No man has the right to be amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
[I can’t get enough of this, Socrates]
I was just asked in a podcast, “what drives you” and I went and assumed it was in regard to my exercise/training/physical activity (I hope I didn’t make an ass out of you and me). It caught me off-guard because, although there’s obviously something there, I had never actually defined it clearly for myself. I gave some half-ass answer (durrrrr, I can’t even remember what I said) but it was such a bloody great question (thanks, Ish!) that I instantly went into self-chat mode…
PS. If you ever needed a reason to exercise, you will definitely find a few below…
Emily to self: What drives you?
Today, and at this stage in my life, it is:
The need to do something I enjoy. Training is a hobby, something that gets planned around in my week. I’ve found my weird, sick, twisted idea of “fun” and I make sure that I do it. Life is too short for boring, shitty, unmotivating training and we all need to find our own style. There isn’t a lot that is important enough for me to put it on the back-burner – it’s my selfish time-out from being an adult.
The need to be in touch. I use my training (workouts, mobility etc) to foster a very important relationship with my body. As a lifelong work in progress, it helps me to figure out its nuances and how to run it better, it lets me know when something isn’t right and, if I listen really closely, what I can do to fix it (or I just go to DISC for that!)
The need to feel awesome in my skin. There is no denying it: exercise makes you, me, and your dog, feel incredible. If you haven’t experienced this, I’m sorry, but you are missing out on one of the greatest things in life (and one of the most important). I don’t want to be overweight, weak or unfit, or feel lethargic, unhealthy, and unhappy. And I figure, I’m somewhat in control of that and so I choose to work for the opposite. And although aesthetics is a sort-of driving force*, I don’t prioritise that anymore because, if I’m servicing my muscles, organs, bones, and systems (let’s keep it broad, shall we?) that part takes care of itself. I’ve learnt that my confidence comes from the inside out and that, if my body is functioning well, I feel great. And when I feel great, I feel like I look great. And exercise is the pill that helps with all of that greatness.
*For me, if I’m feeling a bit shit because my ass is expanding, and I feel soft/jiggly (both as bad as each other), my main thought is “you haven’t been eating well or exercising, you’re not looking after yourself so no wonder”. As much as I dislike feeling “fat” (that’s a legit feeling for any person of any size by the way), I dislike the fact that I’ve dropped the ball health-wise more.
The need for positive psychologicals. I am a complicated individual – I stress easily, I overthink and overwork myself, and I experience bouts of depression. Exercise, bless it for all its glory, helps me to destress and keeps me in check-ish (#supportcraig). I don’t enjoy being depressed, or being a psycho biyatch for that matter, and if I know that I can do my part to influence (I can’t control, unfortunately!) my psychologicals positively, then I’m responsible to do it. For my own sake, and for my favourite people (#supportmyfamily). How magical that I can be a better, nice, happier person with medication that is natural, free and can be done anywhere and at any time (oh, and whose side-effects include kicking ass and having biceps?!)
The need to respect my body, as it thoroughly deserves. I am so proud of, grateful for, and astounded by my body and what it can do. Think it conceited if you will, but that’s not how I mean it. In fact, I wish we’d all get on the “I love my body” train because your body is just as worthy (come join me!) I’m definitely not going to get into anything scientific here (I’d butcher it big time) but I think about the MILLIONS of things that are going on in my body at any one time in order for me to, for example, type on this computer – my sight, my memory of touch-typing, my coordination and muscle control, my brain deciphering my thoughts, my heartbeat, my inhalation and exhalation, my nerve impulses allowing me to feel the keys etc etc ETCETERA. Never mind gym stuff! Can you even fathom the complexity of everything that goes on that allows you to function hour-to-hour, day-to-day, year-to year? It is MIND-BLOWING. Don’t even get me started on people making babies: OUT-BLOODY-STANDING. You could be the dumbest person in the world, yet still build another human. That’s not mean is it? Well I’m keeping it in there anyway (#yolo).
If you are reading this and have no major bodily hiccups, I hope you understand the many functions, chemical reactions (and stuff), that are successfully going on in your body that are allowing you to live (first and foremost) and to have full use of your body – physically or mentally. I mean, we’re all different here and we all have our things; I’m not saying that anyone is ever free of hiccups (I definitely could have thought of something cooler than hiccups) but am simply speaking of the big stuff. Every time I learn of someone that is disadvantaged or restricted in any serious way, I always say a silent “thank-you, body” and I carry on, gratefully, with my relationship with exercise.
The need for challenge. For whatever reason, I value and admire physical potential and I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my own. This is one of reasons I fell in love with my husband, and why I enjoy being surrounding by many of the BASE 3 bunch. Probably from my Father, it has been engrained in me (and I love that it is so) and is probably the biggest driving force during more difficult workouts. If I can overcome XYZ, I feel accomplished and proud of myself. If I can’t, it’s just provided the next challenge. I don’t care who you are, there is nothing better than working for something and seeing progression or achievement.
The need for identity. Exercise is part of who I am; a personal value, a priority, and something that I am good at. I am a fit, strong person, and I am proud to be that person. For now, this “identity” drives me, but I’m sure this will change in the future as circumstances, abilities, and priorities change. It’s a bit of a scary one, actually, and I have no idea how I will handle the adjustments (the next challenge perhaps?!)
The need to look after my body and to be responsible for that I can control. We all decline with age and I plan to do all I can to be the strongest, the fittest and the most able-est (real word) at any stage over the rest of my life. If I can prolong or prevent certain ailments and/or injuries, then I’m going to try. We are all susceptible to the same lifestyle diseases that riddle society, and if I can do my part to decrease the risk of this happening to me, you bet your ass I’m going to. I once said to a group of uninterested corporates, “if you looked into your future and knew that you were going to have a heart attack, but you didn’t know if you lived or died, would you start doing all you could now to avoid it?” We should keep in mind that, to some extent, what we do today is forming our body’s future state. Yes, there will be things that are out of my control, but, it is my responsibility to serve my body best so that it can serve me best (we’re a team here). And if things do end up being out of my control, then at least I felt bloody great on the way there.
It's a great day when you learn something about yourself! Now your turn: What drives you?