Work can be hard. And the same goes for working out. I think for many people, it is too difficult to get over that first proverbial hurdle, where muscle soreness stops and progress begins. Day after day when their muscles are sore and achy and the needle on the scale is stationary — when the progress isn’t there — the easy decision is to quit. Especially those who are “out of shape.”
For many, exercise is a chore. It’s something to check off the list along with taking out the trash, folding the laundry and mopping the floor.
So they stop. They stop exercising consistently.
What if their focus was different? What if instead of viewing exercise as hard work and an insurmountable task, they shifted their focus towards a positive goal? What if instead of trying to “lose weight” they tried to “gain muscle.” What if instead of running away from something they strived for something?
This is how it was for me.
Verbiage matters. When we evaluate the words we use to describe our exercise habits, it is often less than motivating. And the intent behind our actions matters, as well.
Working out implies exhaustion and depleting your energy stores. Many of us were athletes once upon a time — that is where we began to work out. We may have been taught to “leave it all on the field,” and it’s really not a workout unless you’re physically spent and limp as a noodle at the end of your session. The thing is that most of us are not teenage athletes anymore. We don’t recover and repair as quickly as when we were 17.
To be sure, as developing athletes, our coaches were training us for the sports we were playing. But this doesn’t change as we age.
Training vs. working out
In later years, it is probably even more beneficial to look at exercise as “training” as opposed to “working.” You may be elderly and need to train the ability to rise and stand from a seated position without assistance. You may be a young mother and want to train your body to be able to carry your child and a bag of groceries into your house without difficulty. You may be a desk jockey and want to train your body to withstand the detrimental effects of sitting eight hours a day. Heck, you may be middle-aged and newly single and would like to train your body to be more attractive to a potential mate!
You see, training is valuable and it’s much more goal-oriented than habitually exhausting our bodies with the hopes of achieving a worthy goal.
Training also implies progress over time. What I mean by this is that we don’t train one day and reach our goal, rather we set up a system of regular consistent training that eventually leads to goal accomplishment. Often setting a high goal is actually demotivating, because it seems so unattainable!
Being fit is something I highly value. And that is precisely why I stopped working out. I’ve found it more beneficial to view my exercise as training. Positively training my body to be able to continue to function at a high capacity is more motivating and more enjoyable.
How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on working out, exercise and training. What is your motivation behind it and how has it improved your life?