Working is obviously a good thing and something many of us need to be doing more. I think we would all agree on that.

But, someone’s reasons for working can vary drastically depending on their goals, age, health, ambition level, confidence etc.

Some of the reasons I here most often from clients are:

  1. To lose weight.
  2. To get “tone.”
  3. To just be healthier.
  4. To get stronger.
  5. For my kids.
  6. To look and feel better.
  7. To be more confident.
  8. “Because I know I have to.”
  9. To look better naked.
  10. To get “divorce hot.” Yes, I have heard that and see nothing wrong with that.

If you are working out consistently you are doing something that many people struggle to do. So whatever your reason (s) is for working out, it is getting you to consistently exercise…I won’t tell you that your reason is wrong then. I mean consistently working out (I would consider this 2-6 times per week every week of the year), is something I talk about endlessly. So, you are on the right track!

But, I want to dive a bit deeper in this post. Because I think some people are exercising for the wrong reasons and are still frustrated with lack of results. Let’s touch on the 10 reasons I lifted.

  1. To lose weight. This reason needs to stop. Exercise alone will not help you lose much for than a few lbs initially and even if you are doing things 1000% right in the gym by gaining a lot of muscle, if your diet sucks you won’t lose much bodyfat and scale weight won’t change. Exercise should be seen as a compliment to solid nutrition program which will help you lose weight.
  2. To get tone. This is a great reason! If you know what “tone” means. By “toning” up you have to gain muscle. To gain muscle you have to lift weights that put you out of your comfort zone. You can not get tone by only running, if you didn’t have enough muscle to look tone in the first place. So, if this is your goal you should be doing more lifting and use cardio as a supplement here and there.
  3. To be healthier. Another good one! There is endless data to back up the importance of exercise for your overall health. It improves your heart health, cholesterol, strength, balance etc.
  4. To get stronger. One of the best ones on the list! Since college this is one thing I have changed my mind on. I have realized the importance of strength. The more strength you have the better your life quality is. This should be the core of anyone’s exercise program unless you are an endurance athlete or athlete who requires a specific skill for your sport. If you are an every day Joe like me now, I would rather be strong than have amazing endurance. It will matter more as you age.
  5. For my kids. Making sacrifices for you kids,  yes this is important! Maybe this will be a reason for me someday too 🙂
  6. To look and feel better. I work out for these reasons mainly at this point in my life. I see nothing wrong with wanting to look better and obviously wanting to feel better is a huge plus. These two reasons (along with setting an example) are what keep me consistent to my exercise program. I love how I feel and like how I look, do you? It makes life a bit less stressful when those things are taken care of.
  7. To be more confident. This is a benefit I have seen from changing my body and health, even if I didn’t get into exercising for this reason. I do hear this quite often and I definitely thinking changing your body can help your confidence, but it isn’t a for sure thing. Along with changing your body, you also have to change your  mindset about yourself as a person. If you were once 100lbs overweight and saw yourself as the “fat” person in the room and now people give you compliments for how good you look, do you still see yourself as “fat?” If you do, then you haven’t changed your mindset about yourself as a person. Losing the 100lbs obviously didn’t help your confidence…yet. As you find yourself being able to do more things with out that extra 100lbs of baggage and you are able to feel more comfortable in different social situations you will in time become more confident. It might just take some time/
  8. Because I know I have to. I mean you don’t have  to workout. I don’t make any of my clients workout. They hire me on their own dime. But, you probably should be working out at least a couple times a week, right?
  9. To look better naked. If this gives you more confidence, then get yourself looking better naked!
  10. To get “divorce hot.” Why not!

You ate the pizza, it’s OK! Beating yourself up over it, won’t get you anywhere. Next time be a bit more proactive, or just know that pizza doesn’t make you fat…how often you eat might though.

In the end though, I think many people are working out to punish themselves for a weekend of binge eating at Summerfest, or so they can “earn” that chocolate cake for dessert tonight. Still others workout with the goal of, for lack of a better term, “breaking down the body.” This would be: working out solely for the purpose of burning calories, or solely for the purpose of breaking a “good ‘ol sweat,” or for “pushing it until I puke.” There is nothing wrong with measuring your calorie burn in a workout (I think it is very interesting), or wanting to sweat til you drip on the floor. Wanting to puke? That is kind of weird.

But, the problem I see with people who work out for these reasons of “breaking the body down,” is that they don’t see exercise as a way to grow. I see exercise not as a way to burn off the calories from the weekend, or to sweat out the booze from the night before. Those calories are already consumed, there is nothing I can do about them. That sweat won’t help me lose any body fat or gain is only water weight that I will replenish with the Gatorade I drink after my workout. Those reasons are short term thinkers reasons for exercise.

What makes someone the healthiest person in the room? The strongest? The best in shape?

The person who views exercise as a long game. They see exercise as a way to grow and get stronger. They don’t see one workout as a way to reverse the previous weekend, but rather a workout to allow them to eat that burger tonight because they burned 400 calories in a lifting session. These people are proactive and not reactive. They are always looking ahead and not worried about their 4000 calorie Saturday that was filled with pizza and beer. That is in the past, they move on and get back on track. This type of person sees exercise not as a way to get “skinny” then just carry on with life. They see exercise as a part of their life for as long as they live. They see exercise as something that will EVENTUALLY make them better, healthier, leaner, stronger, bigger, skinnier etc, not as something that will make them those things by tomorrow. These people have patience and enjoy the grind of getting a little better every week, every month, every year. They know that in 10 years they will look back and be like “shit, that has been a crazy journey.” But, they won’t close the book, they will want more. They truly and genuinely enjoy the process of getting better. 

That last sentence you just read…that is the what it takes. The healthiest, strongest, leanest, best in shape person you know…they enjoy the process of everything it has taken them to get where they are at.

If you want to be “that person” in the room, is your #1 reason for working out that you enjoy the process? Because that is what it takes to get there.

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