The Real Reason Why I Work Out Every Day (And It’s Not For The Abs)

A woman in yoga pants running up some colourful stairs

Barring the time I got ravaged by COVID or when I pulled my back, I’ve managed to maintain my daily workout schedule for about a year now. I don’t even remember how long it’s been. I’m just basing it off this post.

And I’ve uploaded said workouts in the form of Insta stories to hold myself accountable, even though it’s just to a handful of people.

But as a result of the stories, I did get a couple people sliding into my DMs, asking me whether I’m training to be invincible.

The answer is yes.

Am I preparing for a competition? Yes. For the competition of life.

Am I an addict? Yes. I’m addicted to the pump.

Do I take days off? Ye—uh, you almost got me there. No.

Another common question is why. Why do I work out? Is it for the abs? The biceps? To be a fitness influencer?

In coming up with the answer, I’d realise how much my exercise goals have changed, and by writing this post, I hope to perhaps shed some light on why I’ll continue on this journey, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Reason number one, it’s not to adopt the alpha grindcore mindset. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s start with the list.

A woman with glasses working in the dark under the

Perhaps it’s not toxic productivity. Perhaps work to them is my equivalent of a fun time. Photo: Daniel Chekalov

You kill me? I kill me.

If we take our emotions and simplify them as much as we can, we’ll find that the reluctance to exercise is similar to that of writing, or confronting somebody, or making that sales call.

And the hurt from having to do another burpee when you’re already breathing fire is the same pain you feel when arguing with your spouse, or having to work overtime (again), or receiving bad news.

And we’re very much wired to avoid this pain in pursuit of pleasure.

Why is this important to know? Because the only way to deal with your fears—in this case, pain—is through exposure. That way, pain doesn’t have any control over you, and you’re free to live your life without worrying about the next mishap that could tumble your way.

So that’s why I put myself through the grind each day. It’s not that I’m impervious to pain and sloth. In fact, I’m deathly afraid of suffering.

But by forcing myself through that suck, the volume knob in life gets turned down, and every other inconvenience of the day pales in comparison to the four-hundredth push-up I did that morning.

“A man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over.”

Nicolas Chamfort

The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle

I love Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and one of the ways to learn the sport is to spar with a resisting opponent. No flashy kung-fu moves here. Just two people going at it with the end goal of maiming or incapacitating somebody.

And because we spar so much, it’s only natural to remain somewhat civil during the entire process. So always respecting the tap and forgoing dirty techniques are the norm.

But once in a while, you get someone so hopped on adrenaline that you’d think they were fighting for a belt in the UFC. As a result, you get inadvertent knees to the jaw or fingers in the eyes.

Tons of people frown on that lack of control, but I secretly enjoy it. Because that’s how I test my techniques against a real assailant. One who doesn’t play by the rules.

And thus we enter the concept of making your training harder than the real thing.

Two army guys sitting in a helicopter

Imagine going into battle not having weathered yourself beforehand. Photo: Bob Smith

You decide how to push yourself

Have a presentation to make? An interview to ace? A spelling bee to win? You best believe the same rules apply.

It’s not just about practising your musical scales because your teacher told you to. It’s about training beyond what’s needed for a typical concert, so that you have the proper confidence going into your live tour.

It’s studying every angle of your debate—even if you don’t have to—so that you can enjoy the security of knowing all the arguments your opponent could make.

Cam Hanes, the top bowhunter in his field, shared a meaningful quote on this topic: “If the hunt itself is the hardest thing you’ve ever done, then you’ll most probably fail.” 

Nothing truer can be said. We often save our greatest effort for D-Day when we should actually expend everything ourselves long before that day arrives.

So you see, it’s not about pushing yourself because you’re into the hustle mindset. It’s about going hard on your normal days so that it feels easy when it matters.

Let’s talk self-talk

You know the most unexpected benefit I got from exercising every day? It’s that I talk differently in my head now.

It went from ‘ah, there’s just so much shit to do today, I freaking hate this’ to ‘I got this’.

All those days of dragging my ass to keep my own promises had changed the way I perceive myself. And now when I have a long day ahead of me, I don’t dread what’s to come.

Instead, just like how I would complete my hour-long grind of burpees, I’d do the same with my to-do list. By putting in one rep after another.

The more I weather myself against this pain, the better I deal with the other pains in my life. And the more I face down and crush my workouts every day, the more confident I become in doing the necessary-but-often-inconvenient tasks.

