I wrote a blog not too long ago on why we train. In summary, I touched on how we often times get stuck going through the motions and lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing in the first place. The why is critical and should never be lost; the why drives our purpose and our purpose drives our action.
My answer to why I train (and train others) was for empowerment/confidence, longevity/injury prevention, stress relief, and for the joy of overcoming limitless challenges. I thought I had it all figured out, but I’ve found that is goes even deeper than this.
Sure we want concrete answers and goals to direct us, but I think the overarching answer to this question is as open-ended as it gets. Why should be train? We should train to train.
Similar to playing a sport, playing an instrument, or participating in any other extracurricular activity, we’re not really doing it for an end result; we’re doing it for the process. Just like your extracurricular activity of choice can become part of your identity, the same can be true for training. Then, once it becomes a piece of who you are, the rest will fall into place.
Consider this: it’s 5:30 A.M. and your alarm goes off. You’ve gotten enough sleep and planned to get a workout in before work, but you’re tired, warm, and comfortable in your bed. Human nature would push us to stay in our comfortable state and go back to sleep, but we get up and do it anyways. Why? Not necessarily because we want to; we do it because it is part of who we are. Who would you be if you stayed in bed?
The feeling of guilt is often associated with a situation like this. A lot of times guilt has a negative connotation, but why is it a bad thing to use it as an intrinsic motivator? According to Dr. Lisa Lewis, this is called introjected regulation. It’s okay to use guilt to your advantage every once in a while…and we shouldn't feel guilty about it.
I’ll end with this - my client blew my mind the other day with one simple statement: what we do, we do to ourselves. At first I laughed, but then I proceeded to continuously roll it over in my head for days. As humans, we all have free will. There are of course consequences to everything we do and don’t do, but we technically don’t have to do anything. We can always get away with not exercising or making the right choices for our bodies, but we also have the power to make being the healthiest version of ourselves part of our identity. Once this is established, we must do whatever we can to keep it there.
Stephanie Spoto, CSCS