Reasons to Train

Barbell Grip

Invariably, everyone has different reasons for working out. They are often very personal and sit close to the core of who we are, or who we’d like to believe we are. For those of us who have a handful of reasons for why we train, we clutch at them every day to keep us moving and keep our fire lit. Over time, these reasons don’t seem so important anymore. We’d rather sleep or watch TV or Crush Candies. We become torn and lose sight of the original plan we had set a few months or even many years ago. And for those of you who don’t get to the gym regularly and are hoping to finally get things started, it’s even harder. There’s a vague notion of what you want, and the reasons are there, but the motivation is lacking. Well, I’d like to share with you some of my own reasons and thoughts behind my own motivation.

Briefly, I train to:

  1. Get better at the sports or activities I am involved in.
    Qualifying at the Canadian Dragonboat Nationals was a goal that kept me fueled for a full year and the satisfaction of achieving it was a feeling that I find hard to compare to any other experience in my life. The Tough Mudder is an obstacle course I signed up for and it simply gives me something to train towards and have fun with.  I invite anyone else looking for something similar to join the No Shortcuts team. Overall, I like the challenge of constantly finding that next level to push myself to.
  2. Become the master of my own body.
    Bio-mechanically, our bodies are wonderful. Capable of great feats of strength, speed, grace and agility, why would we let them rot? I want to get stronger because I thrive off that feeling of mastery I get from taking action and achieving new personal records. A big part of this is mobilization of my joints to ensure my muscles work efficiently. After realizing all the things wrong with the way I move, it’s taken a long time to come close to feeling like I’ve got things running the way they should be. The good news is, mobilization directly helps with my strength goals. It’s all linked.
  3. Feel good.
    Call it endorphins or call it masochism. A hard workout gives me a feeling of accomplishment that I am most likely now addicted to. Going a few days without exercise makes me sluggish and I know working up a sweat will remedy that. On a side note, feeling good about how I look can apply here as well. I’m not one for selfies, but I’ve taken a few mental selfies looking in the mirror more than once.

The most common reasons for exercise that I’ve heard of boil down to one or more of the following: get stronger,gain muscle, lose fat, play sports better. Which ultimately translates to: Look good, feel good. This is a mantra that is extremely enticing since it’s not purely one based on aesthetics. And it doesn’t stay in the gym or on the sports field.

This idea of “look good, feel good” has the ability to seep into every aspect of our lives. If we let it become something of a healthy addiction, it will teach us that the hard work we put into something will pay off in some form or another. Life is often unfair and although we’re taught to think that the world works this way, it often doesn’t to our dismay. At least with exercise, we’re able to reap the rewards of the efforts that we sow. This realization is a positive one and although like a fire, it will need to be tended to and rekindled once in a while, it is well worth it to feed these flames.


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