A brain on a desk lit by pastel lighting of blue, purple, and yellow

I believe our mind can work for us, or against us. We just need to programme it first. Photo: Milad Fakurian

You can start too

Of course, we all have different lives and circumstances, so working out may not be accessible to everybody. If you have that choice, you definitely should opt for exercise first, since you’d also get the added benefits of health.

But there are also other ways to hone this skill. David Goggins said to do something that sucks every day. That’s not a recruitment drive for Masochistics Anonymous. It’s actually a way of training yourself to better face the rigours of your day.

Hate public speaking? Do that. Enjoy playing chess but can’t stand studying openings? Do that too. You’ll know that it’s good training grounds when you feel the dread right before doing the task.

Of course, exercise proper judgement and don’t pursue dread just for the sake of it—like drinking a bottle of vodka just to experience the hangover.

There are plenty of positive alternatives that your mind tends to resist, such as doing the chores, fasting, or waking up early.

Soon, you’ll find yourself enjoying not only the primary benefits of the habit, but also the added value of toughening your mind.

So the next time someone sees you doing something sucky and asks you why you do it, I hope that you’ll find your answer through this practice.

Me? I work out every day not because I want to be better at exercise, but because I want to be better at everything else.


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101 thoughts on “The Real Reason Why I Work Out Every Day (And It’s Not For The Abs)

  1. Without any doubt, be it Ji-Jitsu or Grecco-roman wrestling the mat- once you enter the arena, you leave away billions of people out and become you, and practise becoming more you. Beautiful write-up on this Stuart. Kind of entered your arena for the second time, heya !!

    • Oh yeah, it’s an interesting feeling to tune out everything else and have nothing else matter except for the opponent (or your goal). I explored this idea in my other post regarding my MMA fight, and I love how similar we think. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hey Stuart, Absolutely loved this piece. As someone who is finding it difficult to keep up with the same post covid, But this definitely come up at the right time to me.

    • Oh yeah, getting the ‘Vid can really screw up any physical pursuits you may have, especially if it leaves you with lingering symptoms.

      Am hoping you get right back on track! And thanks for stopping by!

  3. I believe that working out daily or say regularly is a Promise that we make to ourselves. I do walk,run, swim or cycle religiously because if I can keep up the promise to myself, how can I be expected to keep my word to others.

    • Exactly! This is the mindset I’m trying to adopt too, because if I can’t even keep my own promises, how can I be a positive influence in others’ lives?

      And this is also the reason why my workout routines are more intuitive. I’m just doing it for the promise and the endorphins, which mean that I don’t need to follow only one path to get there.

      Thanks for your lovely thoughts!

    • Comments like yours are what fuel me to keep going, and knowing that I’ve managed to be a part of someone else’s life is the highest regard I can receive, so thanks for taking the time to share your wonderful comment, P!

  4. I saved your post notification in my inbox until I could get to reading it. The time is now!
    “when you’re already breathing fire”–I love that. So good and true.
    “Just two people going at it with the end goal of maiming or incapacitating somebody.”–Haha!
    I just posted my upteenth bruise pic compliments of MA. I get this.
    “always respecting the tap”–Recently, an observer had to tap because I didn’t notice that my opponent had tapped! Oops! Good thing he had a back up there!!
    This is like when teachers give you a practice test that’s harder than the real test. If you can handle the practice, the real thing will be easy. I dig it. (BTW, I have one browser open with your post, one with this comment box. That way I can comment as I read and not forget anything I want to say. As a result, you’re getting an extra long comment. Sorry.)
    Money quote: “It’s about going hard on your normal days so that it feels easy when it matters.” <3
    Lol at the hangover line. I'm all about new experiences, but I think I can live without that one.
    "I work out every day not because I want to be better at exercise, but because I want to be better at everything else."–Okay, maybe THAT was the money quote. So good, all of it. Worth the wait. :)

    • Oh wow, I totally didn’t expect this, Betsy. What a wonderful comment to wake up to, and it probably rivals the post itself, lol.

      But yeah. I may get looked at as another one of those ‘grindcore’ dudes who’s all about that hustle life, but it’s worth saying that the more voluntary challenges we impose upon ourselves, the more prepared we’ll be when the involuntary ones arrive.

