Why Do You Exercise?

I received an interesting email from one of my Fit Fun Bootcampers Angela.  You may remember she is the one with only one arm that made a really cool video about the process she goes through before bootcamp to put her other arm on, and what she is able to do in the workout.  In case you missed it here it is.

Here was her question:

Hey Dustin,

I don’t know if this is a more appropriate forum for my comments or not but I am trying to refrain from writing random thoughts on your blog that don’t answer the question you ask 😉

Awhile ago you wrote about a long bike ride you took and asked yourself the question “why do I do this?”. I get this question a lot, mostly due to the 5:30 bootcamp start time. I usually throw out the very profound “because it’s fun”. I decided to ask myself this question, not only as it relates to bootcamp but with the martial arts stuff I do as well. Obviously it isn’t always “fun” so there must be more there. I tried out the “it’s just what I do/who I am” thing, but again it is a choice, so there is more to it. I’m still working on figuring out what is true for me but I do know what the answer should be. Although on the surface it isn’t more profound, your reposting of your interview with Megan reminded me that the answer should simply be, “because I can”. I don’t know if I see it as a responsibility, or what I think of the “to whom much is given, much is expected” idea. I do know how lucky I am to be able to run the hill, even if it isn’t always fun. I’d be interested in knowing what you came up with for an answer (and everyone else for that matter). Can you make it an official blog question sometime?

Thanks for all you do!


Here are a couple of my thoughts.

-The feeling I get immediately after the workout.

-The sense of accomplishment.

-The adage, how you do one thing is how you do everything… If I slacked in my workout, quit early, or didn’t try hard, it would be the same way with any other area of my life.

-I always want to be getting better as a person in all areas, so I want to continually improve my body.

-The knowing and belief that exercise will help me feel better long term, allow me to do whatever I want, give me more energy… etc…

Hope that helps!


Question:  Why Do You Workout Hard and Push Your Body?


  1. Melissa Bublitz says

    I too can give lots of quick answers like even though sometimes it is hard, in the end I always feel better when I push myself. Also I want to set a good example for my kids, especially my daughter. But I think for me the deep answer is my psychological well being, when I push myself hard and succeed I know deep down inside I am capable of amazing things whether I face physical, cognitive, or emotional challenges, I have strength and that feels powerful on the inside and out.

  2. Great question and worth thinking about. I workout hard and push my body because of several reasons:

    Improves my self esteem and makes me feel empowered

    Mood stabilizer

    Feels good afterwards

    Has become a way of life

    Anti-aging benefits

    Taps into my inner strength that spills over into other areas of my life

    Proves age is just a number and that at 53, I can still look good and be all that I can be!

    I have one body and one life and want to live it to the fullest!


  3. I’m just starting this process of transformation. So I am asking myself not so much, “why do I do what I do?”, but “why is it so important to me that I commit to doing this for myself NOW?” I agree with Dustin in that I believe that who I am in one area of my life translates into who I am in other areas. For the most part, I am a confident, competent person professionally, socially, and spiritually, but I feel I have repeatedly failed myself physically- I have let other commitments (esp. family) keep me from going all out physically- and to see what I can really do. I’ve been to 2 boot camps so far(got rained out this AM!), but I am so excited to see what is still ahead for me and what I can become through this group. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Lynne,

      Thanks for the comments, you are the type of person that I wanted to reach with this post. Look at all the other reasons people do it, and find one or two that you can really connect with. The same steps that it takes to be successful in the areas of your life you mentioned, are the same ones that will allow you succeed in your health.


  4. First of all I have to say Angie is an inspiration I got the pleasure to meet her at the Komen walk, she was doing the komen run and decided to join our Fit Fun Bootcamp team.
    For me bootcamp has gotten me so much more active in general and when I am done in the mornings I just feel good and proud of myself. But my whole outlook on fitness and nutrition has changed and I owe it all to Dustins programs and the trainers.
    I remember when my daugther first stumble across his ad on craigslist..Im like bootcamp? what? Is this like the army? Is this going to be someone yelling and spitting in your face? Im too out of shape for this! Much to my surprize.. the staff was supportive and let you work at your level what you could handle and only with positive support. There were many in class in great shape but no one ever made me feel like I shouldnt or couldnt be there. That first week I could have easily thrown in the towel because I was very sore but something made me push through and by the next week my aches and pains recovered and now I just look forward to class. Its not only made me physically stronger but mentally stronger and for me the mindsight is my bigger challenge.

  5. When I am able to get through a tough workout, I feel that I can handle anything that life throws at me. I too get a wonderful feeling of accomplishment after pushing myself. I feel strong and capable. I, too want to be a healthy, active example to my three children. Also, being a working Mom is just exhausting. Taking the time to workout energizes me and gives me some “me time” where I am doing something just for me…..for my body and my spirit. It improves my state of mind and keeps me more peaceful…..
    Keep on pushing yourself everyone!!

  6. Sharon Jimenez says

    Why do I workout hard and push my body? Several reasons.

