This post was mainly inspired by an article I read in the latest issue of Health magazine – but it’s also from the million of articles I’ve seen around the internet about how to burn calories in your daily activities.
Want to buff up? Slim down! …Wait what?
During your hike why not do some lunges up the mountain top to get that metabolism running? While spending time with family and friends at the pool, why not get in a great calorie burn? Take dancing lessons with your partner – you’ll get fit together! Getting some serious work or studying done? Why focus on actually accomplishing something when you could be doing these sneaky ab exercises?
Maybe this sounds like great motivation for getting more activity and healthy movement into your life. But tell me what you think about this proposition:
Alternatively, why not go for a hike because you want to enjoy the great fucking outdoors? Why not actually enjoy time with family and friends at the pool instead of anxiously trying to get a calorie burn to assuage the guilt of that lemonade? Why not take dance lessons with your partner so that you have something to relate about and bond over? WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE ABOUT BURNING CALORIES?!
I’m trying to think of a caption to appropriately encapsulate how ridiculous this is, but I’m finding myself at a loss.
I’m going to take this a step further. Why not sprint because running fast feels like you’re fucking flying? Why not pick up ultimate frisbee because it’s amazingly fun? Why not lift weights because you’d like to play airplane with your kid without throwing out your back?
If you’ve reduced the activities in your life into ways that you can justify eating food or try to cancel out something you feel guilty about, you’re destroying the point. Try to enjoy what you’re doing for the sake of doing it – not because you feel like you need to look better in a bikini or you feel like you need to earn some birthday cake you’re going to eat later that week. Is that living? Is that mentally healthy?
I’m a personal trainer and oftentimes I work to try and help people lose weight. We also exercise together – so maybe it’s a bit odd to hear from me that I would really like to get people to get away from associating exercise with burning calories and losing weight. Exercise because you want your body to perform better, not just because you want to lose fat. If the only reason you’re working out is for the latter reason, you’ll end up sorely disappointed – not to mention missing out on some INCREDIBLE benefits of working out that don’t involve fitting into skinny jeans.