      Ha, sometimes your opponent has the responsibility of providing an obvious tap too (especially if they tap the mat), but yeah, having observers to watch for things like this (and prevent people from rolling into each other) are amazing. I have to admit, I’m the one usually doing this because I’m escaping rolls to catch a breather, lol.

      It was great having you around. Thanks so much once again, Betsy!

      • I must admit that ‘grindcore’ and ‘hustle life’ are new terms to me, but I think I get the gist. :P Honestly, your post was inspiring. I work out for like 15 minutes in the evening. Maybe I should schedule a longer session in the mornings if I want to get serious about bulking up, for one thing, and also for all the great reasons you mention. There’s serious wisdom in your post. Thanks for that.

  5. Hi Stuart, I used to hit tennis (several times a week) , do yoga and gym amidst all my errands and work. I think I needed all that to recharge myself . In recent years I gradually slacked off and now I have to gain that momentum and resume these activities. You are definitely right in incorporating all this work out in your daily rituals. These physical exercises are necessary to keep your energy flowing and heart pumping so that you will stay mentally alert and motivated . Thanks for another great post!

    • I truly believe that blood is just like water. We need to keep it running so that it doesn’t stagnate. And moving our body in our own ways (gardening, dancing, even hand-cycling) helps do that.

      Even on the days when I dial back on the intensity, I still get the positivity from having moved my body.

      But yeah, sometimes we fall back because life happens. Isn’t that the story of our lives, am I right?

      Here’s to wishing you get back on that horse, LH!

      • Thanks Stuart. I just slacked off. For tennis, firstly it was my tennis shoes and then when I got my shoes, it was work then it was the lockdown…I was just in this solitary mood LOL Yes I do walk around quite a bit. But I miss the intensity when you work out at the gym or hit tennis ( not that I’m that good a player). Your take on why you are keeping up with your exercise definitely makes sense. To me it is about tenacity .

  6. Exercise, which seems to be a modern thing, goes back a long ways with “Tai Chi” and other stretching exercises. Practicing swordsmanship with a wooden sword is also a form of medieval exercise. There is an observation that “poor people are fat and the rich people are thin.” They can AFFORD to be thin because they have a personal trainer egging them on. Hollywood shows the value of personal trainers. You really can’t fail if you have a good enough one.

    • Interesting observation. I myself know a lot of millionaires (or billionaires) who are in terrible shape, so maybe a host of other factors play a role too.

      These bosses I’ve worked for definitely could’ve hired trainers, chefs, and nutritionists and not even feel a dent in their wallets, but I guess in the end, it’s all a matter of personal priorities, and it’s cool to arrange those priorities however we want.

      I myself could use a personal trainer, that’s for sure, with my ‘intuitive’ approach of approaching my workouts and whatnot.

      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

    • I truly believe that a person is the sum total of their habits, so everything from their body composition to their attitude shows how they’ve lived their lives to date. It’s oversimplification, but it also makes my life easier, lol. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. You have such a great advice. Thanks for sharing this. I agree our minds are like two folds it can work in favor of us or consumed our energy depending on how and what we feed into our minds. If we train ourselves to be more positive in life and prefer to stay mentally strong , our minds can do some magic. But at times emotion gets on the way so thats something we need to work on and keep going

  8. That was very motivational and inspiring! I am very impressed that you actually workout every day but reading through your post I definitely understand your mindset a bit more. I also really admire people that are able to push themselves. I know for a fact that I am much more efficient in everything if someone else is there: I run faster and longer, I am more focused at work, etc. so maybe I should train this capacity to push myself too ;) I am actually on my way to my first ever gym workout (I usually do them at home) so that was the perfect read! Thanks for sharing!

    • Comments like yours really do make my day, because it’s so cool to feed off your positive vibes that come as a result from taking action.

      I totally feel you on having someone there. Sometimes my friends join in on my workouts, and those days I go harder (probably because of ego, lol). Even when I’m alone, I run faster when a stranger beside me is keeping a slightly quicker pace.

      I don’t go hard every day though, so definitely do listen to your body. For instance, today I swam instead of doing intense bodyweight exercise, which is pretty chill in comparison.

      Wishing you all the best with your journey!

