The question was posed like this:
“I’m just an average person. I don’t intend to run a 5k. I’m not interested in being a bodybuilder. I don’t have a specific goal or performance aspirations as they don’t pique my interest. So what is the reason to do this…
“Am I just going to be a good ‘worker outer’?”
The heart of this question could be rephrased something like this: “If I just want to lose a little weight, is there any reason to take exercise seriously and follow a well-designed program? Couldn’t I just kinda go and do whatever?”
What’s the point?
Jim Wendler is a straight to the point, no BS kind of guy.
He’s also an Elite Lifter who has squatted 1,000 pounds. He knows a lot about training, and has a big following.
The question at the top of this blog was addressed to him by one of those followers. Jim responded with a phenomenal article that gave 17 one-sentence, inspired, sometimes very blunt answers.
His style suits his audience well. If that’s your cup of tea, and you’re not easily offended, you should check him out because he has a ton of fantastic resources.
Just because his style and audience are different from ours doesn’t mean his answers are any less relevant.
I’ve taken my favorite 8 of his answers and given an explanation of why I think they’re something we all need to hear.
1. “For physical and mental health.”
Goals are important. They’re motivating. Adding a 45 pound plate on each side of the barbell is a rush. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good at the beach.
However, when you only care about one specific goal, you can lose it as quickly as you achieve it because you don’t have anything more long-term in mind.
You can, and should, always create more goals. But the main reason to have a well thought out plan — the thing to always keep in mind — is your health.
2. “To challenge yourself physically and mentally.”
Anyone can trudge their way through some random workout, giving just enough effort to feel like you’re doing something, but never actually working harder than you did the last time.
What’s tough is staying disciplined enough to stick with a program over time, and challenging yourself to improve as you go.
It’s uncomfortable to be challenged, but we need it. You know what a life devoid of any challenges is?
Never experiencing anything beyond what comes naturally may be easy, but you’re missing out on so much!
3. “To develop the bite that may help you through difficult times.”
Through the discipline mentioned in the previous answer, you develop grit. You learn how to endure — how to stare a difficult task in the eye and determine that you will get through it and come out stronger on the other side.
Also, if and when you experience a physical setback (injury from an accident, medical condition, etc.) your body will have what it needs to advance recovery.
4. “Because we don’t have to chop wood anymore.”
In a world where we hardly have to move — where able bodied people step onto an escalator and immediately stop walking just because we can — we need more activity in our lives.
But you can’t stop there. We won’t suddenly all be in great shape just because we start taking the stairs.
You have to intentionally put significant levels of exercise in your life, or you’ll never make up the difference for all the things you don’t have to do anymore for survival, like chopping wood.
5. “To understand that there is cause and effect to action; and inaction.”
Instead of sitting around talking about how you’d like things to be different, or worse yet, sitting around tweeting to everybody how they should be different, get up and do something.
Exercise won’t solve all the world’s problems, but it will exemplify the real life principle of taking deliberate, measurable action to make a change.
6. “There is zero negative consequence to being a stronger [person].”
Yet there are so many benefits I could write a thousand more blogs on it and barely scratch the surface.
So maybe the question, “Why take exercise seriously?” should instead be, “Why not?”
7. “To be a great example to your children…”
None of this stuff is easy, but few people would argue its importance. Your response to that fact gives your kids one of two examples to follow:
If there isn’t an easy solution, give up.
Find your path; it’s worth the fight.
What kind of role model are you being? How will it affect them in their education, career, relationships, etc.?
8. “To learn self reliance.”
I love this for several reasons.
For my kids, as I think about my son growing up, I want him to be a strong, independent man, capable of caring for a family instead of needing to be cared for. But I also want my daughter to grow up to be an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to feel secure.
I think of it for young adults who have to figure out that life isn’t as simple as going to school, then being handed a perfect job and life. We all have to figure out a way to make it work on our own.
And I think of it for adults of any age. No matter how far away you are from needing help in old age, what you do now affects just how soon that time will come. Keep your self reliance as long as you can by training your body sensibly now.
You don’t have to become a powerlifter who can squat 1,000 pounds to take exercise more seriously.
The point of this isn’t to make you hustle into the gym and get your butt kicked. That’s the opposite of what I’m talking about.
Taking exercise seriously means:
Understanding that your workouts must be fully thought through.
Accepting that it takes time to get results that will last.
Being willing to acquire the knowledge, or help, to make it happen.
It doesn’t matter whether you end up working out a little every day, a lot every few days, or something in between. The process will be different for everyone based on your goals, lifestyle, personality, and a million other things.
Regardless of all that, there’s one more thing you have to do…
Most people have no clue where to start. That’s fine. We can help with that, but you have to take the first step.
Email me right now. Don’t wait.
Let me know you’re ready to get started. I’ll take it from there. As you can see, it will be one of the best things you could do for yourself for many reasons. Click here to email me.
(If you want to see the original article and see Jim’s other answers, you can do that here.)