Exercise Sucks — Here’s What to Do Instead

Devin Arrigo

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Exercise sucks.

Sure, it has some crazy good health benefits like improved energy and mood, better brain function, and stronger bones, joints, and muscles — but is it all really worth it?

I get it. I oftentimes ask myself this exact question as I lazily slip on my running shoes for yet another 6 am morning run.

Why do I keep doing this?” I ask myself as I start my watch for an hour-long run before work.

A lot of times, working out is just not fun, especially when you’re getting started. Like anything, the beginning is always the hardest.

Like most people who are trying to get in better shape, the hardest part is taking the first step. With each step after, the decision to workout becomes easier and easier.

Once you get the ball rolling and find a little momentum, getting motivated to exercise becomes much easier.

But how do we get the ball rolling in the first place?

The trick is…
Don’t ‘exercise’ or ‘workout’ — train! Set a goal and train to achieve it rather than arbitrarily working out to ‘stay healthy’ or ‘get in better shape’.

Sure, this mentality works for some people, but general health isn’t very exciting or sexy. It’s not something that gets us out of bed in the morning. And it’s certainly not something that will motivate us to run when it’s cold and raining or to squeeze in that training session before the workday even begins.

Want to know what is motivating?

Training to be able to play with your kids in the front yard.
Training to feel more confident and sexy.
Training for that marathon you’ve always wanted to run.
Training to be able to take the stairs and not get winded for a change.

These are goals that will get you out of bed in the morning. Goals that will motivate you to get the job done when the devil on your shoulder is telling you to skip it. Goals will keep you consistent when everything else is telling you otherwise.

The key staying healthy and fit, is not exercise or workout regularly, it’s to train. Set a goal that actually means something to you, something you really want to accomplish and then train for it.

Don’t Exercise, Train.

This approach is no different than wanting to earn $1,000,000 per year. Or to start the next Apple or Amazon. Or to live in a mansion on the beach with your beautiful family.

First, you have to set the goal. You have to identify where you want to be and how you want to look. Only then can you begin to work (train) to achieve it.

Without actually defining where you want to go, you can’t begin to work towards it. This is why exercising to ‘get in better shape’ is pretty much meaningless.

Sure, it’s great to ‘get in better shape’, but without a clear vision of what that looks like or feels like, you won’t be able to achieve anything substantial.

Don’t exercise to ‘feel healthier.’ Train so that you can chase your kids around the yard with ease.

Don’t workout to ‘get in better shape.’ Train so that you can experience that breathtaking view after a 3-mile hike.

Find something that motivates you, something that actually has meaning to you, and train for it. Arbitrary goals like ‘to get in better shape’ or ‘to feel healthier’ are boring. They’re unmotivating. And they don’t create a specific target to work towards.

But training…training is exciting! It shows that you’re on a mission. That you have a purpose. An agenda. And that you’re working for something bigger than yourself.

So, don’t workout. Train.
Don’t exercise. Train.

Don’t try to ‘get healthier’ or ‘get in better shape.’ Set a specific goal or challenge and train for it. Arbitrary goals lead to subpar results.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results, you have to set goals that actually mean something to you. Goals that will motivate you to stay consistent, even when everything else is telling you otherwise.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being. devin.arrigo1@gmail.com

Los Angeles, CA
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