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Why I Work Out

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Working out. Working in. Movement practice. Wellness practice. Spiritual practice. Self care. Fitness. Call it what you want. In the end, it’s all about love.

What is your judgement of me? The guy who chooses organic vegetables over french fries, who goes to the gym almost religiously, who experiments with podcasts and nutrition and spiritual practices, and then posts workouts and inspirational quotes on social media?

Sometimes, I wonder.

Do you see someone who is obsessed with fitness, with no desires or interests in life outside of 2000 meter erg times and 200 meter track splits? Do you see vanity cunningly wrapped in virtue, someone who thinks they know what is best for others? Someone that can’t relate to you, because it’s easy for them, it was always easy for them?

Or do you see someone who, for the first half of his life, didn’t want to take his shirt off because he suffered from an indented chest, medically referred to as pectus excavatum? An insecure boy who was teased for being weak and skinny, whose pediatrician prescribed human growth hormone for developing later than other kids his age? Do you see an adult who has experienced depression and anxiety? Someone who often gets sad, unmotivated, and insecure?

Or do you see someone who is constantly healing, growing, and sharing parts of themselves? Someone who has realized the importance of cultivating peace and purpose in his life, and works hard every day to build a life around those disciplines? Someone who carefully tends to the relationship with the voice in his head? Someone who feels a mix of courage and fear, infused with a heavy dose of self-criticism and pride, every time he shares his vulnerabilities?

Sometimes, I wonder.

Because my story is not unique. What you think of me, I have probably thought of you. We are not so different, you and me.

So, why do we judge each other? We are so quick to separate ourselves from one another, but the reality is that we are more same than we are different. “We inter-are,” the great Thich Nhat Hanh would say.

I feel compelled to share these thoughts because I think so often, particularly in today’s health and fitness culture, the message of why gets lost. So, why do I work out?

The ultimate motivation is love. One of the most powerful acts of love is to take care of oneself. Taking care of our body and mind, it turns out, is a spiritual practice.

What is the point of it all, if not to make us better lovers, better livers, more compassionate human beings? That is the best thing that my movement practice gives me. Similarly, by cultivating an inner practice that fills my heart with understanding, I can do my best to make the world a better place. In the end, what else matters?

Love is the answer at the end of the tunnel. It is love, not a 500-pound deadlift or a chiseled six-pack, that will make us whole.



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