How to make working out sound even less like fun than it already does.

During a recent annual physical, my doctor was gathering basic health information,

“Do you participate in at least 30 minutes of purposeful exercise 3-5 times a week?”

I admit that, as an almost-famous personal trainer/group instructor/nutrition coach,  I was a bit taken aback by this question. So, after a dramatic ‘psssshhhh!’, I looked her straight in the eyes, and said,
girl please
But, because I am well-mannered, I think my response sounded more like,

“Why, yes I do exercise regularly.”

Her query was reasonable but it  irritated me because of the qualifier that followed the question…

“Now, when I say ‘purposeful exercise’ I don’t mean cleaning, mowing the lawn, washing the car, grocery shopping or that kind of thing.”

Let me get clear on the definition of ‘purposeful’…

If I were to drive to the gym, purposely pick up 25 pound dumbbells then hike around the weight room for 60 seconds, I can count that as exercise.

But picking up a 50 pound bag of dog food from the pet section of Farm and Home, carrying it to the checkout, tossing it into my car, then, once home, hauling the bag up the stairs and dumping it into the officially sanctioned Kody Food Bin, isn’t exercise?

If I were to participate in an hour-long bootcamp 7 days a week, then spent the remaining 161 hours of the week slumped on my sofa binge watching Breaking Bad reruns, would I be healthy?

Conversely, if I never set foot in a gym but I worked construction, walked my dog daily, rode my bike on weekends and ate mostly unprocessed foods, would I be unhealthy?

Obviously, I understand my doctor’s need to encourage regular physical activity. But the tendency of health care professionals and fitness trainers to prescribe or sanction 150 minutes of purposeful exercise per week not only sounds dreadful, it absolutely misses the point, which is…

Purposeful exercise should be purposely focused on building strength, stamina and stability. So, when you leave the gym you’ll have the energy and ability to purposely carry out the many purposeful activities of your purpose-driven life.
After purposefully and regularly exercising for a few months, you’ll probably be feeling pretty confident about pursuing completely pointless activities like cycling, dancing, bowling, gardening, canoeing, sightseeing…
fun stuf

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