Why do we train?
Every so often I find it useful to take a step back and ask why? Many people have developed daily habits and routines that they have been doing for years, but have lost sight of the reason they began doing these things in the first place. From here, it is easy to fall into complacency and fail to find motivation to progress. Why is what drives us into action and betterment.
Exercise is one scenario in which this situation can easily be applied. At some point or another, you have probably fallen into the “going through the motions” exercise plan. It is looked at as a task that needs to be checked off the list so we have earned the right to have a guilt-free late night snack. Don’t worry, this only means you are human.
One strategy I have used when I find myself falling into this is resorting back to my specific goals….and then taking it one step further and asking myself where these goals came from in the first place. In other words, what is my why?
Sure, some of it is aesthetic. Most of us will admit that we would like to look good in a tank top and shed a few pounds. I’ll call these my superficial, or on the surface goals. But there are several goals that run much deeper than this.
This was my answer to not only why I train myself, but why I train others:
1.) Empowerment and confidence: our mental state is often times a reflection of our physical state. When you feel strong, capable, and in control of your body, you are much more likely to feel the same about other aspects of your life. Physical fitness is personal power.
2.) Longevity and injury prevention: this is an easy one. I want to live a long, healthy, pain-free life and be able to do the things I want to do for as long as I can. I want to be able to move well and feel good doing it. As one of my clients always says: “life is just more fun when you are fit.”
3.) Stress relief: stress is fight or flight by nature. Essentially, your body is putting you into a sympathetic state (increased blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) so that you can have the energy to deal with whatever is putting you in that state. Unfortunately, stress is present in situations where we do not have the proper outlet to deal with this aroused state, but exercise can be one of those outlets.
4.) The joy of overcoming limitless challenges: I love the idea that we, as humans, have limitless potential. By design, our bodies can specifically adapt and mold to meet the demands of what we want to do. You want to run a marathon? You can train for it. You want to dead lift your body weight plus? You can train for it. You want to be able to pick up your child or grandchild with ease and without pain? You can train for it. Sure, some of us are genetically predisposed to have an easier or harder time performing specific tasks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train and see progress…wherever you are in your life. That is the beauty of it: your goals are your own and can be modified or progressed to meet you where you are. And no matter where that is, there is not greater feeling than crushing the goals you specifically set for yourself. Point blank: is it extremely empowering being able to do something that you used to not be able to do. We have the capacity to do so much as humans, so let’s take advantage of it and see just how high our ceiling goes.
Those are mine. What are yours?
Stephanie Spoto, CSCS