Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I work out?” Let’s have a really good think about it for a moment. Why did you really do the exercises that you did at your last workout session?
Like many things in life, understanding why we do what we do is important so we know what we should be investing our time and energy in.
For example, setting a specific fitness goal will set the kinds of exercises and activities that you should explore and pursue.
- Feeling really stiff and want to be more flexible? Maybe you should try pilates or yoga
- Feeling scattered and want to be more calm and mindful? Maybe you should try meditation
- Feeling really slow and want to sprint faster? Maybe you should try Tabata intervals
Everything that we do leads back to our core “why” and the goals that we set in pursuit of serving it. Without understanding our core intentions, we’re simply ships lost at sea.
Working out without a 'why'
In the case of a lost ship, she simply goes wherever the waves take her. If the waves roll west, she'll float west. If the waves roll east, she'll switch up and roll east too.
The problem is that she’ll never actually make it to any destination - she'll just be floating around forever. In fact, she wouldn't even know why she was in the middle of the ocean in the first place.
In our case, we’d simply turn up at the gym and work out. We’d look around at what other people are doing, or follow what we had read or heard in the past, then try out whichever machines and equipment are available.
Will we benefit from exercising without understanding our “why?” Sure, there would have to be physical benefits. Depending on what you’re doing, you might lose weight, increase your endurance and generally feel better about yourself. However, don’t count on those benefits making you feel fulfilled. Without the exercises being directed towards serving some sort of purpose, there won’t be any way for you to know that you have achieved anything. You’ll just be exercising for the sake of exercising.
Does the idea of aimless exercise sound absurd? Well, it’s probably a lot more common than you might think.
Working out with a 'why'
In contrast, having a clearly defined purpose focusses your attention. It aligns the exercises and activities that you do to help you reach your greater goal.
It doesn't just help you find the way to achieve your goals - it pushes you to look for the best way.
And on the days that you feel down and out, your "why" gives you the inner strength to get back on the horse to keep on keeping on.
So what's your "why?" Why do you work out?