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Why Do You Exercise?

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  • Why Do You Exercise?

    I just posted a new article on my blog - original here:

    Sandbag Fitness: Why Do You Exercise?

    I do some consultation for the healthcare industry and I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a number of individuals and speak to them about their exercise, dietary and lifestyle habits. A large proportion of these people had the same response:

    "I've hated exercise since childhood"


    "I had a bad experience exercising once"

    and even

    "I don't like to get hot and sweaty"

    It got me thinking - why do I exercise?

    I enjoy physical activity and sports at lower intensity levels but the truth is, my training sessions are tough. When I go out into the garage I know that I'm going to be pushing myself to the point where I won't want to continue - the point where that one extra repetition feels like the hardest thing in the world. There is no point in 'sugar-coating' the fact that exercise, especially at the levels that are beneficial, is hard work.

    So why do I do it?

    No matter how hard the training session has been, afterwards I get a huge sense of achievement - even if I've just managed to add a little weight, do an extra repetition or on some days just get through it. I feel like I just climbed a mountain. That sense of success and elation is powerful and addictive. It's a change of mental and physical state.

    While it's nice to maintain a low bodyfat, look good and be able to do lots of cool stuff - it's really about the state change that exercise brings. Everything else is just a bonus for me. And, after 20 or so years of consistent training I know that it works for me.

    One thing I've noticed is that people who consistently fail to stick to exercise programmes have one or more of the following traits:

    They think exercise is a chore and they think the idea of discipline as being negative
    They overly focus on the arbitrary goals of aesthetics or weight loss
    They've followed bad advice without first asking "does this make sense to me"
    So, if you've struggled to follow an exercise programme before, try shifting your focus a little. Exercise is your opportunity to set goals and achieve them - not matter what they are. Discipline is a positive thing, especially when you are exercising control over yourself. I think this is one of the major reasons people don't stick to programmes - it's not that they are too hard, it's because they're too easy. Not only do they not achieve results but people don't feel challenged. I mean, if I had to spend the majority of my training time in the fat-burning zone I think I'd go mad.

    When people tell me they dislike exercise I have to laugh to myself as I imagine getting that 20th repetition in a squat set or finishing 100 pull ups and I think, "yeah, me too".

    So, why do you exercise?
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  • #2
    With most people who don't like exercise, I encourage them to focus on the fun.

    With my yoga students, I tell them that every movement thing they do should be fun for them. If it isn't, then it becomes a chore. Fun is where it is at.

    I had a friend who used all of those reasons above for hating to exercise, and so I said -- lets try something. Lets try to have fun!

    We took every free class in everything imaginable for months. Martial arts of every kind, several kinds of dance, ice skating, roller skating, windsurfing, you name it. Anything we could do that was free or low cost.

    One day, i said "hey, there's a LARP (live action role play) going on this weekend. my friend is running it. It was vampire based, and my friend is super dramatic. He's also very steam-punk. So, we met with him earlier in the week and he explained the LARP. two vampire families were feuding and here was what was going to go down. It was going to be a very physical 12 hrs (overnight, of course).

    He had permissions from multiple buildings to use rooftops, to use stairways, alleyways, warehouses, and two bars -- basically all over town. we would be walking, running, jumping, climbing stairs, chasing, play fighting (with rules). and all kinds of things.

    My friend *loved* it. She loved the costumes. the characters, the theatricality. . . and the whole night she was running, jumping, climbing trees, stairs, running through warehouses, etc.

    Turns out parkour was a common practice of these LARPers.

    She got *seriously* into it. She desgiend her own steam-punk costumes and props, drew a strong character, and took up parkour with the LARPers. They practiced one a week, and had a major LARP once a month. She lived for it.

    she changed her diet, loved her workouts, and had to take in her costume three times!

    She had *FUN*. sure, there were goals along the way, but everything was in service of 12 hours of playing pretend vampire.

    So, I truly, madly, deeply believe in fun.


    • #3
      I agree with the zoebird, mostly people are not interested in the exercise, But I found one thing when they join to the classes after some time they automatically want to do the exercise on daily basis. This is because of finding changes in their daily routine also feeling healthy.


      • #4
        I train for the sense of achievement, and for the mental focus it needs to do at a level when it counts. For instance, just now before lunch I did a fasted workout that only took 7 - 8 minutes. It left my hands trembling and my skin flushed. It felt great! This is the exercises I did:

        1 x 15 @ 80 kg
        5 x 5 @ 100 kg, five sec pause between sets

        Dips machine
        1 x 25 @ 80 kg
        5 x 5 @ 100 kg, five sec pause between sets

        Bicep curls with ez-bar
        1 x 5 @ 35 kg
        3 x 3 @ 35 kg, five sec pause between sets
        Sometimes you need to be told the truth in order to be able to see it.

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        • #5
          I've always been involved in sports or workouts honestly I can't think of a time when I was doing nothing physical (outside of labor) so in part, I'm just used to working out, not working out would feel very odd.

          Past that, developing certain skills has become somewhat of an obsession to me, a healthy obsession I'd like to think. I don't have the time to outline them all at present, but they all deal mostly with "mastering" your bodyweight, and this is something that takes patience, time and hard work and I'd like to think I have all of them. I think in the theoretical "end" (there's always more to accomplish) this is all just for me, as literally nobody cares if I can do a handstand push up or not (one of my goals) so it's not to show off, it's not to impress others, it's not even for looks, it's all for me and my sense of accomplishment.

