Have you ever stopped to think for a minute exactly why you exercise? Yes, we all know that exercise is important and reaps many, many benefits … I could quote some exercise physiology textbook to you, but I’ll spare you the dry details.
Have you ever stopped to think for a minute exactly why you exercise? Yes, we all know that exercise is important and reaps many, many benefits … I could quote some exercise physiology textbook to you, but I’ll spare you the dry details. But everybody has different reasons why they exercise. Different motivations, you may think of them as. Maybe you’re training for a sport or athletic event … maybe you dig the scene … maybe your doctor told you to do it … or maybe you just plain get a rush out of it.
Now, think back on the initial reasons that began your journey down the exercise road … are they still the same reasons? Is the fire still burning, or are you on autopilot trying to “get through it” because you know it’s good for you? I want you to think about that seriously, because it demands to be taken seriously. Let me put it this way: some of you may have coasted your way through school, while others really put the time and work into it. Which method generally achieves greater results? Unless you’re Albert Einstein, it’s the latter. The same goes for exercise.
As the old saying goes, “the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.” Simply stated but absolutely true.
When you’re dragging your butt through a series of exercises because you know you have to do it and you feel good about having done it, think about the end result. Are you really getting the most out of what you could be getting? You’re exercising but there’s no engine pulling the train. Now imagine this burning desire, passion — whatever you want to call it — driving you, feeding you with motivation, engorging your spirit the same way blood engorges your muscles when you exercise. That’s a real difference. Let’s take you back to when you exercised out of passion and rekindle your flame.
First, let’s look at the terminology so commonly used for exercise: workout. What does this infer exactly? Are you hitting the gym or track to “work out,” as in to get by? Better to think of it as “training.” I don’t care if your goal is to become a world champion mixed martial artist or to simply lower your cholesterol, you are still training for a goal. Think of every workout as a training session. Because that’s what you are doing.
Now let’s look at the all-important goal-setting. Everybody must have a goal for exercise, no matter how big or small it is. And believe me, you’ll be surprised to find that even with your small initial goals, they will inspire or uncover many larger goals that you have. Remember when you first started out and you were driven not by necessity, but by desire? Those are the goals I’m referring to. Now every large goal must be broken up into many small goals to help you get there. Let’s take the example of trying to lower your cholesterol. That is your overall goal, but that is not enough because it takes time. You must also set goals for every training session, every exercise, and right down to every single set! What to you want to accomplish here? And what do you need to do to reach the next level? Those are things you need to think about because if you’re not moving forward in exercise, you’re not going anywhere.
If you’re not reaching your goals, then you need to reconsider either your training methods to get there, or the goals themselves. In most cases, I would choose the former, because there is no reason why you shouldn’t get to where you want to be. How is your time being spent? I hear it so often, not to mention the fact that I see it all the time: people go through the motions when they exercise. They’re comfortable with their routines. Well, are you exercising to be comfortable? I didn’t think so. You’re striving to reach goals, right? This means you need to push yourself. If it were easy then everyone would do it.
The time you spend exercising is your time. Make the best of it. If you’re going to put one-two hours into exercising, then make the most of that time. Also consider the fact that when you pay for a gym membership, time is money. I’m always amazed when I hear how people will pay $60 or more a month on cable TV, but then complain about the cost of gym memberships. Health clubs have a great deal when they receive monthly membership dues from members who don’t even show up! Value the experience. Just as the scholar must take his studies seriously, so must you take your training seriously … and you will get serious results.
David S. Goldstein is a certified personal trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.