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Thread: Why Do You Exercise?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Why Do You Exercise?

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    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    New Zealand
    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. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    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. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Oslo, Norway
    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.

    My journal

    I see grain people...

    Exist in shadow, drifting away.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Northern NJ
    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 at 04:59 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Gwinnett/Walton County Georgia (1 hour north and eat of Atlanta)
    Quote 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. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Manchester, NH
    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. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Fairfield, CT
    Exercise is just a side effect of martial arts training

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Tucson, Arizona
    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.)

  10. #10
    Shop Now
    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.

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