          As a kid I was obsessed with soccer, so I made it a point to learn how to use my left leg as much as I could because my dad would always complain about pros that only used one leg and I wanted to impress my father. I probably lost that skill but at one point I could do things almost as well with my left leg as I could with my right. I could control the ball, stop it, pass it, lob it, shoot it, place it, etc but it took well over a year of constant practice to do that and it was almost all so I could ask to be a left wing and impress my dad. I did, and I also felt good that I could do that, but it's the only instance I can recall in which I put the time and effort to do something for somebody else, and I certainly don't regret it. Everything I do now is for me, to make myself stronger and use my body more efficiently.

          Aesthetics do come into play, but I don't feel the least bit bad about that. I feel in America at least, we're SO complacent and SO "understanding" of people and happy to be so MEDIOCRE that I want to fight against that by working on my self and not worrying if others think I think highly of myself. I don't, but I've noticed the more I discuss eating and working out with others the more they think I'm on some holier-than-thou shit, even though I try really hard not to be preachy or to call other people's ideas dumb or not worth the while. I just try to present alternatives but since we're wrapped up in Globo-gyms and nobody thinks you can get a workout outside a crowded techno-blasting environment my ideas seem too out there and too over-achieving.

          Nobody wants to do any work anymore ...
          Last edited by iniQuity; 05-24-2011, 04:59 AM.
          I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
            I just posted a new article on my blog - original here:

            Sandbag Fitness: Why Do You Exercise?
            Lol .. I was just tossing around the two ten pound sandbags I have in my Yoga studio. Love to play with them.


            • #7
              i've always liked exercise, but never really did it much before i turned was more of an occasional thing. when i was little my only exercise was fun, which amounted to playing games, sports, climbing things, setting things on fire, etc.
              when i made the decision to really take my life seriously, i began exercising on a pretty regular basis and discovered that i really liked it. i liked how i got a little better at it each week, and still do. i liked that i was able to do more things, like climb a mountain or a tree. i absolutely loved--and still do--the feeling i get after a workout.
              now, exercise just makes me feel good. i can go a couple of days without being active, but then i start getting a little antsy. luckily all the best exercises don't require anything more than a good piece of earth and maybe a tree branch.


              • #8
                Exercise is just a side effect of martial arts training


                • #9
                  Funny--but I just realized that I have loved walking since college & don't consider it exercise--more relaxation & connection time.

                  I started to lift because it gave me a feeling of being in control (at the time my life was in chaos).

                  Then I became a seriously addicted gym rat.

                  A few years later, I became a personal trainer--so I got paid to exercise!

                  Now I do LHT because it gives me the strength & stamina I need out on the dance floor (freestyle.)
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                  • #10
                    I feel like I get more mental benefits from exercise than physical. If I don't go to the gym or exercise for a more than a couple days in a row, my mind races and I get stressed out a lot more easily. I think I'm at my most calm and relaxed right after a workout.


                    • #11
                      When I started this journey in November 2010, Exercise was to create a routine and to help burn calories. Basically to get off my ass.
                      From past experiences (failures) I knew the routine would stay until I made things fun. So I started adding different things to my schedule. Try this class, try that one.

                      I remember being an "outdoor girl" through college. So my goal now is not to just exercise, but bring back all those fun things I really enjoyed doing.

                      Have fun. Enjoy what you do. If you enjoy it, it isn't a chore.

                      Starting Weight 235 - Dec 1, 2010
                      Started Primal Mid January 2011
                      Current Weight 183
                      Goal 160

                      Get Outside Already!



                      • #12
                        I don't work out to "work out." If I did that, I'd be bored out of my skull and never do it. I work out to train for my next goal, to push myself that extra bit. As soon as I reach a goal, I'll set another one. And another one. And another one.
                        My curent goal is to complete the Warrior Dash next year without being dead last. My ultimate goal, the one all my training is geared towards, is to compete in the Sasuke trials (Ninja Warrior, if you're an American with cable) and not embarass myself. I don't expect total victory, but I want to at least make it past the first couple of obstacles. If I can beat Octopus Man, I figure I haven't embarassed myself. If I actually ever do make the Sasuke trials and not embarass myself, then I'll aim for an ultimate goal of Total Victory.
                        Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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                        • #13
                          I do it to get strong and healthy.

                          I love the added benefits of dropping body fat and looking better, too.


                          • #14
                            to stay sexy.


                            • #15
                              I do it for many reasons, I do it because I love to feel the accomplishment of reaching my goal, the adrenaline I get from pushing just a little harder, the health benefits and dammit I do it to prove to myself that I CAN! It is hard to start sometimes, for the first time in weeks I had the chance to run outside after work last night, I came up with about 5 reasons NOT to do it, my pants were falling down, I couldn't find my belt, when I did find a belt it didn't fit through the belt loops on the stupid pants I was wearing, I got another belt, squeezed it to fit into my dumb belt loops and then the stupid buckle was broken and I hadn't noticed. So I told my husband "fuck this im not going" but then decided to just put on another pair of pants and go, and I ran over twice as far as the last time I ran outdoors, so yeah the motivation is hard sometimes but once I get going, there is no stopping me.
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