A Better Reason To Get In Shape

In the media, I see a lot of talk about why people should exercise and get in shape. The most common reason I see is women wanting to look sexy and thin. For men, it’s wanting to look more defined. Another reason is to look strong and fit like a bodybuilder, which isn’t a bad thing, but people seem to want to gain muscle more for the aesthetic benefits rather than actually wanting to be strong. Both of these reasons entails looking “good”. Whether they want more Instagram likes, a bigger booty or more defined abs, most people seem to want to exercise so that they look good. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people who want to look good and feel confident, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I want to talk about a more important reason that a lot of people don’t consider:

Getting in shape so that your body can perform good, not just look good.
I exercise so that I can trust my body to perform the way I need it to, especially when I’m competing. I trust that my body will react properly without having to think about it, and I trust that my body will protect me from getting injured, both on and off the mats. It feels good to know that I’m strong and fit enough to handle almost anything that life can throw at me. It feels good to know that if a dangerous person was chasing me, I could run fast enough or for a long enough time to be able to escape them. I know that if a heavy man was unconscious in the path of danger I would be able to drag him to safety and probably save his life. I know that I would be able to endure harsh conditions if I needed to in order to keep myself alive. I know my reflexes are fast enough to allow me to wrestle well and protect myself from harm in real life. It feels amazing to know that I am capable of taking care of myself.

I don’t go to the gym so that I can look good. I don’t do squats to make my but bigger. I don’t do crunches so that my stomach looks tighter. And I definitely don’t do cardio so that I can lose weight and be thinner (except to make weight for a tournament, but that’s different). I squat because I want to have stronger legs that are powerful and can help me lift a person off of the mats. I do crunches so that I can have better core stability to help me with my balance. I work on my cardio so that I can get faster and last longer in a match without being exhausted. And I can tell you with confidence, that it feels a whole lot better to know I can perform well than to know I look good.

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