Mike Robertson, a strength coach out of Indianapolis, posed this question in his recent blog post. It made me think about why I train and why I continue to make it a priority. Sure, most people say they workout or train for something or to look good/make their clothes fit better. As I have gotten wiser in my “old age”, my mindset for training has shifted. I now train to become stronger and move better. Looking better will usually follow suit.
My ultimate goal isn’t to lift a car, although that would make me one bad dude. I train to be stronger. To me, strength also produces resiliency. In college, I battled with low back issues primarily due to poor strength in my hips. Now, I have less back pain that is the result of injury. Sure, my back may feel toasted after a heavy deadlift session, but after proper recovery I am stronger. Strong muscles can help protect the weaker parts of the body such as ligaments or vertebral discs. Strong muscles can help maintain safe and proper positioning, and can make everyday activities easier. For instance, my wife and I will be moving from our apartment into our first house soon. Where I may have previously struggled with a large cumbersome piece of furniture, now I anticipate being better prepared and able to handle these awkward loads much easier. I may only feel like a truck hit me afterward, as opposed to a train.
I train to move better. Admittedly, I have never been and still am not the most limber human being in the world. I was never very good at the sit and reach test they made us do during P.E. in school. During the butterfly stretch, my knees were up by my ears. To say the least, my mobility was terrible. My current training, through my full range of motion, has made me much more pliable. I am now able to touch my toes with relative ease, and can get down into a full deep squat without any problems. I am able to “lift with my legs, instead of my back” when lifting up heavy objects. Better movement quality and efficiency means less injury.
Lastly, I train to scare that boy showing up at my front door 16 years from now to take my little girl out on a date. My father-in-law graciously once told me (as he gripped my hand), “You may be bigger than me, but I can still kick you’re a$$”. I now echo his sentiments.
Sure everybody works out to look better, but maybe we should re-evaluate why we workout. Really think about why you train. What does your training reflect? Let me know why you train!