So too can be the net of the relationship between the fitness enthusiast and their exercise of choice. In many ways a relationship with exercise is like a marriage; there needs to be respect, appreciation, trust, and a reason to want to continue each day, each week. Should there be no deep connection between a person and their chosen form of exercise – no passion nor appreciation, they may find themselves going through the motions. In-turn, they will be wasting their time, their energy, getting no return on their investment, and becoming resentful of the scenario as a whole. As in a human relationship, many fitness enthusiasts go through the motions of their daily workouts when they should be channeling those energies into another form of exercise.
There are many people who dread going to the gym each day to lift weights, yet each day they go. They drudge, they grunt, they grumble, and the get nothing from it at all except tired, achy, and put off by the experience — and then they resent their exercise and think hastily of it When confronted by friends, family, or co-workers, they speak of their exercise in expletives and utter disrespect. Their dedication to this relationship should be applauded – for that daily commitment is nothing short of admirable, even if it isn’t that productive. But their feelings for the relationship aren’t conducive to success, and I am convinced that people who disrespect their chosen form of exercise, as in disrespecting a spouse or partner, get little if anything from it.
Though I will always champion strength training as the best all around form of exercise, these same people who loathe lifting weights, might be better off going to a yoga studio each day and bending, stretching and contorting their way to an improved body. Perhaps a workout in an aerobics class might be better appreciated, a group bootcamp workout done on the beach, or a marshal arts class might serve well to consummate a better fitness fit. And speaking of fit, there’s always CrossFit. In return, the investment of their fitness heart and soul might offer much more to, and garner more from their relationship. One thing we can all agree on; a bad relationship can not be forced — nor can a strong one be intentionally divided.
Like a human relationship, a long-term relationship with exercise may take time to cultivate, will likely experience many highs and lows, and ultimately a person may find they have to live through several fitness relationships before they find the right one – before they find their fitness soul-mate as it where. And even when it is right, it will still take work – take effort to keep the connection between fitness enthusiast and exercise alive. I would say though, that if one has done Pilates for fourteen years and still hates (disrespects) Pilates, it’s time to move on and look ahead for a better fit — it’s time to quit forcing it.
There are no bad guys here – no wrong choices either. Only the trial and error of learning what is right for the individual. It is the subtle differences which lend themselves to a true fitness friendship — a true connection, or to a dysfunctional fitness family. As such, choosing the right form of exercise for you is as important as choosing the right spouse – that you stay connected with your exercise for life. Because like a human relationship, we should be partnered up with the right exercise for all our days.
I believe that respect and appreciation are at the heart of any relationship – human, fitness, or otherwise. If one appreciates their exercise as they appreciate their spouse, if one respects their exercise as they respect their family, one will be willing to give much more and in-turn, receive more fruit from their labor.
There are many forms of exercise, and many ways to go about conditioning the body. Where I once thought weight training was the best way – the only way to condition one’s self, I now realize that it’s the connection to exercise itself which matters most, and that the relationship be nurtured and respected as any relationship should. Be well. rc