It makes me feel good. It keeps my stress and anxiety levels manageable. It makes me happy. It makes me feel strong, determined and accomplished during and after. Working out makes me feel confident in my own skin. Working out makes me feel like I can do anything. I love overcoming obstacles and mental roadblocks by way of exercise. I workout because I enjoy it.
Why tell you why I workout?
A few weeks ago, Peloton aired a commercial that immediately went viral. You can watch it here if you haven't seen it. Long story short, Peloton caught flack (even losing stock value) for this ad campaign. It features a young wife/mom getting a Peloton from her husband for the holidays. She shares her journey using the bike over the course of the year. At the end of the commercial, she talks about how much she has changed as a result of her experience with the bike.
Many considered the ad offensive. Why? Because it showed a thin and fit woman 'changing' without any real visible, physical change. There were also criticisms relating to sexism and pleasing others through physical appearance.
When I watched the ad, I didn't see what the big deal was. Did I miss something? So, I watched it again. Then again. I still didn't see the issue.
Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do and how great your body can feel.
When an individual invests in daily exercise, in their case with a Peloton, they embark on an exciting health and fitness journey. Peloton's goal was to celebrate this. I value this idea so much which brings me to this post. When it comes to criticism of the ad, it comes down to that person and their relationship with exercise. The ‘why’ behind our motivation to put on our exercise clothes and workout.
It's important to change our mindsets when it comes to physical fitness. Why do we exercise? What do healthy changes look like as a result? What health benefits do we get from exercise that aren't visible (that's most important in my book!)? Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do. In a way, Peloton was trying to do this. But, a negative relationship with exercise does not allow some to see things this way.
The changes you can't see matter the most!
Most of the reasons I workout, as I shared in the intro of the post, are not physical. You can't see them. To the outside eye, I may not look any different as a result of working out five to six days a week. Many may not understand why I wake up at 5am to hit the gym if I am not actively trying to lose weight. Many may not get why I consistently try new fitness things that make me afraid or nervous.
As I said at the top, I do all of this because I am strong, determined and feel accomplished during and after my workout. Working out makes me feel confident in my own skin. Working out makes me feel like I can do anything. I love overcoming obstacles and mental roadblocks by way of exercise. I workout because I enjoy it.
Exercise because it puts me in a good mood and I am a better wife, mom, friend and business owner because of it. Probably the number one driver for my time in the gym is that my anxiety is better and controlled because I work out. You can't see how exercise affects my mental health but it does.
Working out pushes me toward and often past my limits. I've overcome other obstacles in my life because I'm mentally stronger. Being able to complete an exercise I wouldn't try before out of fear or insecurity makes me feel strong as hell. But, just looking at me you wouldn't know that. Even if I can't do a full handstand or box jump the highest box, I try those things because of the confidence exercise has given me.
I love that I get to wake up each morning and celebrate my body with movement!
To be honest and transparent (and, because I am ten pounds over my ideal weight), I also workout because I'd like to shed body fat. But, it is not the driving factor for what gets me to the gym before the sun comes up each day. I see any body fat lost as added bonus on top of everything else that I mentioned. Have I enjoyed my share of Christmas cookies this season? YES. But I don't equate how many cookies I've eaten to how much exercise I need to do.
Exercise should be fun, but it should also be challenging.
It should take you out of your comfort zone from time to time. It should make you work beyond what you believe you are capable of. If it doesn't challenge you, it's less likely to change you. But, by and large, it shouldn't feel like torture or punishment. If you aren't having fun or at least finding some pleasure in the pain, it's time to re-evaluate your why.
If you're happily spending an hour on the treadmill training for a race or working on endurance, go girl (or guy). If your idea of working out is an hour on the treadmill, hating every second, because you think you need to burn X number of calories. Please don't put yourself through it.
I'm a trainer. I work with clients with a variety of goals. Weight loss/physical transformations is often one of them. I always want to help my clients reach their goals. If they want to lose weight, I am here to support them 100%. But, my first priority will be to educate and show them how exercise can change their bodies from the inside out. I want clients to view the time spent exercising as a celebration of what their body can do. This is one reason I end every in-person session with a brief mindful meditation and gratitude practice.
I want to help clients find the enjoyment in exercise. My goal is to educate and open their eyes to the idea that exercise is good for the mind, body, and soul. It goes beyond hitting a number on a scale. I will help you look good if that's your goal, but above all, I'm going to help you feel good! What will a healthy relationship with exercise provide you? You'll perform better, be willing to try different things and push yourself further.
This post was a little all over the place, so thank you for bearing with me. I have so many thoughts on this topic and it's hard to structure them into a short blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I appreciate those that provided feedback on my Instagram. It's a sensitive topic, but I hope talking about it can open the door to more conversations. We need to talk about our lifelong mental and physical health and how fitness plays a part.
What's your why?
Take a moment and think about this. Why do you workout or why don't you work out? As we head into 2020, it's the perfect opportunity to set a new tone for getting yourself to the gym day in and day out. Try new things. Get uncomfortable. But, have fun! Don't workout to meet a number. Workout because your body feels best when it gets a little (or a lot) of movement in each day. Workout because you love it (or love to hate it). Enjoy it and if you don't, let me help you get there!