  9. This reminded me that I really need to get back to making time to exercise daily. Exercising does wonders for your mood, energy and overall health. You’ve inspired me to get off my ass. 💪

  10. Doing the things we hate makes us better at the things we hate and more likely to do them. LOVE this post! My health is a constant battle and when I was walking 5 miles a day 5 days a week… I felt AMAZING. When my health tanked again I’ve had to work my way back to that a little at a time. I think it’s okay when life gets in the way of consistency… just give ourselves some grace, pick back up and start again. 💪

    • Five miles! That is a mighty long distance to walk for sure. Thankfully we use metric measurements here in Malaysia, so I get to measure in kilometres, so I can sound equally impressive when I say five kms without having to run as much, lol.

      Giving ourselves grace is important, and it’s a skill we should all learn.

      I always enjoy your comments, LaShelle, so thanks for always making the time!

  11. I like, “Me? I work out every day not because I want to be better at exercise, but because I want to be better at everything else.”
    So true.
    During the last two years, though my long walks continued, I couldn’t attend all the classes I used to for daily exercise for my mind and body. Like Tai Chi, yoga, Mah Jongg, watercolor painting, or any interesting class offered at my Community Centre. I missed the exercise routine, the friendships I had formed, and the learning.
    However, I discovered rewarding exercise at home videos on youtube that suited me perfectly. I stuck to it and found that if I missed a few days of working out, I would be listless and somewhat grumpy!
    So although some classes have resumed, I am going to continue with my “exercise at home” routine, as I derive so many benefits from it.
    Best wishes.

    • Oh yeah. I highly suspect that routine you’ve created isn’t just beneficial in the form of endorphins it releases, but also the fact that you’re keeping your own promises, which is also a powerful feeling.

      In the end, it’s all interconnected. Which also means we need to be wary of our negative habits, because those can creep into our lives and cause harm in other areas as well.

      Thanks for your lovely thoughts. Wishing you a lifetime of sticking to your routines!

    • Woah, almost poetic there with your reply. You know how actors have different ranges? You have a diverse range in commenting too, lol. Thanks so much for stopping by as usual!

      • Damn, I don’t believe I put that much thought into it, but something like that coming from you Stu is a huge complement!

        On a more usual note, though, I did love the post, and even though I said before that your health/fitness/exercise posts don’t really do the thing for me, this one was exemplary. I loved the out-of-the-box reasons, and I’ve always wanted to learn a martial art. As a cough potato, though, I’m starting out with table tennis and I’ll see where that carries me.

        Thank you!
        xox
        Three Kalamata Olives on a Plate (which is more than random but I’ll call it poetic from now on.)

        cya!

      • Lol the kalamata olives part is bordering on avant garde.

        I’m glad I’d managed to reach out to you through fitness posts (because I know asking you to read fitness posts is like asking me to read romance novels, lol).

        But table tennis sounds fun. Definitely share the learnings as you embark on this journey.

        Anyway, great to chat with you as always.

    • As a matter of fact, I think the benefits exercise gives the mind far outweighs the physical benefits. Because yes, a healthy body is great to have, but you need a solid mind to make full use of it. Love your spate or messages here. Thanks so much for all of the wonderful reads!

  12. Your mindset sounds a lot like mine, Stuart, although I do my share of mind games when I’m not feeling the urge to exercise. Exercise to me is like any other good habit. Once you develop a routine, it feels as unnatural as not showering or brushing your teeth. Having been serious about it for over five years now, I’m pretty religious about doing something each day. The main thing is I feel sharper mentally when I exercise. When I’m not in the right frame of mind, I picture myself as a grandfather who can’t enjoy his grandchildren (Our son recently became engaged.), and I’m determined not to become that person.

    • I like how you have a ‘villain’ to get you to act. My villain is not being able to protect my loved ones (not likely to happen, but I need to tap into those emotions to override my desire to slack off).

      And yes, the mental benefits of exercising is irreplaceable. Even the way I interact with others improves so much more once I get my endorphin fix. And that alone is worth the price of admission.

      It’s evident that you do something each day, because I remember commenting on your physique in your latest post.

      Anyway, always great to see you here, Pete!

  13. This post, and especially that line “You’ll know that it’s good training ground when you feel the dread right before doing the task” reminds me of my new year resolution to ‘lean into what scares me’! And since I will in a couple of months be doing just that (*gulp*), I sure hope that I’ll eventually reach the point where your post went on to say “Soon, you’ll find yourself enjoying not only the primary benefits of the habit, but also the added value of toughening your mind.” Fingers crossed while I *gulp* again! Thanks again Stu for this encouraging post to strive no matter the odds!

