Fitness Should Not Be Punishment

There is a disturbing trend within the fitness community that has gained momentum over the last ten years.  More and more, people’s mindsets around fitness are changing to view working out as punishment.  People not only expect but want to be beat up from their workouts.  In describing a workout to a friend, the terms used makes it sound like you just escaped a war zone.

Man, that workout was so brutal, it crushed my soul.

I can’t feel my body.

I’m wasted.  That workout murdered me.

I got massacred.  I think I blacked out for a bit.

laid out after a CrossFit workout

Now, I understand the tendency to be a bit hyperbolic after finishing a workout.  It makes for a better story.  But, descriptions aside, many of us have the expectation that workouts should be so hard that they have us passed out on the floor afterwards.

That’s how you know it’s working, right?


The best fitness program is the one you keep.  Sustainable programs are ones that build you up over time - where you leave the gym feeling mentally and physically stronger.  Certainly there will be test days where you’ll push yourself harder, but these days are limited and strategically planned.

Remember why you got into fitness.  The goal is to make you a more resilient human.  Capable of more and allowing you to live your best life.

biking riding outside

The high intensity, all the time craze is the pendulum swinging back from the Richard Simmons, jazzercise, do 3x10 crunches on a big blue ball trend which defined fitness from the 80s to early 2000s.

Obviously, the right mix of training volume is different for everybody as each person has different goals and aptitudes, but, one thing is universally true, fitness should be viewed as an addition to our lives, not as punishment.

For many, CrossFit strikes a great balance between variety and intensity.  You get to play with many different forms of movements including barbells, plyometrics, gymnastics and traditional cardio.  Paired with a great community it has all the elements to keep you engaged and consistent for a long time.

While at times CrossFit can feel overwhelming because there are so many movements and skills to learn, the key is to shift your perspective.  If your goal is to make fitness a lifetime endeavor, then taking two or three years to learn double-unders is no big deal.  The fact that there is always another progression to learn should be celebrated as it's a guarantee to keep you engaged for the long haul.

Now, you may be someone who thinks they don't really like the gym and the thought of doing burpees over a barbell may seem like hell.  The answer is that fitness should not be a one size fits all approach.  Not everyone needs to be doing rope climbs and handstand push-ups. Finding the right activities in the right environment are key to making fitness work for you.

Don't get tricked into thinking you have to do any one particular thing in order to be fit.  The best advice we can give is make your exercise feel more like play.  The more you enjoy it, the more you'll do it.  And, the more exercise you do, the better, more capable human you'll become.  

If you’re finding your workouts are feeling more like a chore than play, reach out to one of our coaches and setup a no sweat intro.  During your visit, we'll craft an exercise prescription that moves you closer to your goals and on a timeline that works for you.

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