Moving Mountains From Within

DeShawn Fairbairn

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Personal Training, Fencing, Karate


The word ‘motivation’ originates from the Latin word ‘movere’—meaning “to move.” Motivation itself is, broadly, a force that activates or arouses a person into pursuing goal-directed efforts.


I recently met a courageous and self-motivated woman named Buthayna who helped me to realize how crucial it is to move personal mountains in order to attain fitness goals.



According to her, we should all adopt the mentality that “maintaining weight, appearance, and musculature” is for yourself only. By adopting this mindset you will be able to tackle individual blocks in your growth by applying the principles that pertain specifically to you.


Mountains are obstacles that need to be overcome in order to grow. We see the outcome or the peak (the results) but we look at the climb (the process) and can easily feel discouraged or demotivated.


Some kinds of personal mountains include, but are not limited to, financial components, emotional health, psychological state, physical awareness, and spiritual climate.


Financial Mountains

Financial mountains or obstacles, typically stem from the uncertainties of life and a lack of discipline. Brett Wilder in the Quiet Millionaire explains that “in order to be secure about not outliving your resources, you are responsible for accumulating and keeping a greater amount of money than previous generations…invest wisely.”


In order to do this, there is a certain level of self-discipline that is required. You must also set a budget and monitor it every day while making sure any assets you have are allocated properly.


You must learn to cope with the uncertainties such as inflation. Perhaps the protein shake you used to get is $12 more than preparing meals yourself. Investing in a pair of lifting shoes as a dedicated powerlifter may seem great as you procure more funds but, will a pair of Chuck Taylors and placing a plate under the heel provide the same end result?


Think about your gym commute. Do you believe it will be better to attend a commercial gym for the interim because it's closer to you? Time is a commodity and is a terrible thing to waste.


Psychological Mountains

Psychological mountains typically stem from things “..such as doubt,” Stew Smith, CSCS and former NAVY Seal, says. We need to search deep within ourselves, understand the kind of personality we have, and recognize how that affects our ability to progress through a mental block or failure.


When we are preparing for a meet, obtaining feedback from our peers and or training alone for personal health can make it difficult to overcome habits and become “uncomfortable” enough to stimulate a change, Stephanie Madsen says.



Moving Mountains From Within - Fitness, bench press, goals, mindfulness, challenges, mindset, perspective, emotion, training plan, obstacle, spirituality

Photography by Jeffrey Perez of Oahu, Hawaii


Something I found helpful in order to understand my own quirks was taking the DISC Profile examination that Tony Robbins provides. By doing this I learned how to accept criticism better, I learned how to work with others, learned how to be assertive instead of aggressive.


Physical Mountains

Physical mountains typically stem from the parameters the human body allows. I believe that every one of us was made beautifully and our genetic differences produce unexpected value in our fitness.


As a personal trainer specializing in corrective exercise and bodybuilding, I teach others by using strength training modalities to correct imbalances and produce better physiques. In doing so, I work with the differences that each person has and encourage them to continue working on the things that make them feel uncomfortable.


For my client Nisha, who has undergone bilateral knee surgery, we do TRX Lunges and clam shells with a resistance band to work both the vertical and lateral aspects of her legs.


When I first met her bending down was impossible, and now she has moved her physical mountain of getting on the floor and onto her own and back without assistance.


I love all my clients and each of them present with inner obstacles that make my job a career, hobby, and passion that feels worthwhile. If you feel that being physically active is impossible, more than likely there are tons of “excuses” holding you back.


Emotional Mountains

Emotional mountains are difficult to understand. Dr. Van Winkle explains that unchecked emotions, like an unchecked budget, can create toxicity. For instance, after failing a PR we get upset but we repress it and get frustrated without facing the issue head-on.


Repressed anger causes anxiety and depression, according to Van Winkle. In order to progress to a healthier lifestyle in fitness, we need to, in the words of Bruce Lee, “express oneself honestly.”


Learn who you are and learn about the information you contain within your expression in order to better your lifting and increase your physical activity.


We all need to learn how to transform these emotions into tangible and executable changes in our performance. I remember training at Harbor Fitness and crying after doing a 315 close grip bench press and didn’t comprehend why. Crying after a hard set can mean a breakthrough for many.


When you place mental limitations on your ability to perform, yet push yourself anyway and break through those barriers, you avoid returning to the safety-net of undertraining. If you are unable to break through those barriers on your own, it then becomes important to seek coaching to assist in your progression.


Spiritual Mountains

Spiritual mountains are not concrete. According to Jung the spirit, or anima, “is the part of the psyche that is directed inward and is in touch with the subconscious—often contrasted with "persona.” Most would balk at the idea of exercising being that “deep,” but I for one do not care for that attitude.


Training for me is the very notion of being the best I can be via the process of killing the dead parts inside myself. This means breaking a habit that once made me feel comfortable or pushing harder during a set because of the goal I have in mind. For others, it may be meditating daily or repeating a mantra in order to progress.


When I exercise it is an active meditation turned into a lifestyle, and furthermore a blessing. In order to move this kind of mountain, it takes a great tuning fork to strike us in the deepest parts which reveal the truth.


For me, Buthayna has done that and reminds me to cut the crap and dig deep at the issues I'm too scared to do on my own.


Move Your Mountain

We all have mountains to move in order to grow and because of that, we grind hard in the gym and sometimes treat it as therapy.


We love to create excuses to serve the subconscious and sometimes baby our ego. Move the mountain that lives within you today so you can be a better version of yourself tomorrow.

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