I HATE WORKING OUT by Paluna Santamaria
This post is a bit of a rant so I apologize in advance for the apparent grumpiness.
To explain myself, I would like to make-up a story that resembles a reality I’ve witnessed many times throughout my years in the fitness industry (boy I feel old sometimes).
Let’s talk about Joanna (sorry if that’s your name, I couldn’t think of another one for my example)
Joanna came to the gym with a body composition goal. Thinner thighs, flatter tummy. She knows exercising is good so she’s been going at it really hard.
Fitting in as much exercise as she possibly can. I see her in the gym at least three times a week, more often than not five or six.
She has made friends. This is great. They first bonded over their desire to look better and eventually became interested in each others lives. They now have coffee together after the gym, they go for brunch every week and plan workout dates.
Weeks go by and Joanna and her new friends are doing everything. They hear weights are good for you so they do weights, they want to burn extra calories so they do cardio, sometimes they do it all in one day. When things starts hurting they add more stretching, maybe a yoga class here and there. Some changes in Joanna’s body are happening but not as many or as quickly as she was expecting so she adds more exercise, she now goes for a run after the gym on top of the running she was doing before the gym.
Joanna is looking tired all the time, her body is aching, she’s got shoulder and knee pain but she’s very determined so she drags (her words) herself to the gym. Better than lying on the couch right?
Months have gone by and now Joanna is drained and a bit depressed. Why can’t I get rid of this? -she points to her abdomen- You guessed well, Joanna is doing too much of the wrong things. She is worn out and now wasting her time in the gym.
Anytime in the gym where you are not in the moment is wasted time. It means you are dragging yourself through whatever movements you are doing and most likely not moving efficiently.
To move better and make the best out of each training session you need to be present, awareness translates into better understanding, better understanding translates into efficient practice, efficiency and the aim for perfection translates into quicker/more rewarding results.
This is why I hate working out.
The word workout implies suffering, punishment, obligation. It sounds like something you do because you are unhappy or because you did something wrong and now you have to fix it.
You are not broken, you simply are not paying attention.
You only feel accomplished at the gym if you feel the “burn”. See the problem with the burn is, it makes you stupid.
It makes you chase the aching of your muscles, the sweat and the pain but you have no idea why you want that, you just know you’ll feel better about yourself when you are done.
You need to ask yourself why, what you are training for. You need to know if what you are doing is conducive to your goals and yes, you do need to have goals. You need to have direction when you go to the gym.
Everyone wants to be jacked and that’s not the problem. There are training programs geared towards that primarily. Programs that will give you purpose and direction. The problem is to run around like a chicken with no head doing everything without understanding anything.
Aches and injuries happen with hard training but being broken all the time is not normal nor is conducive to any goals.
Break your ribs in the olympics to win gold if you have to but don’t break your ribs for being stupid in training because you won’t be able to train 100% for a while which will push you further away from success.
Don’t confuse working hard with working mindlessly, don’t confuse being fearless with being thoughtless.
So let me ask you: is your goal to get destroyed so you can drag yourself out of the gym to get a pizza as a reward for surviving a punishment you chose to inflict on yourself? Then you are doing great. Keep at it. The hamster wheel doesn’t stop until you do, et’s see how long you last.
To make progress you have to understand where you are in the spectrum of training. My colleague and POSE running coach Mikey says it all the time:
“you have to earn the mileage”
It’s the same in every discipline, you have to earn the heavier weight, the more advanced skill. You need to prepare your body for more taxing/complicated skills. If you skip the important steps, you are wasting your time. You will get injured often, you will stall, if you do get results, they’ll be minimal.
Even if you don’t plan on ever performing or competing in a sport you should approach movement as training not as working out. The awareness you develop when you train will translate into efficiency of movement in other disciplines, you will be able to participate in more than one game if you choose to. You will learn faster, you will play harder but safer.
Doing things with intention and purpose is much more rewarding. Is like going to a live concert and videoing with your phone. Why would you that? So you can watch it again later? How about the live experience? Feeling the wind, hearing the music, people singing along, clapping.
No experience is the same twice, why wouldn’t you want to take it in its entirety?
This is why I choose to train. Training to me, means showing up with a purpose. Showing up for the love of movement, for the passion, for the excitement of learning something new about my body or myself as a person.
When you train vs workout you approach every session as a practice. An opportunity to be better. And guess what when you are fully invested in what you do you end up working harder than you think. The difference is, you don’t feel drained. You don’t feel the need to reward yourself because well…you were in the moment. You were not wishing it was over, you were wishing you could stay and practice just a little longer.
Next time you go to the gym, ask yourself why you do what you do, ask yourself if the method you are using is the most efficient and why.
Training should be something you look forward to, not because you’ll get to socialize with your friends (which is an added bonus) but because you can’t wait to explore your body’s abilities.
When you choose to train, you’ll show up even if no one else is there. You’ll show up when you are happy, sad, mad or frustrated.
When you train, you care about your body enough that you will take care of your nutrition and your recovery. You won’t allow yourself to get injured because that means your session will be compromised and if so happens that you hurt yourself, you will listen. You will get checked out, you’ll do what you can to heal your body as quickly as possible.
There are so many possibilities when you train. When you practice a skill vs a punishment you won’t use your time in the gym as an excuse to eat like a pig. You are not an animal. You eat delicious food because it tastes amazing, because you enjoy it, because you need to fuel your body not as a reward.
When you train, you want to take care of yourself because you know the better you feel the better you will perform.
So stop working out and start training. Get strong. Being strong is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and your loved ones.
You may think Im crazy, maybe I am a little bit but I do believe that being strong makes you more useful to society and why are you in the world if not be useful?