Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why Train? Weight loss is just the beginning.

In my years of teaching and personal training, I have noticed a pattern in the way most people view exercise. Often times, when I am interviewing prospective new clients, some of their top priorities will be to lose weight and look good. Secondary goals are often health, longevity and performance. The question is if we all want to look and feel good, why do so many people I talk to have a major problem with motivating themselves to get regular exercise? What about our eating habits? If we know that certain foods and drinks are potentially toxic and have very little nutritional value, why do we find ourselves consuming them?

ANSWER: If you have a problem with motivation to exercise or you routinely eat and drink loads of crap, looking and feeling good must not REALLY be that important to you. You can say all you want about how you would like to lose a few extra pounds or not suffer from as much joint pain, but unless you take the right steps to deal with the issue, then you don't REALLY want to look and feel better.

Listen, being overweight means you don't move enough on a regular basis AND you take in too much of the wrong kind of foods. Joint pain, often a major excuse to avoid exercise, is usually a result of poor nutrition and poor patterns of movement. For all of you who feel achy and tired with old injuries that never heal, you POOR DEARS. If life threw you a curve ball and you were injured in the past, then HEAL yourself for goodness sake! It can be done. Further, usually the method of healing is through movement and exercise, not "laying off of it" or "taking it easy" for too long.

Now, am I suggesting that if you are injured that you should try to work through the pain? No, that's called re-injuring yourself. Scale back the intensity a bit if needed BUT KEEP MOVING. Occasionally, if an injured joint or muscle has become very stiff or dysfunctional (by scar tissue for example), then expect a little pain if you haven't exercised that body part for a while. In this case, take time to warm yourself up adequately and trust your intuition so as to move forward in your exercise program safely.

*NOTE: If you don't know how to exercise without hurting yourself, then please seek the help of a professional trainer.

The difference between a person who remains fit and healthy late into life and the individual who grows fat, stiff, and "old" all comes down to motivation. Maybe you don't REALLY want to look good. Maybe you just say that you do because you want to be attractive and society tells you to be that way. Perhaps you don't want to feel good. If you did you wouldn't have all of your aches and pains to bitch and moan about.

In my personal practice, I have found that you sustain any lasting motivation, I have always needed something more than just the desire to look and feel good. Instead, I train to attain self-mastery of my mind and body. Yes that includes exercising sometimes when I don't want to! However, since the path to mastery is a never-ending journey, I am able to stay motivated to train. Looking and feeling good are nice side effect but not the goal.

Happy Training,


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