Several years ago I was doing conditioning after one of my gymnastics workouts. A coach at the gym I was training at walked up and asked me “Why do you do this to yourself?”. The first thing that came to mind was “Why don’t you?”. But the question was valid. I no longer compete, I have no real “reason” to train as hard as I do. One certainly doesn’t have to train this hard just to obtain moderate fitness, or loose weight, or be “in shape” as defined by our culture.
So, why do I train like this. Well, first off, I love the capabilities it gives me. I was not a naturally athletic kid. I was always picked last for games, was generally uncoordinated and inflexible. I had decent strength, but certainly nothing extraordinary, I just wasn’t noticeably weaker than my peers. Fast forward a decade after I had been doing gymnastics for a few years. Now I am coordinated, flexible and dramatically stronger than my peers. I can now pick up new physical activities pretty easily, and am willing to try just about anything. I’ve also developed an attitude toward working for something that will carry me through many trials.
Aside from the capabilities, being fit just feels good. Sure for about 10-15 minutes 5 or so days a week I am really, REALLY uncomfortable. I’m in pain, sweating, my heart is trying to pound out of my ribcage, my lungs burn, some days I’m nauseous. What do I get for those 10-15 minutes of severe discomfort? I get a hormonal rush that is awesome. Post-workout bliss. For the other 23 3/4 hours of the day I feel great. I can move well. I can sit comfortably just about anywhere. I sleep well. I can pick up and move heavy objects with little problem. I am rarely sick. When I am sick it is short lived and generally not as severe as those around me with the same illnesses. When put in balance feeling good all the time FAR outweighs the short discomfort of the workouts. Feeling good alone would justify the training. When also considering the increased capability, looking better and being able to do really cool things then it really doesn’t make any sense whatsoever not to train like this.