Yesterday someone asked me why I train. Caught off guard by the magnitude of the question, I opened my mouth to speak, but couldn’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the answer, it was that I had too many.
I train to become better.
Life is too long and too short to settle. My body is whole; it doesn’t come in pieces. My body is my physical, mental, and emotional self. There is no separation. We come intertwined in an intricate meshwork where there is no end and no beginning. Anytime I improve in any facet of my being it’s only going to better the others. Unfortunately, vice versus… If one suffers, the rest of me suffers as well.
I train for proof that I am alive.
As I lay on the black mat sucking wind, I value breath, I value life, I value that I have a life where I have the luxury of being able to focus on physical excellence, not just physical survival. I sweat and bleed by choice, I am lucky.
I train for challenge.
I have no sport, no competition, no impending judgment day. In fact, I continue to seek avenues just to use my training. Challenge is the best way to figure out what I’m really made of. During strife, I lay every strength and weakness before me, my arsenal of weapons. Yes, even weakness can be a weapon; it’s a signifier for my focus. By knowing my weaknesses, I know where to improve, before something or someone can use it against me first. Challenge in the gym I can control, the gym is my training ground to learn how to deal with what may happen outside of its doors.
I train for accomplishment.
At the end of the day, at the end of the week, the month, the year, my life… I want to know that I did work. We’re only guaranteed this very moment right now, no more, no less. I want to maximize every single one. Somehow 60 minutes on the elliptical doesn’t seem like a wise use of my ever fleeting moments, nor an accomplishment. Because if I’m not proud of me, it doesn’t really matter if anyone else is or not.
I train for fun.
I wish I knew the exact moment in life where movement goes from reward to punishment. If I could pinpoint this time, I’m pretty convinced the cure would be handstands. As children we run, jump, throw, and climb, with no purpose other than to move. Movement = play. In adulthood we grudgingly succumb to movement for our health and aesthetics. We have forgotten that this stuff is fun. If you’re not having fun, make changes to your program, make changes in your attitude. Don’t think about exercise as a necessary evil; something you have to do. Think about it as something that you get to do. Find the type of movement that’s going to bring you joy. I’m also convinced that there’s something out there for everybody, CrossFit or not.
As the moments lingered while I paused to formulate my answer, something became apparent. All of my reasons were not why I train, but why I train CrossFit. For this answer, I knew the recipient was not ready. I reduced my answer to simply “Because I can…” And saved my true response for all of you.
Because what about you?
It’s 2011, what are you gonna do about it?
Why do you train?