Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Sweat?

We all workout for different reasons. Whenever I am asked or think about why I choose to sweat things out as opposed to other hobbies or interests, it is always a little challenging to describe. Yes like most of us, a huge reason is so I can squeeze into pants when the opportunity presents itself. Yes, so I can go wild and get desert with dinner from time to time. I can even admit that I workout because I fear what my backside would look like otherwise. But the more I think about it, the more I know it is for more than that.

People try to start loving fitness all the time, and half the time this attempt at the treadmill results in reinforcing why Netflix and ice cream made you feel much better. It is pretty mind blowing that some people would kill for a full day of gym time, while others would rather go get a splinter and then slam their finger in there car door before they looked at the weight room.

After considering possible reasons as to why there is such a great exercise divide, I have decided that it comes down to individual motivation. Are you the 'will sweat for beach season' kind? Or the 'it fulfills my soul' type? Even having a combination of the two can put you at various points on the 'why bother working out at all' spectrum.

Your workout goals can be the deciding factor in the future of your fitness minded lifestyle. It is important to understand your motivation towards an active lifestyle which will allow you to more easily anticipate how you will handle potential obstacles and the experience as a whole. If you had to generalize the one major reason why people push themselves to the point of physical exhaustion one answer is probably for happiness. You want to feel happy with yourself, your thoughts, your appearance, etc. From there everything else will start heading in the right direction...at least it should if your goals are in order.

Where those trying to break into fitness fall short, are those goals that are materially focused. Meaning you ellipticize because you will be the best looking naked person in the room. You strut around hoping to bump into that gorgeous dumbbell dude you see every day. Or the classic doing laps for the best gym candid to hit Instagram in 2013. These are all extrinsically minded goals. When you are shooting for status over fulfillment, chances are your plan to become a fitness enthusiast will last about as long as your new Nike shoes are in style. Really at this point the goal isn't even to enjoy a workout, but you still pretend that was the original goal. As a result, you the gymstagramer will resolve yourself to the fact that it "just wasn't for you", and bitterly recall that one time you tried...insert grand workout plan here. 

People who act on extrinsic motivations are dramatically less happy and successful than those who are intrinsically motivated.

A few CHAARG girls reaching their goals
The majority of researchers agree that when it comes to the human brain you've gotta use it or lose it. Contrary to how you may feel after your first date with the personal trainer, your mind loves change. One of the best ways to enhance happiness is to change it up in simple ways. Intrinsic goals and trying new things in hopes of personal growth end up being more rewarding and keep you feeling fulfilled. These motivations are why you all of a sudden can appreciate stepping in someones sweat imprint after hot yoga, or why sweat flinging off the back of the treadmill doesn't make you nauseous. When you are in the process of trying out a lifestyle in fitness, it is a beneficial choice to try it for the reward of the sweat, or the sheer accomplishment of trying something new. If you have realistic expectations and hope for how a workout will be rewarding, the habit will catch on and become a part of your lifestyle.

There is a reason material wants are objects. They remain detached and only surface level. Utilizing intrinsic goals in your workout journey will ensure that whatever the outcome is, it will be a meaningful one. This idea clearly applies to anything you could want in life from careers to relationships, and it certainly pertains to achieving a more worthwhile existence.

Whether fitness is already a lifestyle or something you have considered pursuing, have balance, an open mind, and you will never cease to surprise yourself!
-R