I hear it all the time from clients. “I just don’t like working out. I hate it actually. I’m here because I have to lose weight. How fast can I lose ten pounds? If I could just lose ten pounds I’d be happier.” Well, tonight I’m going to tell you that working out isn’t necessarily going to make you lose weight. I’m going to tell you that even if it helps you lose weight, your life may not be better, your outfits might be, but your life? That’s giving a lot of clout to something that honestly does not make you who you actually are. And if losing weight made us happy, wouldn’t that be a relief? Because then we wouldn’t have to address our careers, our relationships, our mindset. We could just diet and life would be wonderful. And if working out made us lose weight, wouldn’t most of us weigh less then? I mean, if all we had to do was workout consistently and weight would be lost and life would be better, we would find ourselves in a utopia! No crime, illness, or crisis would rock us because, well, our weight is where we think it “should” be. Problems solved.
So, are you having fun working out? I recently began to examine this question. Workouts became my career. They became routine and popular. They have been something I just do. Then I began to think. Am I actually enjoying this? I’m Lisa Nicholas, high school’s most athletic, team captain, scholar athlete, muscular, personal training business owner. I MUST enjoy working out. It MUST be easy for me. I’m in a gym all day, everyday so of course I love working out and can do it anytime I want. But, what if I told you that I don’t actually love working out?? What if I told you that I would usually rather be outside than in my gym??
Growing up, fitness was fun, but it was fun because it wasn’t fitness. Bare with me here. Being fit was never about what I looked like growing up. Being fit happened because I was active. It happened because I found it fun to run relay races with my neighborhood friends and play sports, not because I was told to go run around so that I could be fit. I wasn’t a good gymnast because I worked out. I worked out because I was a gymnast. I wasn’t sprinting back on defense in basketball so that I would be conditioned, I was conditioned because I was sprinting back on defense. And I wasn’t in shape because I had muscles, I had muscles because I was in shape. See, the focus was on what I could DO. It was on what was FUN for more. I enjoyed sports because I was with my friends and because I was good at them. I’m pretty sure I was never looking at my 100 pushups and 100 v-sits to end gymnastics practice with as, “Yes I’ll have great abs and shoulders!” I didn’t look at my 2 hour basketball practice as a chance to get my HIIT workout in!
I’m laughing as I write this because I can’t believe how it all changed. How all that fun and desire to be active and excel for ability and fun got lost. It’s sad actually. The more and more I began to use sports and workouts as a way to change my body, the less and less fun they got. The only reward was seeing my body change and like most of society, I wanted that change instantly. So I got more and more extreme in order to see the change I wanted to see. My workout was about calories burned instead of endorphins. It was about which muscles I was working instead of the fact my body can move and do these amazing things. They became methodical and planned. They were researched and designed for appearance. Their only worth to me was to make me look how I wanted to look. A coach I am currently working with asked me, “If you knew your workouts would never effect how your body looked, would you still workout? And which kind of workouts would you do?”
So, I ask you the same question. Are you really having fun being fit or trying to be more fit? And is “fit” just a look to you? Fit and healthy are two different things. Some of the most fit looking people can actually be less healthy than your average body. You see fit. You don’t always see healthy. And these days, I struggle to see fun. After safety, I want to make sure my clients are having fun. Not every workout will necessarily be fun, but in general, they should enjoy coming to work with me. I want them to see beyond their so-called “chubby thighs” or their “big stomach.” There are so many more reasons to workout than just to look a certain way. Think back to your childhood. Were you having fun? What were you doing that was fun for you? Which activity is something you look forward to doing, even if you can’t see the number of calories burned? Maybe you need to take the pressure off your workout. I know it is great to schedule your workouts into your busy life, but what if you made a game-time decision sometimes? Maybe you know which time of day you can workout, but what if you decided at that time which activity would suit you best at that time? You never know what your body needs that much in advance. Your workout is a moment in time and it is a moment that should leave you happy and fulfilled. Maybe it is cause you lifted heavier than you ever have or you ran your 5k in your personal best. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be. Maybe it was a hike to explore a new trail with your friend or your dog. Maybe it was rollerblading after 15 years of not doing it. Maybe it was playing on the playground with your kids, trying a new class at the gym, or playing a rec sport with your friends. If you are dreading your workouts or leaving them only to go home and pick your body apart, I urge you to try something new. Maybe it’s a new workout or maybe it’s just a new mindset. I’m not saying you should forget your goals, but maybe you could make having fun with your fitness one of them.
When I stopped playing organized sports, I thought I had to start working out now. I did what everyone was doing, I joined a gym. And if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have found myself where I am today, but it also helped me create an environment I believe in for my business today. Honestly, there are some workouts that are mainly about safety and fun for my clients. There is no pyramid training, drop sets, or rest-pause training going on in them. That doesn’t make them worthless. In my opinion, it makes them even more worthwhile. They are a chance to take focus off appearance and truly put it on strength, endurance, health, and happiness.
I challenge you to find your fun again and the fitness will follow, I promise.