    • Fear and dread is so underrated. We often tend to want to avoid them, but in the times I’ve had to (involuntarily) face them, I always come out on the other end stronger. So it only figures that I should seek to apply the same pressure to myself instead of waiting for these random events to toughen me up.

      But of course, that’s easier said than done, lol.

      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by, Kelvin, and wishing you all the best with your leaning into your fears!

  14. I love that your reasons aren’t the typical ones! There are a ton of benefits to exercise outside of the abs. I upped my exercise game about a year and a half ago (upped as in actually started haha) and now exercise about 5 days/week. I’ve noticed a difference in my self-talk too. It’s way more encouraging and caring towards myself than prior to all that exercise.

    • I always like to make a mental note of my mindset before and after I exercise, and while the endorphins are hard to feel sometimes, there’s no denying that its doing its work when I listen to how I talk to myself.

      And that’s just the short term effects! Long-term wise, I’m grateful to realise that I’m much more confident in myself to get things done—something my younger self would never have done. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

  15. The best part of working out has to be the part where you feel the burn after doing a specific exercise. Also, there are moments when you’ve finished working out and you doubt whether you’ve done enough or not 😅

    Speaking of which, what do you think of the HIIT (high intensity interval training, in case you’re confused) method of working out??

    • Going for the burn really does get the breath going. I can do squats and push-ups without breathing hard, but once I push myself beyond the burning point, I always end up breathless. Great way to control the intensity whenever I feel like I’m nearing the end and still haven’t gotten in enough work.

      I was a HIIT fanatic when I first got into martial arts, and I think it’s amazing, plus you get to save time.

      But now that I have jiu-jitsu sparring as my regular dose of HIIT, I focus on Zone 2 training for the majority of my personal exercise.

      I don’t really discriminate between workouts, really. As long as I feel more fulfilled than before I started, that’s all that matters.

      Anyway, thanks for your lovely comment!

  16. I remember last year when I was training for a running event and although ran a half marathon every week. For the first month or so, I’d be extremely out of anything for the entirety of the day, only to find that eventually, not only was I being far more productive on those days, but I was literally going out on walks or climbing afterwards.

    What’s even more interesting is that I knew of someone who always complained they could never exercise because they had too much on their plate and whenever they tried to exercise, it stopped them from working for the day. However, same thing too, they eventually found it was easier to get on with the day when they were consistent in doing so, but they had to consistent make the effort each day, even if light.

    There’s definitely seems to be some truth to challenging yourself in one way to make it easier to face everything else, even when those things don’t seem to be related in any way.

    • I like this saying: “How do you expect to be a great lawyer/teacher/accountant if you suck at being you?”

      And that’s what we’re doing when we’re putting ourselves through the rigours of life: to remind ourselves of how capable we actually are.

      So yeah, the unrelated things are deceivingly related. And that brings me to my next quote: If a person is right, their world will be right.

      The doing though? That’s hard. I’ll be the first to admit I slide back more often than not, but that’s all part of the process, eh?

      Anyway, thanks for your lovely comment!

      • I can definitely relate to sliding back into bad habits a bit too much still, but on the bright side, at least now I have good habits to slide back into each time.

        Always a pleasure chatting with you!

  17. The line I loved the most is – “It’s about going hard on your normal days so that it feels easy when it matters.” I really needed that! Thanks. Those were some amazingly listed thoughts on Pushing yourself. 🌻

  18. We all know how much I love working out, so I will say that these tips are great for building discipline for any salutary task we might dread. In fact, I can see how overcoming dread might become addictive.

    • You know what? You have a point. Maybe I’m falling into an addiction, because now, whenever there’s a dreadful moment in the horizon, I think “Ha! Time to train my mind, biznatchhh!”

      In all reality though, I falter more times than I take on the challenge, so it’s a work in progress.

      Thanks for stopping by, Hetty!

  19. I loved this post! I also work out every day, though I’m not able to push my body so much due to fibro. But I push it as far as I dare… 😊
    I gave your IG a follow! Looking forward to those fitness posts 😉
    Thanks for sharing this and good luck on your sweaty journey 😉

    • Pushing as far as we dare is EXACTLY where we need to be. Not as much as some influencer does, or as little as others may suggest, but as much as we need. Our body is great at letting us know how much we should push, so I think you’re doing awesome.

      Thanks so much for the kind support!

