When Duckfish said he wanted to go to the gym this year I asked him what he wanted to get out of training. He had difficulty replying — he said he just wanted to feel better.
I pushed him for an answer — more strength, more endurance or look leaner?
“Well, all of those things,” he said, “but the main reason I want to train is because I like it.”
This weekend we joined a gym together. Not the Fitness First gym I used to go to but a brand new gym even closer to home.
As we sat in the bath soothing our worked muscles after our first session, the old familiar thoughts came into my head. “If I work out six times a week and watch what I eat I could lose 10 kilos in the next six months.”
But then I remembered Duckfish’s approach. What if I went to the gym just because I liked going to the gym? Were there good things about training I had overlooked in the past? Could I enjoy it for its own sake rather than a means to an end?
I realised I could. Like kayaking or swimming at the beach it’s possible to see going to the gym as another kind of physical adventure. There are heavy things to be lifted, muscles to be worked and stretched and sweating to shed the toxins in my body and mind. A holiday from living in my head and an opportunity to inhabit my body without distraction.
I like this approach. I can go to the gym just because I like doing it in the moment. Present, conscious and mindful living …
It’s taken me a long time to get to this place but at last I get it.
There’s no need to be motivated or disciplined when working out is something you do just because you like doing it.
Exercise for the fun of it?