For the love of the game

Do you enjoy working out?

It’s a Tuesday morning, 7am, bright and sunny!  I decided to work from home today, which is quite different than my typical 4:45 a.m. departure and 4:00 p.m. return. My day is usually filled with coaching, creating workout programing, meeting with coaches and clients and dealing with the many tasks common to any business-owner.  So it was a nice change of pace to stay away from the gym. 
When 10am rolled around, I decided it was time to take a break and do a workout.  Now, I don’t have a nice in-home gym with a rower, a pull-up bar and a treadmill, along with full set of bumper plates and dumb-bells. But I do have a great backyard, a 70-pound kettle bell and a park right down the street.  I convinced Christine to work out with me, and she and I headed to the back yard to discuss what we wanted to do.  We talked about what the movements and schematic should be, what we did yesterday for a workout, what would fit in nicely for today based on tomorrow, and how we each felt (physically). After way too long (proving that democracies are necessary but inefficient), we decided on a strength stimulus with deadlifts and pull ups. It looked something like this:

  • Warm-up: 800-meter run to the park and back
  • Preparation: 3 rounds of 10 squats, 10 lunge steps and a dead hang from the kids’ monkey bars
  • 5 Rounds Not For Time: 10 stiff-leg deadlifts and 5-10 strict pull-ups

We mostly talked between sets and enjoyed eachother’s company.  The deadlifts were easy, and while the pull-ups got tough, nothing was really horrible. After five sets we decided that was enough, and we would cool down with another 800-meter round-trip run to the park.  Along the way, we both knew that we hadn’t really accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was that feeling of hands on legs, out of breath, heart pounding, sweat running down your face.  It would have been easy to talk ourselves into the fact that we just did strength work and that we achieved the stimulus we wanted, but there was an element of fun, work, and accomplishment that was missing.
At the park, we decided to sprint for 10 seconds in the open field.  The lead-up was 30 seconds slow, 20 seconds moderate, and 10 seconds all out!  It started off as a race, and of course, Christine being an NCAA Division I sprinter, she was totally up for the challenge.  It was work, but fun and competitive! After round one, we were hooked.  We did ten rounds total, and trust me when I tell you that it only would have taken five.  In the midst of having fun and enjoying the moment, we forgot about the workout plan for the day -- to just do strength work.  It wasn’t part of the planned stimulus, but it was exciting and…fun!  Now, we can’t do this all the time, but it shows that a balance of structure and spontaneity goes a long way in making a fitness program work effectively long-term.
In the gym, people ask legitimate questions such as “Should I go heavy or light?”  “Should I run or row?”  “Should I squat or deadlift?”  In answer to those questions, it’s important to know what’s helping each individual reach their specific goals most effectively.  I could talk for hours about why you should pick different movements combined with different loads and different running speeds to help you.  However, in all this, we tend to lose sight of one of the most important things about movement and exercise: enjoyment!  Getting caught up in the details, the score, the weight and the comparisons can be dangerous if we aren’t enjoying what we are doing. Most people don't continue if they don't like what they're doing.  Do you?
Let me know if you love working out.  If so, why? If not, why not? 
See you in the gym (smiling)!