s where motivational quotes come in.
I wrote this post to share some of my favorite motivational bodybuilding quotes with you. I have used many of these for years to get myself back up and running when I just felt like giving up and quitting. I still use them today.
Most of these quotes are from bodybuilders and powerlifters however, there are a few mixed in from non-bodybuilders that I think will be helpful as well.
Here are my picks for the top 25 motivational bodybuilding quotes.
# 1- “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” -- Mark Rippetoe
Mark Rippetoe is popular in the CrossFit and powerlifting community and known for his book, Starting Strength. I first saw this quote on some Crossfit shirts a few years back. There are very few downsides to getting stronger and many upsides.
# 2- “Some people like to live without too much risk. They’re satisfied leading a safe existence. This attitude of caution infiltrates into their goals. Every successful athlete -- or businessperson -- enjoys taking calculated risks. You have to. Especially in the gym when you’re squatting 500 for reps and you can’t get one more but grunt out ten. Your nose starts bleeding, you fall into the rack and that’s set one.” --Tom Platz
Tom Platz was a popular bodybuilder in the ear 1980’s and one of the greatest of all time. He’s also one of the most motivational bodybuilders that constantly talked about the mental aspect of bodybuilding and training.
# 3- “Don’t fall for that crap that people are peddling on the message boards, in magazines or on TV. Get your shit in order, and get your training in order. Start kicking ass, and take out the crap that doesn’t matter. Start doing and believing in the stuff that works, and do it today and forever. You want science and studies? Fuck you, I’ve got scars and blood and vomit.“ – Jim Wendler
Jim Wendler is a powerlifter, author and strength and conditioning coach. His lifting program, 5/3/1/, is known as one of the most effective programs for increasing your lifts and strength. He is brutally honest and puts out a lot of great information.
# 4- ”If you’re training hard and heavy with the goal of lifting something awesome, something is always going to hurt. Whether it’s your wrists, elbows, knees, hamstring, or even something ridiculous like a serratus muscle, one body part or another is always going to be giving you some bullshit. The elite athletes train in spite of or around those injuries. Sometimes they get worse, sometimes they get better, and sometimes they just get supplanted by another recalcitrant body part. Any way you cut it, something’s always going to be bothering you. Suck it the fuck up and keep going.”- Jamie Lewis
Jamie Lewis runs a bodybuilder/powerlifting blog called Chaos and Pain. He is also a world record powerlifter. This quote speaks to the rawness of bodybuilding and lifting. You will rarely have a day where your body feels perfect. A huge mistake many people make is getting obsessed with overtraining and recovery. These people usually stifle their progress tremendously.
# 5- “After being taught sets and reps and working at it for a length of time you can’t paint by numbers anymore. It must come from within. Any artist has an emotional contact with their work. A true bodybuilder doesn’t just build muscle he creates muscle. You can’t be a robot.” -- Tom Platz
Another great quote by Tom Platz. Many people never understand the creative aspect of bodybuilding. The best bodybuilders think outside the box and visualize the end result they want to see.
# 6- “You’ve got to block out all distractions when you train. Your focus has to be 100% into the rep. You’ve got to get into a zone. You know you’re in the zone when guys in the gym look you in the eye and then quickly turn away ’cause they see the fire. You’ve got to be all business.” -- Mike Matarazzo
Mike Matarazzo was a monster bodybuilder before he quit due to health complications. I see so many people working out day in and day out without any focus. They’re constantly on their phones or talking incessantly to other people in the gym. You need to focus on what you’re doing and ignore the distractions.
# 7- . “I also agree with you about the whole paralysis by analysis thing. Yes, you have to be smart in your training, and yes, you have to think it through and plan it — but you also have to chalk your hands, grab the bar and lift it. That’s where so many people go wrong.” -- Brooks Kubik
Brooks Kubik is an author and weightlifter known for his wildly popular Dinosaur Training Secrets books, which focus on old-school lifting and bodybuilding programs that build real world strength. I think that having too much information for people starting out in bodybuilding and weight lifting is worse than having too little information. As the quote says, usually you just have to get in there and lift.
# 8- “The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”- Arnold Schwarzenegger.
All hail the great one. Arnold is one of the most motivational people that ever walked the earth. He is also (in my opinion) the greatest bodybuilder of all time. He has so many great quotes, but this is one of my favorites from Pumping Iron.
# 9- “No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” – Socrates
This is definitely one of the most cited quotes when it comes to bodybuilding and very true. It’s painful to see people waste their bodies in their youth and neglect to take care of themselves. If they gave bodybuilding a shot, many would become addicted with seeing their bodies grow and change.
# 10- “Remember this: your body is your slave; it works for you.” – Jack LaLanne
Jack LaLanne was a really amazing guy that had a huge hand in introducing the benefits of exercising to the masses. He was well known for his feats of strength. At age 70, he towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor 1 ½ miles to the Queen Mary. All while handcuffed and shackled. Your body will do what you tell it to do. Your body will get tired when you work out but you need to tell it to shut up and keep going.
# 11- “It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.” -Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins is a musician, writer and artist amongst other things. Rollins is known for his love of weightlifting and has repeatedly stated the positive impact it’s had on his life. This quote embodies what lifting weights and bodybuilding can do for you outside of the gym.