      • Thanks so much! And you’re very welcome 🤗 yes I sometimes do feel I could push some more, that I should be able to handle it. But there’s a fear in me that says I’ll fail if I try, so I do believe my progress may be less than I could actually get if I had more faith in my abilities. 😊
        Thanks for this great post and tour reply. Have a fabulous day 🌸

  20. This is why I’m looking forward to rejoining the gym this summer (since COVID started my membership’s been on hold and I’ve been working out via various means at home). I’m not great at self-motivation. I’m getting workouts in most days of the week, but I know I work harder when I’m in a group fitness class. One question: so if you never take a day off, do you at least have “light days” or is just balls to the wall every day?

    • Weirdly enough, I was never a solo-workout guy. I only enjoyed activities, sports, or group classes. Then COVID happened and I had to get my fix somehow, and now I enjoy working out alone. Help, lol.

      Here’s to hoping that day comes soon, and that you can go back to the gym!

      I myself train pretty intuitively. I ALWAYS work out, no excuses, but if I’m feeling particularly sore, I might just go through the motions, or run at a slower pace, or opt for something light like swimming instead.

      And actually, I go into all my workouts targeting the 60–70% effort zone. So I’m pretty chill all the way. If the desire to go pedal-to-metal comes, I indulge myself by going hard. But more often than not, I’m just going at a moderate pace.

      What I’ve begun to realise, however, is that today’s 60% is my old self’s 110%. Pretty cool, I think.

      Anyway, thanks for your lovely question! May have overshot the comment quota again, lolol.

  21. That is such a great point about exercise making us better at everything else. I used to HATE exercise, but now I realize it gives me more energy, reduces stress and increases creativity. And that’s in addition to the health benefits.

    • I follow quite a few scientists and doctors on Instagram (I know, weird place to get info), and the neatest fact I’ve learned from them so far is that exercise even helps your brain GROW! That’s pretty danged cool.

      But yeah. If I’m being honest, I still dread the moments leading up to the day’s workout. I think it’s programmed in us to at least dislike pain, but the benefits are undeniable.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Michelle!

  22. I need this kinda person and POV in my head while I’m [painfully] trying to reach that 10th pushup. Lol.

    Nice one! I like the intention behind your workouts. It’s going to take something incredibly wild to throw you off track.

    • I never knew I’d come to these intentions either. All I wanted to was to ‘stay fit’, as vague as that goal was.

      But now I realise that working out is more than just sweating.

      There’s an added caveat though. As long as we expend effort, we get to enjoy the same mental peace. I find that on the days I push myself to write more, than I feel more accomplished at the end of the day.

      Anyway, great to have you here!

  23. I’m with ya Stuart and just followed you on Instagram.
    Working out is the cornerstone to a positive mindset, strength and feeling good in general. I’m not pouding like I once was but it is a metaphor for life, writing, living and loving.
    Great post my friend! 👏

    • Thanks for the support, Cindy! And yes, it’s always easy to relate exercise (or any hard pursuit, for that matter) to writing. In fact, I think so many of our struggles relate to everything else in the grand scale of things.

      Anyway, always great to see you here!

  24. Ooof, I super admire everything you’re saying here. And I without any reservation, ashamedly admit that I can’t relate to any of it. I have such the delicate flower mindset. I don’t wanna push too hard and hurt myself. I don’t wanna needlessly suffer. I don’t want to hold myself to something that I may want to change my mind later about. I’m not saying I’m proud of any of this. And I really don’t know why I’m this way. Although I def relate to your first point about the physical sensation of exercise and how it mimics anxiety, and that we’re trained to think that’s a thing to avoid. The only time I feel like a monster badass unstoppable goddess is when I play tennis. But I haven’t for awhile and I haven’t felt compelled. Although you’re starting to make me wanna 🤣 Thank you for this perspective, it’s fab!

    • Your honesty is amazing. I wish I was that honest with myself sometimes, lol.

      Regarding the anxiety, I really do fear my hard workout days, and for some reason, I fear resistance training more than cardio. So whenever I know a kettlebell’s involved, I actually feel scared for what’s to come. I think that’s pretty natural, to be honest.

      But you know what? Perhaps you’re thinking of going 100%. I trick myself into working out every day by telling myself I’ll just cruise at 60%. And I really do mean it. But more often than not, I go harder once I get into the groove.

      That method could effectively quash all the earlier concerns you had, such as not wanting to push yourself too hard. And if we do indeed go 60% or less, no biggie either, as long as we’ve worked out.

