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’?”
In other words, “what’s the point of training if there’s no end game?” Or, on another level: “if you just want to lose a little weight, is there any reason to take working out very seriously? Couldn’t you 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. And 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 at jimwendler.com because he has a ton of fantastic resources.
Just because his style and his audience are different from ours, that doesn’t mean his answers are any less relevant.
I’ve taken my favorite 8 of his answers and given a brief explanation of why I think they’re something most people need to hear.
“For physical and mental health.”
This was his first answer, and it makes sense that it would be.
Goals are fun. They’re motivating. Adding another 45 pound plate on each side of the barbell for the first time is a rush. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good at the beach.
But the main reason you should be doing this is for your health.
“To challenge yourself physically and mentally.”
The idea of challenging ourselves is something to take to heart.
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 natural to you may be easy, but you’re missing out on so much!
“To develop the bite that may help you through difficult times.”
Through your workouts 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 an injury (from an accident, medical condition, etc.), your body will have what it needs to advance recovery.
“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 they can — we need more activity in our lives.
I’m not saying if we all just started taking the stairs we’d suddenly be in shape. I’m saying if we aren’t intentionally putting significant levels of exercise/activity in our lives, we’ll never come close to making up the difference for all the things we don’t have to do anymore for survival, like chopping wood.
“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 concept of taking action to make a change.
“There is zero negative consequence to being a stronger [person].”
Yet there are so many benefits it would take an entire separate article to even scratch the surface.
So maybe the question, “Why train?” should instead be, “Why not?”
“To be a great example to your children…”
If you have kids and you’ve “let yourself go,” what kind of role model are you being? And then what are they going to do when they grow up?
You may have given up on yourself, but don’t give up on them. Do it for their long-term health.
“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 having a perfect job and life just handed to you. We all have to figure out a way to make it work on our own.
And I think of it for older adults who, no matter how far away you are from needing help in old age, time goes by fast, and 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 now.
I hope this has inspired you to take your training seriously. You don’t have to become a powerlifter who can squat 1,000 pounds to do it. But you do have to challenge yourself and take action.
If you’re ready to do that, email me right now. Don’t wait. And just let me know you’re ready to get started. We can help you from there. As you can see, it will be one of the best things you could do for yourself for many reasons.
If you want to see the original article and see Jim’s other answers, you can do that here.