Why do you exercise?

What does it do for you?

What purpose does it serve?

I read an article yesterday, a marketing newsletter from the great Mark Schaefer, telling the story about the company who were trying to sell more milkshakes and it wasn’t until they started asking what job did the milkshake do for their customers that they were able to begin to change their message and sell more.

It got me thinking more about why we exercise and why I exercise.

For me, exercise and running in particular is about discovering things I can now do that I didn’t think I could do. It’s the creative space that helps me come up with ideas for blog posts like this. It’s the buzz that it gives me from challenging myself and it’s also the therapy for dealing with stress and helped me deal with the grief of losing my parents a few years ago.

When I started working in gyms and doing inductions for new members, we would chat about their goals. Most people wanted to lose weight and get fit, which is still the most common goal. That was fine and I would then get them on the scales, do some measurements then create a training plan.

Sadly, many people stopped coming as often after a month or two. It wasn’t that the training plan wasn’t effective, it was more that I didn’t ask more questions as to why people wanted to lose weight or get fit. They didn’t have a clear idea of what they were working towards.

Losing weight and getting fit are very broad goals that have different meanings for everyone of us.

Having A Clear Vision

I learned to start asking more questions to get a deeper understanding of what was really important to my clients and that’s when things changed. Once we have a clear vision of the goal, achieving it becomes much easier. It’s just a case of mapping the journey to get there.

Sharing An Experience

I now hear a much wider variety of goals. One client told me he wanted to become a better role model and inspire his children to exercise. Another told me she wanted to start running so she could start running with her daughter, share an experience.

One of the best was the client who told me she had a night away coming up with her husband to celebrate their wedding anniversary. It would be the first time they’d been able to do this in 3 years since she fell pregnant with their son. She told me about where they were going, what she wanted to wear and more importantly, how she wanted to feel.

When I saw her a few days later and she started talking about it, her whole physiology changed as she told me how happy she was and how good she felt. She glowed as she smiled and it was easy to see how happy she was.

You don’t get that reaction from standing on a set of scales.

Benefits to Mental Health

When talking about their goals and why they exercise, many of my clients now talk about the benefits to their mental health. Almost every single person now tells me they simply want to feel better about themselves.

This is fantastic that people feel comfortable talking about their mental health and I would say there’s now a 60/40 shift towards the mental side as much as the physical when people talk about their goals.

When you focus on what you truly want, losing weight and getting fit will happen anyway. 

When they do this, more and more people are becoming more committed to exercising as they know where they’re going and the difference it will make to their lives when they get there.

Over to you now.

Why do you exercise?

What job do you need exercise to do in your life?

Please comment below or drop me a message here and let me know. I’m really interested to find out