      But I better stop proselytising here. I just want to thank you for stopping by!

  25. ‘You decide how to push yourself’ something I’ve always like about working out is exactly this. There is no competition, no team mate whipping you up into anxiety by shouting at you every time you make a mistake. I can train as much or as little as I want, and I’ve embraced being in my own head pushing through pain, and keeping myself accountable so I get stronger by the day!

  26. One question I always get is: how do you manage your time if you work out every day?

    Granted, there’s going to the gym, changing, work out, clean up, and getting back to your place of work. Depending on where you are located, it can be a hassle.

    My solution is: do a scan from everything I have to do, make the crucial to-do-today list, and then workout. I know what is to come and somehow that is comforting. I can work out and then tackle the list.

    What do you do first, Stuart?

    • I don’t blame people who look at it negatively. Because I still feel the negativity right before a workout, and sometimes that feeling can be downright fear too, lol.

      But those who look at active people as meatheads? Yeah, that’s a bad kinda negative.

  27. I like the “training beyond what’s needed” focus as a way to be well prepared for a challenge. I do worry when I read your post – is there a thing as too much? Are you able achieve the balance between doing what challenges you vs taking breaks and being gentle with self to prevent burnout? Just wondering :)..thanks for excellent food for thought on this particular topic

    • I’m very inspired by training done by the likes of SEAL teams, where they almost drown you so that you get the water confidence you need.

      There’s no other way to feel confident in survival situations other than knowing you can operate outside your limits. Merely doing laps in the pool isn’t going to help. But of course, from an outsider’s point of view, it could seem like too much.

      I guess that’s what I try to do when I train beyond what’s needed. But in reality, I’m still very much a pansy, so I don’t think I’ll ever go overboard or out of balance.

      Thanks for your amazing thoughts and question!

      • The need to figure out how to operate outside your limits does make sense. Thanks for explaining that a bit more. Glad you’re able to stay balanced within that process.

  28. “The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen.” — Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in the film _Miracle_

    Back when I had a more comprehensive fitness regimen, I knew that it was really working when I realized that it was a lot easier to shovel snow.

    I started a 30-day burpee challenge yesterday. I am not nearly in good enough shape to do all of the variations or even all that jumping, so I am starting with the most basic form and working my way up. The progress may be slow, but there will be progress.

    • That’s awesome! I myself follow Iron Wolf on YouTube, and he gets great results just from the most basic form (no jump). In fact, I’ve started focusing more on perfect form since doing the no-jump variety. Don’t think I’ll be jumping for quite a while.

      Wishing you all the best with your progress. Someday your 110% of today will feel like 60%, though I’m sure you already know that from your snow-shovelling experience.

      Thanks for your amazing thoughts!

    • ‘For now’ is all that matters. That’s all I ever plan to do. Write those words every day for now. Exercise every day for now. I don’t even know what’s going to happen in the future, to be honest. Thanks so much for your kind words, Chris!

  29. “It’s studying every angle of your debate—even if you don’t have to—so that you can enjoy the security of knowing all the arguments your opponent could make.”

    That’s very important for a chess game, if you play in a competition.

    I’ve been working out since my teen years, and I have yet to drop the habit. I never wanted abs or a good looking body, I just wanted to become strong, because I was very week physically as a kid.

    Also, tried to find some BJJ classes here. Didn’t had any success unfortunately.

    Also, be careful if you run into some BJJ guy inspired by catch wrestling. leg locks, neck cranks, spine locks, they’ll apply all of that to you to win.

    • You know what? I actually thought of using a chess example for exactly that, but I remembered I already used my ‘chess analogies’ quota in the last post, lol.

      Sad that you can’t find BJJ, but hope one opens in your area soon, with the rise of MMA.

      Lol yeah. Thankfully Malaysians are not big on wrestling, especially catch. We’re just seeing a slight growth now only because grappling has become more popular, but we’re way behind the entire world.

      Anyway, glad to see you here, Tanish!

  30. I did wonder as I was reading if you had read/listened to Goggins… and there he was! I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Apart from the burpees, they are the devils work and should be banished ( I still do them though)

    • It was Goggins that first got me into thinking this way in the first place. I was a real slob in my twenties, but even a few years back, I still carried those lazy tendencies with me. Now I seek out people like Goggins and I’m so grateful for the internet, as they really did change my life.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and keep on keeping on with the burpees (the true necessity of life, lol).

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