The Real Reason We Workout
So why do we workout? What is it that keeps us coming back? Is it really just about the booty? Or, is there more to it? Something more that we tap into when the initial fun of exercise has worn off?
I know for me, as much as I love baking these cakes, the real draw for me is what it does for my emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
Working out, that physical movement of energy in the body, carries so many psychological and emotional benefits.
Physical movement, of all kinds, has this same effect.
Think about the last time you ran down the street after your kids, or went out dancing all night, or even that feeling of bliss during that impromptu morning dance party in the kitchen! Or… well you know…when you’re sharing that cake with your lover. (Yes, that counts!)
So think about that…we’re meant to move. Our bodies are meant to move and be physical! They’re meant to run, jump, and play! To laugh, dance and groove! We all have our own innate ways we naturally want to move. Some of us gravitate to rhythm, like dancing. Some of us gravitate to the flow, like yoga. Some of us gravitate to agility and quickness, within sports like soccer and basketball. And some of us gravitate to power movements, like the explosiveness in sprinting, or in movement patterns in the gym during our workouts.
It’s really all about what we gravitate to, and what we enjoy.
I know that I’ve always gravitated to explosive movement. The wind up and power explosion through the hips while hitting a softball, that’s what I grew up doing. So naturally, when I stopped playing sports, I gravitated to force driven movements like deadlfits and kettle bell swings. Theres’ something very visceral about loading energy through the largest muscle in the body, (the CAKES!) and then driving that energy through the hips to release it. It’s very powerful. After a workout like that, I feel like I can go accomplish anything!
There’s two sides to my love of this type of movement for exercise:
One, power driven movements recruit a lot of muscles fibers. That explosive use of energy in the fibers creates micro tears in the muscle, that when they repair, they repair stronger and tighter. This, spread out over the full muscle, creates a nice high and tight booty! Yup! That explosive power is what lifts and shapes those cakes!
But then, what’s even more exciting about this type of explosive movement, is what it can do for the psyche. Have you ever just wanted to PUNCH something when you’re upset or angry?! Yes! That’s your body wanting to physically release emotional and mental energy. It’s an actual physical outlet for that distress. That’s what our body does.
So for me, through my formative years in college and just after, when I was trying to create a life as an adult, I consistently took to the gym let out some of that frustration and confusion. It was my life saver. Whenever I didn’t have the answer for life at the moment, and I would start beating myself up for not doing more or doing better, I would get to the gym to work that out.
THIS is why we really workout. This is the feeling that keeps us coming back. The benefits beyond the physical is what really taps into our want and need to workout.
So this is what I fall back on when I just mentally don’t want to workout, or when I know I’m dragging physically. I find that thing that I can tap into, that goes beyond the physical. I’ll get on the treadmill and run, with my favorite music on, getting into the beat and the flow of that song. Or I’ll grab a kettle bell and let all my frustrations and anxiety go through swings. Or I’ll get on the rower, close my eyes, and use that rhythm, to get into a visualization about whatever it is that I’m wanting to accomplish in life.
This is how I’ve kept going with my workouts when I’ve just wanted to walk away from it altogether. This is what has kept me interested in my physical well-being, when I could care less in the moment about my physical appearance. I’ve tapped into the thing beyond the physical. I’ve dug down deep into the mental and emotional benefits of exercise and movement. And that’s how I’ve kept it a consistent part of my life over the past 15 years.
Just like anything else, for a lot of us at least, there has to be some other incentive for us to continue something when that initial excitement wears off.
So, when baking the cakes has lost its luster, remember the greater benefits. Remember the high that movement gives you. Remember that powerful feeling of accomplishment. Remember how you feel when you finish a workout… like you can take on the world! Remember how strong you feel moving that weight and pushing that energy through your body.
Take note of those feelings. Those are what will keep you after your goals.
And just remember, we’re all individuals. Find that type of movement that you love. The movement that no matter what, puts a smile on your face and lights you up from within. So when you’ve found yourself in an exercise rut, THAT’S the movement you go back to.That’s your “happy workout” place. Go there first. Get your mental state back on track, start feeling that euphoria of movement again…. and that will get you where you need to go!