In this day and age of fitness fanaticism where P90x, CrossFit, Insanity, ultra marathons, Spartan races and sweat pooling workouts surround us, it’s probably smart to take a step back and think about what we are really doing to ourselves.
Is the goal of exercise to annihilate ourselves, seeing how hard and far we can push and tire the body, or is it to stimulate better fitness and health?
Rethinking Workout Out To Exhaustion
What’s the point of working out to exhaustion? There’s almost no physiological benefit and for most of us, the harder we work out the less our body will adapt favorably to it. Work the body smartly and acutely and, if healthy and stable enough to do so, it will adapt by getting more fit and stronger, particularly over time. Overwork the body and it will perceive the event as stress and react by hunkering down to resist further damage, particularly if already dealing with other stresses in life. Repeat this insult to the body and it gets more and more damaged, the opposite of the intended goal.
No workout, in and of itself, gets you in shape and you can’t speed up the process by working harder. The body adapts to what we do and needs, like most things, to be encouraged into growth, not beaten into it.
So I encourage all of us to think about our what our workouts are really doing and consider our body’s point of view. Think of workouts as stimulation, not annihilation. Exercise can and should be manageable and sensible. If something seems too intense and crazy to be good for us, it probably is. Let’s reframe how we approach getting in shape by being smart, not sadistic. Everyone benefits from that approach, except maybe the people making money off seeing how hard we can push humans that are already stressed, tired and malnourished into voluntarily working themselves into exhaustion.
Thanks for reading, have a great day!
P.S. The point of this isn’t to discourage hard work or challenging yourself from time to time it is to discourage putting unnecessary and potentionally damaging stress on your system just for the sake of working hard. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should or that it’s a badge of honor to do so.