IS FITNESS WORTH THE SACRIFICE?
A question I get asked sometimes is whether or not I feel the time and effort invested in fitness is worth the sacrifice. It's true that I do spend a great deal of time working out, researching, pondering, etc. As a result, I'm not able to spend as much time doing other things such as watching tv shows, gaming, and other similar activities. I'm very selective about which shows I watch as I only have limited time. I do however make time for playing music, spending time with my family, art, and some other interests. But nonetheless, there are things that many people do that I simply can't. Is it worth it? My answer? Absolutely!
I think one major reason is that none of this is actual work to me. I enjoy every part of it and I enjoy the growth I've experienced as a result. As a personal trainer I've also enjoyed seeing the growth of my clients who are more like family to me. I've spoken before about the concepts of relaxation, awareness, and intent. All of these attributes are enhanced through physical fitness. When you workout, when you learn to eat properly, when you feel the effects of it all, you learn to KNOW YOURSELF. You simply can't put a price or a value on that. The more you know yourself, the more you're able to know other people. Proper awareness means you're able to listen and truly hear and see other people. Through the attributes of relaxation and awareness comes intent. The ability to focus on whatever it is that you're doing. I also emphasize this concept when explaining the martial arts, but it can apply to anything such as your ability to excel at your job, business, in school, and of course, your fitness and/or competitive sport. At the end of the day, all this adds up to you just being a better person.
Another benefit is learning to deal with discomfort. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable as some like to say. Let's face it. Life is not always easy. It can get pretty tough sometimes, and being able to cope with discomfort on a regular basis can help you deal with life's problems. This is part of the reason why I often advocate outdoor training. Of course, extreme weather must be avoided. But winter workouts for example can be extremely invigorating while you're pushing your body in difficult conditions.
And lastly there are the physical benefits of working out is more important now than ever before. We have a more sedentary lifestyle now than at any other time in history. Going back a hundred years or so, the idea of setting aside time for physical fitness seemed like a bit of an unusual concept. Of course some people did it, but the majority of people got sufficient exercise from working, walking to and from wherever they were going, running, playing, etc. Look at houses built decades ago. Big yards and smaller houses. Now it's the opposite since kids spend so much time on their screens and much less time playing in the yard. And then when it's time for work, most people have desk jobs which of course means you're sitting for the majority of the day. You get in your car and go to work, sit at a desk all day, drive back home, have dinner, and then relax on the couch watching tv or whatever. I'm not saying to throw out your tv, tablet, game console, or phone. But I am saying that at some point there, physical fitness must be a part of your life. Perhaps not as much a part of your life as it is for me, but it must be there. It is simply not an option. Sitting disease is very real and cannot be ignored. This article from the Mayo Clinic explains how the effects of sitting disease is similar to obesity and smoking!
So in conclusion, while I am not able to watch as many shows or play as many video games as some other people do, I'm not missing anything. Ask yourself this. Years from now when you're about to leave this body, are you going to look back and say "Gee. I wish I had spent more time watching tv and playing video games" or is it more likely you'll say that you wish you'd taken better care of yourself and spent more time with loved ones? I think the answer should be pretty clear.