I’ve been talking a bit about kettlebells lately. Before that, it was barbells and dumbbells.
However, I’ve never laid out the primary reason you should pick any exercise modality out there. After all, there are plenty. They range from an afternoon walk before you cook supper to Crossfit. There is an insane number of choices.
Yet, with all the discussion about why you should do this or that, we all–myself included–tend to forget the primary reason you should pick any method, modality, or outlet.
Today, I’m going to remind you.
Yeah, you are.
Because you enjoy it.
That’s it. Plain and simple. You should do it because you enjoy it. There should be no other non-medical driving factors in your selection.
I specify non-medical because there may be medical reasons you have to give up your favorites. For example, if your knees are so blown out that the docs tell you to only run when chased, then you should probably listen to them.
Other than that, though? Don’t sweat it.
Look, you can get stronger in a lot of ways. You can do barbells. You can go with dumbbells exclusively. You can embrace kettlebells. There’s even bodyweight or sandbags. There are tons of ways you can get stronger, so why belittle any of those methods?
Are they necessarily optimal? Maybe not, but why should that matter in the grand scheme of things?
If it does to you, awesome. You do you.
I get it, after all. I’ve literally used all of these strength training implements at one point or another.
Through them all, I got stronger. They accomplished the task, but I have training ADHD. No matter what I may believe–such as how the barbell is probably the ideal way to get bigger and stronger–it doesn’t mean I’m going to stay loyal to the barbell.
And that’s OK.
It’s a training implement, not a spouse. There’s no requirement that I remain monogamous to it. At the risk of going all Marie Kondo on you all, if it doesn’t bring you joy, why bother?
There are varying degrees of fitness. In fact, the term “fitness” refers to your ability to perform a given task. So long as you’re physically able to perform the tasks you engage in on a daily basis, you’re technically “fit.”
Of course, we use the term a little differently these days, and that’s OK too. Language changes over time, and this is inevitable.
Today, the meaning has more to do with a level of physical ability to perform tasks of a much more intense nature. Yet how “fit” does someone really need to be.
I make my arguments that one should be really fit, but not everyone accepts those arguments.
Regardless, whatever your goals are, you should use whatever kind of training you find that will help you achieve those goals that you enjoy. Everything else falls secondary to that.
And honestly, the “why” shouldn’t be rocket science.
After all, if you enjoy training, you’re far less likely to find doing it a chore. If you enjoy going for an afternoon walk, do it. Does it help you meet your goals? Well, if it does, go for it. If not, maybe you need another layer. Whatever.
A while back, I read a forum where people were kind of mocking folks who did Zumba. If you’re not familiar with it, think dance aerobics. That’s a dumbed-down, simplified explanation. It got pretty popular for a while there, and some guys into bodybuilding were giving it a ration of crap to the entire concept.
Here’s the thing, though. Around the same time, I met a young woman who’d lost over 100 lbs and guess what she credited much of her success to?
That’s right. Zumba.
Again, it makes sense. She enjoyed the modality, so she was in those classes every day she could. She employed a healthy diet, probably in part because she’d get more out of the classes that way.
The fact that she enjoyed Zumba allowed it to work for her.
Was it perfect? No. Is it optimal? Well, that depends on what you’re asking about it being optimal for, but probably not. Does that matter?
Not to her.
At the end of the day, you only really need to answer to yourself for how you want to train. I say, so long as you’re not injuring yourself, you do you. If you are injuring yourself, well, I might offer some advice, but you still do you.
Get healthy, get fit and keep moving.
While there’s plenty of room to debate what is optimal–and we should have that debate–let’s also understand that there are also perfectly valid reasons to train in ways that are less than optimal, especially with regard to your personal goals.
For example, I don’t actually care about getting as jacked as possible. I’m not a bodybuilder and don’t really care to be. I want to get stronger and leaner.
So what do I care about the sets and reps that best optimize hypertrophy? Easy. I don’t.
When you’re looking to train, do what you like. Enjoy your training and who cares about the rest?