It ís a valid question. I encourage you to think about it for a minute or two. What is it you are training for? Are you an athlete? Are you a weekend warrior? Are you simply vain? Is strength training a cure for random bouts of mania? Does constant activity allow you to get your professional or academic work done in a timely matter?
I get this question fairly frequently and it stands to reason. I used to be an athlete but I no longer compete. However, I still train in a similar fashion as when I was a competitive athlete.
People are often curious as to why I demand so much of myself and spend 3-4 hours a week in the gym. Iíve my reasons and here are a few.
Strength Training is a Stress Reliever
If you have a pulse, Iím sure you will agree that life can become stressful at times. Sometimes itís your spouse, your job or even your health. For me, academia tends to be my biggest stressor.
Iím a bit antsy about getting things done and succeeding with my coursework. I get fairly worked up when it comes to deadlines and test schedules.
How do I relieve my stress? By getting under a bar and pushing myself to get stronger about 3 times per week. Thereís something about putting all of your effort into a few solid sets of squats, heavy chins or bench presses.
By the end of my session, Iím exhausted and heading home for a small feast. All my stressors about work and scheduling are subdued and washed away; for a while anyhow.
Iím Still Competitive at Heart
On the inside, I still think like an athlete does. I never want to get beat. I never want to give in. Physical fitness, to me, is a way to continue competing, even if itís only with myself.
Each time I go to the gym, my thoughts are always fixed upon improvement. How can I improve my technique; how can I increase the weight or reps? What must I do to beat my old time? How can I get better?
All these thoughts are signs of a very competitive person. In my opinion, itís the only way to be if you want real, everlasting results from your personal fitness schedule. If your wish is a lean, Greek-like body, compete against yourself at all times.
I Like Taking Care of Myself
A regular workout routine whether it be in the form of cardiovascular training, strength work or a bit of both is going to have a positive impact in just about anyoneís life.
The lasting effects regular exercise can have on oneís bones are all the reason weíll ever need for routine activity. Itís proven that bone density improves with resistance exercise. This can be in the form of jogging, sprinting, weight training and just about any sport or physical activity you can think of.
I also like taking care of my body with whole foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A diet rich in lean meat, fruits, veggies and some goodies now and then are what builds and maintains a healthful physique.
Itís Okay to be Vain
Sometimes I say what others are thinking and oftentimes afraid to admit. Itís true. If many would be honest with themselves, I believe weíd all discover that one of the main reasons we work out is due to concerns about our aesthetics.
I, for one, believe thereís nothing wrong with being vain under two conditions.
1. We must be realistic with our goals and the genetics weíve been given. In my experience, Iíve noticed many people can be very unrealistic when it comes to aesthetic goals. Iíve seen both ends of the spectrum, too.
Iíve coached the young guy whoís had his nose buried deep inside a bodybuilding magazine and wants to look exactly like the genetic freaks. Then I have to explain to him that these guys are on a cabinet full of drugs and unless he plans on taking them too, no one possesses the genetics to be that big naturally.
Then you have the person who is fairly overweight and wants a body like a model in one month. The reality is that it might take 4-6 months to attain such a goal. The truth isnít always what weíd like to hear.
2. We must accept ourselves and enjoy the process of reaching our goals. If running a 5 minute mile or getting below 10% body fat were easy goals to accomplish, everybody would be a fast-running cover model.
I think itís important we learn to accept ourselves, our current level of fitness and then set goals to improve upon them. Then, set more and more goals. Remember, the joy is in the journey, not the destination. I guarantee that once you meet your goal, youíll want to push further or may even want something completely different.
What About You?
What is it that drives you? Why are you pursuing your particular goals? Why are you reading about fitness this very moment?
Let us know in the comments.
JC is the author of JCDFitness, where he writes about fat loss, building muscle and his relaxed approach to all things fitness. Be sure to check out his free eBook, A No-BS Approach to Looking Great Naked and follow him on Twitter.
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