The ONE true purpose of exercise.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen.’
Which is true. Well, mostly true.
It would be more accurate to say abs are revealed by what we do ‘in the kitchen,’ because it’s our daily nutritional practices that primarily influence our degree of leanness/ body fat percentage. So, yes, diet IS very important to creating and sustaining any body composition.
But what about exercise?
I’ve given it a lot of thought lately–that yes, positive and sustainable daily nutritional practices help us influence our overall body fat %, but diet alone isn’t enough.
I say diet alone is not enough not just because we need exercise to build the abs waiting to be revealed by our efforts in the kitchen. I say it because we need to build more than visible abs and a sculpted physique; we need to build a strong and resilient body, mind and spirit.
And if abs are made in the kitchen, a strong spirit and confidence are made in the gym/out on the road.
I’m a movement junkie at this point.
I love to move, to challenge my muscles, to grow stronger through consistent efforts over time. Not just because it feels good–and it does–but because it makes me feel vital and alive.
Even more, rising up to meet a new strength or endurance challenge becomes about so much more than a simple feat of physical strength.
It tests my courage, too–my willingness to do difficult things, to dare to try things beyond my known abilities, to manage my fear when things are so hard they seem un-doable, then find I really can do them anyways.
Character is forged through physical effort and struggle.
Character is something that isn’t made in the kitchen; it can’t be made just by minding dietary practices and making healthier choices.
While those things are important and a critical part of a healthy lifestyle, they aren’t enough alone. ‘I feel amazing–like I can take on anything!’ said no one ever who just chose a salad over fruit loops.
But someone who just PR’d their squat or deadlift, or did their first unassisted pull-up, or just completed any workout they once thought ‘undoable’? Yeah, you’ll hear it from them.
There is satisfaction in making each good food choice, but it’s brief at best.
But finding that you are physically, mentally a spiritually capable of something really hard, something that you thought you could never do–that’s powerful.
That changes your character:
It changes how you carry yourself through life.
It changes how you perceive your world.
Fewer things are off-limits, that which you feel capable of doing/accomplishing/cabaple of increases. Your ability to endure, persist and prevail increases.
This is why I am an advocate for moving more, for lifting weights–especially women!, and for doing hard and challenging things.
Building a slimmer you is only a small part of the fitness puzzle.