Exercising (whether you are doing a personal training session, lifting weights, running, swimming etc) releases endorphins. The same hormones that are responsible for that feel good emotion. Is that a good thing? Yes, of course it is. But should it be the sole reason for exercise? No.
That’s as good as going to the gym and saying “I want to feel good about myself ” and not “I want to do something constructive in the gym and get BETTER so that I feel good about myself.” Imagine this: putting a lot of weight on the bar and squatting maybe 2 to 3 inches in depth. Then going to the Personal Best board and writing “Squats, 200kg, 5 reps”. Sure, you feel good that you “did” a 200kg squat set. But the truth of the matter is, you didn’t.
Did it help you improve in any way?
Did it make you feel good?
Firstly, nobody really cares how much you lift.
Secondly, there is more to life than squatting, benching, dead lifting, etc. There is life. And we train hard to progress in life. So that we can enjoy that life for longer and add value to it, making it better – Lifting heavier weights means you are stronger in this life. Running further means you can run further in this life. Accomplishing a handstand means you learnt a new skill in this life. You with me so far?
The feel good factor that people get is very, VERY temporary. The oohs and aahs you may get from people with little knowledge is also temporary – these people will one day learn and realise that your bad reps don’t amount to anything.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to feel good at the gym. It’s actually important to feel good when you work out. But make your workouts work for you in the long run. Don’t just do it to feel good or feel like a badass for the hour you spend in the gym.
I have clients who have overcome ridiculous boundaries to get where they are – girls deadlifting more than twice their body weight. Overcoming heart trouble. Back trouble. Illnesses I don’t even know how to spell. You name it, I’ve probably seen it. I’ve trained a guy with only one pec and a girl with one lat. Plus a guy with one testicle (but that doesn’t really affect his movement). But we all start somewhere.
The greatest achievements will be by those who strive for what they want and work hard to earn it. Not by the people who feel good when they put on a show in the gym. So the next time the “training expert” in your gym tells you that you are weak, lame, etc and you need to do more ( like them ), don’t succumb to the pressure of feeling good, of performing that lift to ” feel ” like you’ve improved. Take the proper, necessary progressions. You’ll probably train and enjoy your training for longer.
Train smart. Live easy.