Well, well, well, it’s 2011 and I can look out onto the street and sense the determination in people’s faces as they grit their teeth and trudge to the gym. It’s time to get it done. It’s time to…blah. Most of these people will do the same thing they did last January. Start strong and flame out trying to fit their square selves into round holes.
Most of us have the idea that there is something we “should” be doing as far as exercise. It’s a dangerous line of thinking when the industry can convince us that is we’re not signing up for a gym membership that’s we’re not serious about our health. Or that if you’re not on a treadmill at 6 AM before work, sweating and grimacing with all the other brainwashees.
I’ve been there. I’ve believed it all and I’ve jumped through the hoops. I believed:
- People who are serious about their health always lift weights. No.
- People who want to get serious about quality of life take something as stupid-sounding as Gakic Hardcore. Pass. I did buy it, and that link will tell you about my shameful day in GNC.
- If you’re not using kettlebells you cannot develop the “pain tolerance of an immortal,” whatever the hell that means. The definition of immortal is someone who doesn’t die, not someone who can’t feel pain. Sloppy copy. And yes, I ate it up.
There is a better way. Forget about what anyone else says is best. There is no best, only best for me and best for you. We are the ones who make those decisions, not glossy magazines full of steroid-junkies and hype that corrals people with more testosterone than brains.
Exercise is simple. It is about elevating your heart rate and making progress towards goals that are important to you, and ideally, fun. The notion that exercise is synonymous with pain is ridiculous and damaging. And it keeps people who would like to be healthier in a less-healthy state simply because they have such a constricted view of what constitutes exercise.
Here’s how you can make exercise fun. This is aimed at the people who think they hate exercise.
Find a sport
I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned this before, but there are few things I enjoy more than a fierce, fast-paced game of racquetball. I would rather play racquetball than screw around with barbells and kettlebells any day of the week. Why? Because it is fun. I got out of the habit because a couple of guys I would play with vanished, but it was usually the high point of my day.
It got me moving in ways that nothing else did. It made me look forward to breathing hard and competing. Nobody I know always looks forward to lifting weights and running, especially not if they are trying to meet a schedule. Again, the magazines will make you believe that there is something you MUST do on Monday if you are really ready to make progress.
Screw that. I want to do what is fun and what fits my goals. And that’s the reason why I do lift weights as well as play racquetball–I have goals that racquetball can’t satisfy. More muscle. More strength. A bigger deadlift. And so on.
But I’m a rare case. I love to work out. I love the progress. I love the process. The results. The things I learn about myself and the confidence it gives me in so many other areas.
For the people who have never learned how to look forward to exercise, I believe that every adult would benefit by learning a sport. Ping pong, racquetball, basketball, softball, golf, speed walking (I have no idea if that’s a sport), lifting weights, olympic lifting, tetherball…we could go on all day.
What is better than not exercising at all? Doing anything. Our bodies want to move. We should give them movements that are fun for us.
I’m starting to repeat myself and ramble, but I’ll say it one more time: you do not have to accept anyone’s expectations of your own fitness levels. Do what you like. Once you are liberated from other’s opinions on this matter, you can explore. Doing something is better than doing nothing. Doing something that is most beneficial for you is best.
Also, there is a very easy way to find out what is best for each of us. If you have not yet checked out Grip and Rip from Adam Glass, that has made exercise more fun for me than anything else I have tried. More results, more progress, more enjoyable, and less structured. That is my affiliate link, so I’ll get paid if you go buy it. If that bothers you but you are still interested in buying it, you can get it directly from Adam here.
Wishing you the best year yet. There is no reason not to get healthier this year. It is the best gift you can give yourself.
Strength training for body and mind