Ever stopped to think about the actual purpose of fitnessing?
“That’s easy Ryan. To get in shape, lose fat, move better, look good, feel better, live longer, . . . ” Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers because we’re all different.
The desire to “fitness” is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, in depth. Maybe I’ve been in the biz too long or maybe it’s just that I’m getting old, but honestly, what is the real purpose of doing this fitness thang? And why does it really even matter?
At the very heart of it, I would say the real purpose of fitnessing is simply to supplement your life.
Fitness to me is about helping you live a better life. Not living to do more fitness.
This might come as a surprise since I am in the fitness biz. The truth is, I hate saying that I’m in the fitness biz. I like to think that I’m in the education business; helping people figure out exactly what they need. And that’s the thing, in order to live a better life you need to know what you’re supplementing for. So how do you do that?
Let me reframe this by asking you a different question.
Why do you need to exercise?
Think beyond what magazines and social media are telling you. Sit down and really reflect on just why the hell you need to exercise. I’m willing to bet the reason you think you need to exercise, the supplement, and the dose probably doesn’t match what you actually need for your life. I’m not telling you that you need to stop exercising. I’m just asking you to pinpoint the reason you need to exercise. What do you need to be able to do in your life that needs that fitness supplement?
Once you figure that out, you can guage the minimum fitness dosage you’ll need to get you the desired results. Minimum dose for maximum results. More doesn’t mean better when it comes to exercise. Figuring out the right amount will free up time for you to do the cool stuff that really you want to do, like …… renacting Dead Pool 2 in your backyard. It’s hard to get it right; we either over supplement, or more often, under supplement. It’s rare to meet someone who knows exactly what level of supplemental support they need from fitness.
Figuring it out is kinda tough and it’s something that I’m constantly adjusting myself. You’d think I’d have it all sorted since it’s part of my job, but there’s always something new to factor in.
We grow, we age, we change our minds, and life . . . well, life is life.
We’re all at different stages and levels so it only makes sense that we figure out what it is that we need for ourselves. Having a good coach that you trust to guide you is a wonderful thing, but your coach can only make suggestions. You are the one that needs to dig deep and figure out if their suggestions are in line with what you need at this moment in your life. Sure, there are times when your coach can see beyond whatever life challenges you are currently having and give you exactly what you need. That’s great. But a word of general advice regarding coaching, if your coach tells you they have all the right answers, or worse, that their way is the way . . . run! Put your Merrels on and get the hell outta there!
It amazes me how many fitness pros are out there telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Hell, I’m one of them. 🙂
What really drives me absolutely bonkers though are the coaches that claim they have the answer to everything. I’m not saying that there aren’t great young coaches out there, just that if you are older than your coach, they might have a hard time empathizing with where you’re at in your life. What works for a person at age 25 doesn’t mean it’ll work for someone at age 40.
When I was younger I loved working out just for the sake of it; trying new moves, the feeling, the look it gave me. Yeah, it helped me with my martial arts, but there was some other elusive reason aside from performance that kept me plugging away at it every day.
In hindsight I think it was totally normal, but I know now that I could have gotten better results across the board had I been smarter with the kind of work and amount that I was doing.
I’ve learned a lot about training and how my body reacts to different styles of fitnessing. The biggest take away I’ve learned is this; listen to your body and focus on choosing the right fitness dosage rather than working out simply for the sake of it.
Nowadays I look hard at what I need to supplement for. I choose the minimum dose that will give me the desired effect. Typically this means doing a LOT less – but more effective – exercise than I used to.
The cool thing is my life no longer revolves around working out all the time. Most of my workouts are more play-based than hard-core. I can enjoy the other things in my life that I want to spend more time on. And, because I’m focused on doing the minimum, my body feels better and I have more time for recovery. That’s a big one for me. Not being sore for my real passions like BJJ, hiking, and whatever else, is a huge plus.
I’m not suggesting that you workout exactly like me. What I am suggesting is that you figure out precisely what you need before you start smashing away at a program just because you feel like you should.
If the real purpose of fitness is to supplement your life and not hinder it . . .
- Figure out WHY you need the fitness
- Try and aim for the “minimum dose for maximum results”
We’re all different and at different stages in our lives. It’s up to you to try and live the best life you can.