# 12- “May I have more please? May I have more pain? May I have more torture? Because I know this shit is gonna make me grow!” – CT Fletcher
CT is one of the most motivational people in the bodybuilding today. He’s very raw and truthful. He has gone through some serious health issues in his later years and continues to fight back and inspire others. If you’re looking for raw motivation to just go and lift heavy weights, CT is your guy.
# 13- “Don’t look for an easy way out. Nobody wants to work hard these days. The 20 minute abs, the 10 minute this, the 10 Minute that. Fuck that! Come to the gym, work your ass off. Earn it!” CT Fletcher
Another great quote about the importance of hard work by CT. Don’t get sucked into taking the easy way out. You will get nowhere trying to take short cuts.
# 14- “The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Lifting and bodybuilding makes you a stronger person physically, mentally and spiritually. Resistance equals growth.
# 15- “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”- Muhammad Ali
I’ve always loved this quote. All the hard work you do in the gym, is largely done alone and away from others. The dieting. The early morning and late -night cardio. All the pain you go through in the gym. Usually all alone. Most people never see the pain and struggle someone went through when they’re standing on the winner’s podium.
# 16- “Each workout is like a brick in a building, and every time you go in there and do a half-ass workout, you’re not laying a brick down. Somebody else is.”-Dorian Yates
Dorian Yates was one of the best bodybuilders every. He is largely credited (or blamed) with introducing the mass-monster look you see in bodybuilding today. His intensity and work ethic in the gym is legendary. You need to keep in mind that your competition is always out there somewhere working hard. Trying to beat you.
# 17- “They can crack jokes. They can sit back and analyze and criticize and make all the fun they want. But I’m living my life, I’m doing it. What are you doing?”- Kai Greene
You get a lot of shit from people in your life who don’t understand bodybuilding and weightlifting. They constantly get on you for eating weird foods or wanting to look so big. “Why does he have to lift all those weights? It’s not normal”. Most people simply don’t get it and can be quite critical. You just have to ignore it.
# 18- “To feel strong, to walk amongst humans with a tremendous feeling of confidence and superiority is not at all wrong. The sense of superiority in bodily strength is borne out by the long history of mankind paying homage in folklore, song and poetry to strong men”- Fred Hatfield (AKA Dr. Squat)
Fred Hatfield was an author, doctor and powerlifter. He wrote some great books on bodybuilding and powerlifting that take a scientific approach. I have been reading his books for years and highly recommend them. Sadly, he passed away in 2017.
# 19- “I’m the strongest bodybuilding who ever lived, I think.” -Franco Columbu
Franco Columbu was Arnold’s training partner back in the day and featured with him in Pumping Iron. He was known for his extraordinary feats of strength. At the time he said this quote, it was likely true. He was one of the strongest golden era bodybuilders.
# 20- “As long as we persevere and endure, we can get anything we want”- Mike Tyson
Well not a bodybuilder, Mike Tyson is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Say what you want about him, but his intensity and training were brutal. He always talked about how important mindset and mental strength were to his success. With bodybuilding, the will to persevere and endure the pain that comes along with it is vitally important.
# 21- “What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else?”- Arnold Schwarzenegger
Being a bodybuilder, you’re going to stand out. Whether it’s the way you look or your habits, you’re going to be different than others. The best thing that you can do is embrace it. This is a great quote to help you understand that.
# 22- “Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody want to lift no heavy-ass weights.” – Ronnie Coleman
I had to put this one in here. If you hear anyone reciting a quote in the gym, it’s usually from Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie was an 8-time Mr. Olympia. He trained with brutal intensity and would yell positive affirmations at himself, like the one above, to get him through his workouts.
# 23-“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good”– Jerry West
Jerry West wasn’t a bodybuilder, but this quote is very relevant to bodybuilding. If you only workout on days you feel good, you probably won’t get very far. You constantly have to push yourself when you don’t feel like it. Not just with working out, but with everything in life.
# 24- “I’ve never changed my life since I was 4 and went to the YMCA with a gym bag. I still have that philosophy. In fact, I still have that gym bag.”- Dan Gable
Dan Gable is one of the best collegiate and Olympic wrestlers of all time. Like most of the people on this list, he trained with brutal intensity. I like this quote because it’s a simple quote that reiterates the importance of consistency and hard work day-in and day-out.
# 25- “One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of his life.” Edward. B. Butler
I’ll admit I have no idea who this guy is. While Butler probably wasn’t talking about bodybuilding, this quote is very relevant to it. Working out and getting in shape is a marathon not a sprint. So many times, I see people get excited and go at it hard for a few months and then quit because they do not see any results. You need to stick with it and say to yourself that you’re not going to quit.
There you have it. My top 25 picks for motivational bodybuilding quotes. I refer to these often to get me pumped up.
Hopefully after reading these, it’s given you some fire to get out there and get to work.
While most of these are tailored to bodybuilding, you can use them to get you psyched up for anything you want to do.
Do these quotes motivate you? Do you have any quotes relevant to bodybuilding and weightlifting that I didn’t include here? I’d love to read them below!
All the best,