Articles » Motivation » Fitness Motivation » Active Passion: Unlock Your Motivation to Stay Fit For Life

Active Passion: Unlock Your Motivation to Stay Fit For Life

By Nick Holt / July 6, 2017

What if I told you there was a way to never rely on willpower to exercise again?

What if there was a system to make a healthy & fit lifestyle a natural part of who you are?

Believe it or not, there is a way to effortlessly enjoy a fit lifestyle. What’s the secret? It’s called active passion. Read on to learn how you can find it for yourself, and in so doing unlock your motivation to stay fit for the rest of your life.

What is Active Passion?

Let’s start with the most basic definition – active passion is any physical activity that brings you joy while moving your body. A good way to think about it is any kind of physical play. Popular sports are obvious examples of active passions, but it’s not limited to just sports. Walking, hiking, dancing, kayaking, yoga and many more activities can also fall into that category.

Simply, it’s an activity that you gets you excited, and maybe even puts you into bed early at night and gets you up before the sun rises.

Active passion is not only discovering joy in the way you move, but also about making both exercise and your own individual nutrition a daily practice. It’s a system that makes you the center of your life and creates a mental and physical state of being where you feel good, look good, think clearly and have tons of energy without stressing about it too much.

Ultimately, it’s a 2-step process. First, you discover the physical activity or activities that make you happy. Then, you learn or figure out what nutrition works the best for your fitness goals. Eventually, both of these elements become the core of your lifestyle.
All of a sudden, staying fit, being lean, and having lots of energy become effortless parts of your day-to-day.

Why is Active Passion Important?

Active passion is a foundational component to a healthy lifestyle. It switches the conversation from “I have to”, “I got to” or “I should” – for example, go to the gym, eat more veggies, watch less TV – into something much more inspirational. You start making choices from a place of passion that wakes you up at 5am like a little kid excited about a snow day.

Active passion requires a little bit of work upfront, but the long-term benefits are incredible. As a personal trainer and a nutrition coach, I’ve found it so crucial to helping my clients get and stay lean that I’ve developed an entire coaching program around it through my business Saltwater Fit.

The number #1 reason people fail with diet and exercise programs today is lack of consistency. When it comes to diet, studies show that it actually doesn’t matter what diet you choose (assuming it’s safe) to lose weight. They all work to some degree as long as you stick with your plan and maintain your nutrition habits long-term 1.

If you never got to experience snow days growing up because you lived somewhere the temperatures never dropped below 50F, I apologize for the east coast reference to those glorious winter days when school would get cancelled – it was definitely one of the most exhilarating moments for an active 10 year old boy who loved to play in the snow.

Most people will follow workout & diet programs for a few weeks, or months, but motivation drops-off once they reach their goals, or it simply fades away. When motivation declines, old habits take over. Active passion automatically takes the focus away from superficial goals like weight loss and body composition to improved performance and mastery so you’re not just relying solely on extrinsic motivation.

How To Find Your Active Passion

The best way to start that discovery process is to ask yourself a few of the following questions:

1. When you were 10 years old, what was your favorite outdoor activity?

2. What sports did you play growing up?

3. Is there a physical activity that gets you excited now?

4. Where do you live and what access do you have to nature? A park? Ocean? Lake? River? Hiking trails?

5. If I asked 3 of your best friends what you are most likely doing on your day off, what would they say?

If you have trouble answering these questions, that’s absolutely fine. Pull out your calendar for the next month and try at least 1 different activity each week from this list below (I recommend that you try each activity 3 times before you decide that you don’t like it):

1. Running 10. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
2. Snowboarding 11. Skiing
3. Rock Climbing 12. Yoga
4. Dancing 13. Jiu Jitsu
5. Tennis 14. Basketball
6. Golf 15. Swimming
7. Kayaking 16. Mountain Biking
8. Weight Lifting 17. Surfing
9. Hiking 18. Soccer

There are many more, but hopefully this short list gives you a few ideas to start.

The next step is to write down your experiences with the activity you tried. Did you love it? Or were you ready to leave after 10 minutes?

Writing down your experiences might help you identify trends or patterns that will give you more direction going forward as you try out different activities. The goal is that you’ll eventually find something you’re excited and passionate about, and want to gain mastery in.

Remember, being the healthiest and fittest version of yourself is a process, one that requires consistent practice over time. By using the framework of active passion, you can discover the activity that excites you, which will make it easier for you to plan your entire fitness and nutrition routine around getting better at that activity.

The end result is more joy and energy in your life, and a healthier, fitter you.

The best part is that it’s sustainable, with seemingly less effort than when you were just forcing yourself to work out.

What’s your #ActivePassion? Share it with us here, on facebook, or on instagram! Don’t know yet? If you’re feeling lost or stuck, reach out in the comments and I’ll be happy to help stir up some ideas.

Show 1 References

  1. Katz DL, Meller S. Can We Say What Diet Is Best For Health? Annual Reviews 2014.


  • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

    Congrats on your first article on BuiltLean, Nick! The photos are killer, the active passion concept is powerful, and the article is well organized and written. Pumped to read more of your articles

  • Nick Holt, CPT says:

    Thanks Marc! I hope the BuiltLean community gets some good value out of it! Excited to be contributing to such a great site.

  • Wayne desormeaux says:

    Very motivated life change 2016 a new me thank you built lean

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      Thanks for the encouragement Wayne!

  • Kylie says:

    I agree, this is a really fantastic article. And what a great comment, Marc!

    Thank you so much for the invitations and inspiration. In traveling and called a local dance inspiration group (5 rhythms dance) mid-article! Hehe

    I really appreciate your questions and have them saved now on my phone for reference. You're making a difference!


    • Nick Holt, CPT says:

      Hey Kylie, thanks for sharing your story, that's awesome! Get this - I did a 5 rhythms dance class a few years ago in NYC while visiting my brother. My dance moves need some work, but just movin' my body and letting go of looking silly was huge for me! Keep on dancing - I guess surfing for me is just another form of dance, right?

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kylie!

  • Evans says:

    Thanks for the article Nick. I had this similar thought recently - "I think it should be possible to get/keep fit doing a combo of activities I already love like dancing and swimming. That and eating right". I'm glad to see an expert agrees. And I like the term #activepassion.

    • Nick Holt, CPT says:

      I appreciate it Evans. That's right, it can be that simple sometimes. I need to remind myself of that often as well, I think we all make certain things a lot more complicated than they need to be. Enjoy the swimming and dancing, that seems like a solid combo!