Before I delve into this post, I’d like to put some things on the record. I am not currently in the best shape of my life. I do not look like a fitness model, far from it. I am NOT coming from a place of judgement or telling you what you need to do. I’m merely sharing my own experience. I’m posting this, not to judge anyone, but because I’m passionate about the subject. I was an MMA instructor for years and for a brief time, a certified personal trainer. Exercise has played a major role in my life, and I wanted to share my experience. 🙂
Why Exercise Does NOT Matter
I have (and still do sometimes) exercised for the sake of vanity. I can have a mental picture of what I want to look like and use that as motivation for exercise. I picture myself looking a certain way and achieving a sense of satisfaction within myself. I was curious and decided to look up what vanity actually means. I don’t know about you, but I use way too many words without really knowing their definition. Anyway, vanity means, “lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness.” Ugh! This is not what I wanted to hear. However, it makes sense for me! My fitness regimens and diets that are motivated by vanity, NEVER LAST! I think for me personally, the hollowness of being motivated by vanity isn’t enough to make the hard decision to exercise when I’m exhausted and don’t want to make time.
Side note: I don’t mean to imply that a person shouldn’t be confident in their appearance; in fact I mean the opposite!
Pride (not to be mistaken with confidence)
This is the other reason my resolves don’t last. Let’s say vanity has motivated me to exercise to the point that I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I’ll give you an uncensored preview into my thoughts at this point, “I’m amazing! I look great! Well, that was I wanted. I don’t really need to do tomorrow’s exercise, because I already look amazing and that’s all I wanted out of this.” Don’t get me wrong, I might actually be amazing and look great, but clinging to that in the spirit of puffing myself up WILL NOT LAST FOR ME! I usually stop exercising (because my vanity has been briefly satisfied), but then I fall back into feeling terrible. This usually makes me feel insecure, causing me to long for vanity; the achieved vanity puts me in a puffed up state of pride, but that doesn’t last. Do you see the cycle?
I’m embarrassingly competitive. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being competitive, but it depends on the spirit of the thing. If my exercise is mostly motivated for the sake of comparison, it won’t last. Comparing myself to someone can result in two ways. One, I come up short; this makes me feel insecure and I might even quietly resent the person I compared myself too. Second, I come up better; this makes me judgmental and unemphatic towards the person I was comparing myself too. There’s a great book that dives further into the subject that you can find here. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book! Kay Wills Wyma writes in an incredibly relatable way and makes me feel normal!
Why Exercise DOES Matter
Exercise DOES matter though! Scientifically speaking, exercise has been proven to increase your life expectancy, lowers your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, improves heart-lung function, reduces stress and gives you an endorphin boost!
Take Care of Yourself
We only have one body while we are on earth and we should take care of it! I’ve been tempted with the idea that “I’m young now, so I should just enjoy myself; I can worry about my health when I’m older.” The thing is though, I would like to lay a healthy foundation now, while I’m young. As a Mom, I can completely tell the difference in my energy when I’ve gotten to exercise! I have more energy and am less stressed.
There is no uniform bar of success when it comes to exercise! Through prayer and wise counsel, the Lord has been working in this area of my life. When you are free of the cycle of vanity and pride, free of comparing yourself others, there is so much freedom, confidence and joy to be had! It’s a hard thing to do, but I encourage you to examine your heart and motives in regards to exercise. The results of freedom and confidence don’t come from a HIIT routine, but from having the right motives.
Set An Example
This is a personal reason and by no means applies to everyone. I personally, want my daughter to have a healthy relationship with exercise. I want to be aware of my speech around her in regards to exercise. I want her to see me joyfully exercising! This is an ideal that I have by no means achieved, but I believe in having goals.
- Thanks for reading this post! I’ve got to be honest, writing this was kind of scary! It’s a very personal part of me, but it’s something I believe in. I hope it has offered you a bit of encouragement or at least entertained you. You can find more practical ways to prepare for exercise success here.
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