Why do you lift?
One day at the gym, I was in the middle of my leg day, working on the leg press machine. I had noticed someone watching me since I started on squats and into the 4th set of my leg press routine. He walked up to me and complimented me on my intensity and then asked me what event I was preparing for. I told him I was not competing and he looked confused and asked me “So… why are you lifting so hard?”
I lift because..
Now ask YOURSELF that question. Whatever your favorite exercise is, whatever your level… whether you are a beginner or resident gym rat, why do you choose to lift? I blurted the first thing that came to mind, “I am trying to lose weight” I said. The man looked disappointed, and then said something along the lines of ‘ok, see ya around’, and went back to his workout.
I don’t think he realize he had unleashed a small storm of thoughts in my head. Why WAS I lifting? Why WAS I driving 20 miles to the gym, torturing myself for 45 minutes to an hour along with other sweaty masochists, and then driving back another 20 minutes home?
It felt like I was going through a game of adlibs in my head. How would you complete this sentence “I lift because..”?
I lift because I… want to look good.
I lift because I… meet like minded people?
I lift because I… need to detox and destress.
I lift because I… love my family and want to live longer for them.
“Let me tell you, when I feel like taking a day off, or skipping a set, I think about these reasons… and I keep going.”
Find your reason
Of course there are countless of reasons you may choose to work out, what’s important is that you have at least one. After much thought I realized I have several. I lift because I genuinely love to be sore. I may just possibly be addicted to the feeling of soreness.
I kept thinking about it though. I wanted to dig past the obvious reasons everyone talks about, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get big”, or “I want to look good”.
I wanted to find my true reasons, to look deeper into myself and figure out what it is that is driving me. I wanted find it, and focus on it, let it push me. I want to let it inspire me to lift with more intensity. To have it in my mind when I start thinking about giving up.
As it turns out, I had several reasons, not just one. It’s true, I do like the feeling of soreness, and the activity clears my mind of stress. But I also lift because:
- I want my child to look at her dad and be proud (whatever that means). I don’t want her to have to defend my weight to her friends, or make her the subject of ridicule.
- I also want to be around my family for a long time. I know my body type and the diseases that are associated with it. I know that I have two basic options… I can take it easy and be an oval (or circle), or I can struggle and be a rectangle. I choose to struggle and be the best rectangle I can be.
- I want to do my best, to be my best. Even if my best is to be a friggin rectangle, that’s what I choose to be… my best.
- I want to be a positive role model. I want to be an example that you should never give up and accept a fate or a destiny you do not want. Whether it’s disease, genetics, work, responsibilities (I can have plenty of excuses). Ultimately it is ME who will decide MY fate, not the circumstances around me. I decide my outcome, and the one thing I can start to control is my body. If I can struggle and be decent, then maybe I can inpire others to struggle and be good, perhaps even great.
Let me tell you, when I feel like taking a day off, or skipping a set, I think about these reasons… and I keep going.
So whats your reason? You must have at least one, have you thought about it? If you haven’t found it yet, think about it… and find it. When you feel the burn of the lactic acid building up in your muscles, let it be the reason you do one more set, or maybe just one more rep, or maybe just 5 more minutes. Remember your reason(s) when you feel like taking it easy, or taking the day off.
Lift like you live
Remember, you are no longer lifting for yourself, you are now lifting for your reasons.
Lift for someone…
Lift for a cause…
Lift for an unfulfilled goal…
Lift with purpose.