I actually never left. I was just dreaming.
Dreaming of where my life is headed. Dreaming of what I did to get to how I feel about where I am (which is thrilled). Dreaming of the people that helped me get there. Dreaming about the people that didn’t and are no longer in my life.
All of it led to my gym. My health. My friends. It led to how I feel when I wake up every single morning, boop my sleeping giant-of-a-dog on his nose, touch my toes to see how I feel, and walk into the bathroom to splash my face and get my eyes uses to the light.
All of it led me to sharing with you how I feel. We all need some sort of therapy. The great thing about my job security is that a lot of people use fitness as therapy. The other great thing is that you are your own individual, and you train for different reasons.
Don’t let anyone tell you what to train for. Odds are if someone is telling you this, they have only trained for one thing in their life.
The main thing is to train for what makes you happy.
If I was a gambling-man, I’d say that 99% of the people in the gym have a focus of looking good naked. Everyone does. We can almost guarantee that.
Some have strength goals.
Some like pizza.
Though I still may check out the goods in the mirror every now and than because I am damn proud of the body I have earned, I just wanted to establish 9 other possibilities why you could train, most of which you should never be ashamed of training for.
1.) Your body. I cringe when people tell me, “I’m not sore. So I guess I didn’t work out hard enough.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be constantly reminded that my back hurts after a heavy dead lift session the next day.
I’ve done some programs (even some of my own a few years back) that just left my body completely wrecked. The great thing about fitness though is that you can prevent this and still maintain the physique you desire. Proper muscle maintenance, stretching, not over-training, and hydration can improve this. The goal with training is constant progression, but if your body aches constantly, try taking a few days out of your week and focusing on mobility and flexibility instead of pounds and reps may not be a bad thing.
People don’t have a problem with over training. We have a problem with “under recovering”. I’ll say it until the day the I die, but people really have no idea how good your body is designed to feel. It’s made for you to endure 100+ years. Try taking time out or your chest and leg days to really analyze how your body feels. It’s much more addicting than a 1 hour pump.
2.) Self confidence. On of the best stories I heard came recently from a new client of mine. I asked them exactly what their fitness goals were and they came up with a brilliant answer. They said, “I want to be confident that if I fell off of a jet-ski, that I could get right back up on it.”
Wow. I myself want to be confident that I can endure everything and anything a client of mine goes through. I want to know how they feel during a handstand or how painful it is to do hip flexor myofascial release. When you pick a confidence booster that doesn’t have to do with taking your shirt off at the beach, you can really set some goals and have something to work for.
3.) Loving yourself. We all have “grey areas” in our life where we contemplate a life change. Where we all hate ourselves and want to be happy. It never has to be like that again.
You can go out and buy a motorcycle on your mid life crisis if you want, but what really holds yourself accountable on loving YOU is working out with people you enjoy being around. It really is the difference maker. Not only are you there to better yourself, but you’re there to better everyone around you, and I’m a firm believer that you need this to be happy.
You need to have that responsibility of making someone’s workout or day that much better to be happy with yourself. If you spend all your money on you and work only to make yourself a better human, I guarantee your life will turn from grey to pitch black in a matter of time. Focus on other’s to make you happy by putting your health first.
4.) Flexibility. This is hands down the most over looked part of fitness. In fact, most people don’t even consider it fitness. If your main goal is to be strong, you need to be flexible. If you want to lose weight, you need to recover your lean muscle tissue faster. Flexibility helps this. You should designate 15-20 minutes a day at being more flexible and you need to designate 3-5 days a week on mobility. It’s simple. It’s boring. But you won’t know it until you try it. I urge all my clients to be flexible. I can’t go home and make them pigeon stretch every night, but I can sure as hell bug the crap out of them to do so while in class.
5.) You’re getting old. Let’s face it. Age is just a number, but a 50 year old body just can’t take the same heat as a fit 25 year old body. However, a fit 50 year old body is a million times better for you than just a regular 50 year old body. Train yourself to never feel old again. Never walk into the gym and say, “It must be my age.” Especially when you’re barely 35.
You’re always in your prime and the only thing making you age more is your mind telling you that you’re too old.
6.) Alcohol. Another “let’s face it”. Your love for hops and stouts is not helping you at all around your waist and in the gym. I’m a hop-head and a craft beer lover myself. I look forward to having a nice flight from a local brewery all the time, but having a beer once a night can be disastrous. I’ve been in this mold, and it’s done nothing but make me gain weight and feel weak. It’s ok to have this hobby under your belt (in fact I think it’s a great hobby), however us hop-heads have to stick together to tone down our pallets and reconsider having a beer a night to possibly having a couple beers every other week. It really is a problem if you’re fitness goals exist.
This doesn’t have to be a beer-loving hobby. It could be any unhealthy hobby that exists when not done in moderation.
7.) Health. Why isn’t this number 1?
It’s always set on the back burner until you or a family member has a heart attack and then you realize, “Well, shit. Maybe I should eat and train right.” We don’t want that to happen. Those aren’t the reality checks that we need.
A huge part of my fitness longevity was when I was diagnosed with a bicuspid on my aorta valve along with a heart murmur. This pretty much means that I have only have 2 of 3 valves on my aorta and it causing my heart to work harder and beat irregularly.
One day I was having heart pain on the elliptical after a strong chest workout and it scared the living crap out of me. It hurt so bad I had to go to my mom’s doctor’s office to see what was wrong. I felt like I was having chest pains. Come to find out after an EKG and a stress test that I just had a strained chest muscle and it wasn’t my heart after all.
HOWEVER, during all those tests they found my heart issues. I would have never known about my heart unless I had strained my boob. Now, it’s on my mind constantly. What if I joined a fraternity and gained 60 pounds after high school instead of getting into the gym? Would I be dead? Would I have had a heart attack? I’ll never know because I’m constantly training to make sure I can do all I can to make sure that I never have my family see me in a hospital or die at a young age.
8.) Bad-assery. Who doesn’t want to feel like a bad ass? Why do football players train? To be good at their sport. Why to CrossFitters train? To be good at their sport. Why do Olympians train? You know. Why do Spartan races exist? Aroo!
Why can’t you go into the mentality that you want to obliterate a workout because it makes you feel like a giant? You can’t say you haven’t stepped foot into the gym because you want to leave there without feeling like an astronaut walking in slow motion to their space shuttle. Or a soldier stepping off a plane after serving our country for a year. That is exactly why these Spartan and mud races were composed. That is exactly why jumping high, running fast, and lifting heavy has become one of the best ways to exercise in the world. Not only does it make you look good, feel good, have amazing heart health, joint strength, and lung capacity; it will also make you want to be cooler every time you leave the gym. You can dream of being a pro, but then you can actually train like one. Fitness is 50% inspiration, 30% perspiration, and 100% attitude.
9.) Hope. It gives you hope. It gives you hope that you can do anything you set your mind to. It gives you hope that you will be able to live longer and experience things. It gives you hope that you will be able to get out of bed without being in pain every day. It gives you hope that you can rely on a huge group of Jungle Gymers to help you relieve stress. It gives you hope that if you can do things that you can accomplish in the gym, that you can most certainly do them outside of the gym.
To me, that’s reason in itself.
This is where your body changes,