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Exercise shouldn't be a punishment

I just got back from a fun-filled vacation with the family at a rustic and outdoors-centric lodge in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. It was anything but one of those “lounge by the pool/on the beach” type of trips…this was a horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing, zip lining, bike riding, shooting kind of place. Non-stop. My break from the action with the kids was going to their simple fitness center. No need to be fancy – there was some cardio equipment, a few dumbbells and a multi-functional weight machine…all you need.

I walked in and there were already two ladies there, one on the rower and one on the elliptical. Now, I’m going to make a lot of assumptions here…but, to me, their faces said it all. Neither of them wanted to be there, and worse, what they were doing was simply a waste of their time. They were each about 10-15 minutes in, barely sweating, and one lady was on and off her phone. Long story short, I got in, did a fast but effective 20-minute lifting circuit, and headed out…dripping in sweat. The ladies were still there, still barely sweating…and worse, still looking like they would rather be anywhere else.

My question is – why bother? From a results standpoint, performing roughly 45-minutes of steady state (same pace) cardio exercise at a pace that allows you to talk on the phone or barely break a sweat…is pointless. However, if you enjoy doing cardio, great! If that is your therapy to get away from it all, that’s awesome. But their faces painted a different picture. After seeing this, I’m beginning to understand why people think of exercise as punishment. It was painful for me to watch, wasting precious vacation time doing something that is of little-to-no benefit and they clearly were not even enjoying themselves. This is what makes people quit…they aren’t enjoying what they’re doing, and worse, they aren’t going to see any results.

exercise should be effective and not punishment
Exercise shouldn't be punishment

Exercise does not have to be, and should not be, punishment. The benefits should always outweigh the costs. Have a plan, work hard, get in and get out. Most importantly, do something you actually enjoy!

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