I got into a brief, but interesting, conversation with a friend at work today. She is aware of my P90X workout commitment and saw that I was bringing in some "unhealthy" snacks to work. She chuckled and asked how the workouts were going. I think she was surprised when I said they were going very well. The conversation quickly turned to the fact that many people have very different reasons for working out or being physically active.
Some people work out to look good. They appreciate their own physical appearance and want others to appreciate it as well (or maybe they don't appreciate their appearance and want to make it better).
Some people work out to lose weight. I think most people claim to be in this category, but some have to lose weight (doctor's orders kind of thing) while others are probably a hybrid between the "look good" and "lose weight" categories.
Some people work out for the energy boost. Anyone who has consistently exercised has felt the endorphin rush and metabolism increase that comes from sustained cardio work. Exercise is a great way to improve your mood if you are feeling depressed.
Some people work out to get rid of negative energy (anger, stress, etc.) This is different from the energy boost people because the goal is to exhaust oneself rather than rejuvenate. It's hard to stay angry when you're physically tired.
And lastly, some people work out so they can live the rest of their life however they want to (i.e. eat whatever they crave, participate in whatever they enjoy, and whenever they want to do those things).
this last category is the main reason why I work out. I do want to prove to myself that I can do the workouts. I am interested in making my physical appearance more appealing. I want to maintain a healthy weight (in recent years it has started to fluctuate more than I would like). I love to get that energy boost and also get rid of that negative energy. But deep down, my main reason for committing to working out has everything to do with being able to do whatever else I want (eating, playing sports, etc.) whenever I want to do it.
I want to not feel too guilty about eating a monstrous bacon cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate shake. I want to be able to jump into a pickup basketball game no matter what time of day it is. I want to have energy available for whatever comes my way, while also being able to just have a lazy day and not feel like a slothful person because of it.
Song Of The Day:
Again, a little stretch here, but I like the concept of Billy Joel's hit song "An Innocent Man" as related to my reasons for working out. There is a tremendous sense of guilt associated with most forms of exercise and eating, etc. I'm working hard so I don't have to feel any of that guilt for the indulgences I grant myself. I think we would all be a little happier if we took that approach.