    One reason is simply for the health benefits. I have Addison’s Disease (my adrenal glands don’t work and so I need to replace cortisone in my body daily and boost it more when I’m sick). From the reading I’ve done, many with Addison’s are overweight which leads to so many other health problems. After having been very thin most of my life, I quickly gained weight when I began taking meds for my Addison’s. When I reached a very unhealthy weight about 14 years ago, I said enough! It was time to take control of my health-I didn’t want this disease to define me. Through healthy eating (following the Weight Watcher’s program) and plenty of exercising I’ve taken off the weight (70 pounds) and maintained that for the past 13 1/2 years.

    When I started the healthy eating combined with exercising (which I had already been doing) I noticed my migraine headaches all but disappeared. After having 3-4 migraines a month that is about all I get now in a year. My resting heart rate went from 90 beats per minute to 55 beats per minute

    An even bigger reason why I continue to exercise is stress release! Parenting a very high needs special needs child that we love very much still takes a huge toll both mentally and physically. Exercise helps me to have the energy to deal with his needs in a calmer way, In addition, it helps give me a positive attitude in dealing with all we go through on a daily basis. Also, I teach and truly believe exercising has enabled me to be a better teacher. That may sound far fetched but I’m not as tired as I was and am healthier so it helps me bring my “A” game to my teaching.

    Adding in boot camp for me this summer has been an especially exciting challenge because while I have exercised for years and try to eat healthy my strength leads a lot to be desired. Boot camp is helping me to improve my strength and challenging me to do things I thought were out of my reach!

  7. What wonderful comments! I love the “because I can”. It’s very humbling to you really sit and think about people who physically can not.

    I enjoy exercise because it gives me such a natural, healthy stress release and really makes me a better mom, wife, coworker, etc.

    I feel like everyday that I take care of my body now, buys me another day in my life where I am strong and healthy enough to play with my great-grandkids and work in the garden, etc.

    I also believe we are the best role models for our kids and if we want them to know how to care for their bodies, we have to care for ours, too.

  8. For me the answer to this question is easy- it is a break from reality. It is a moment in time where I only have myself to think about and can forget all of life’s stressors. It allows me a chance to re-boot myself so I feel strong enough to deal with other challenging situations. The long term goal of getting more healthy is also a plus!

  9. Mary Miller says

    Wonderin how much poundage I should do for upper body weight lifting. I am 73 years old and fairly active. I go to Curves about 4 times a week, walk 2-4 miles a week, go to water aerobics 2x a week when we have it, yoga 1-2 x per week in fall and winter and know I golf 3-4 times a week and I usually walk. Wondering about the weights???

  10. Angie, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts with Dustin – I think your insight about doing all of this “because I can” is sooooo important -anytime I start to feel lazy or down on myself, I try to reframe my thoughts and look at working out as a privilage – there are so many individuals all over the world who don’t have the luxury of working out because they are preoccupied with trying to meet their basic needs – hunger, safety, even survival. When put in that perspective, running the hill a few times a week seems more like a blessing than a chore. 🙂

    http://jessicavitalis.com Stop Pinching Your Sister!

  11. At the core of my desire to workout is the incredible pleasure I feel when
    my body moves in space. I’ve had this feeling since I was a kid and could never fit in enough running, jumping, biking, etc. in my day.

    I just turned 60 and the need to move my body through space is still an essential element to living.

  12. i saw a t-shirt recently worn by a crossfitter (talk about work outs that aren’t really fun; i know people who have anxiety attacks before them!). the shirt said “something doesn’t have to be fun for it to be fun.”

    a good friend of mine also points out that, at the end of the day, nobody ever says “damn, i wish i hadn’t worked out today.”


  13. When I first started to exercise, (Fit Moms For Life DVDs) I wanted to be a good example for my two little girls. As time has went on I have found that I exercise because it makes me, finally, feel good about myself. Which in turn has made me a better mother to my two girls.

    This process has really been about finding myself, how dorky is that, but I love it and I think that is why I am able to get up each morning at 5.

  14. Christina says

    I’m sure this question is as ancient as mankind. In fact, the following quote “Mens sana in corpore sano” (Sound mind in a sound body) was the answer to the question: What should people desire in life?

    As I get older (I’m 45) I feel my mind, and hopefully life wisdom, are growing stronger. Buy my body was going downhill thanks to a corporate desk job, a one hour commute to work, and office treats. It had to change! I’ve been going to bootcamp for two months now and although I admit I still need to be better at what I eat, I feel so MUCH BETTER! I’m stronger and happier. I was totally bummed that bootcamp was cancelled today due to the weather.

    So, yes, I go to Bootcamp because I can, because it makes me feel good, and because I want a strong mind and a strong body! Life is Good 🙂

  15. A big shout out for “because it’s fun.” I believe that is our purpose in life- to experience joy. Life is supposed to be fun. Fun for me about bootcamp- I love being outside at the beginning of the day, and exercising my body with other positive, uplifting people. I love thinking about and feeling my body getting lighter and stronger.

  16. I exercise because it makes me feel better. It allows me to work out any stress I’m feeling and lets me just escape from everything else for a little while. I’ve tried to maintain some sort of exercise regiment since college, with various degrees of success, but I’ve always done something. I’m hoping that I’m setting a good example for my kids in keeping exercise an important part of my lifestyle.

  17. Sandra Meinholz says

    I exercise because of two reasons:

    #1: My daughter Lydia thinks I’m super-mom after a workout because she sits and watches me and the other moms push ourselves.

    #2: I want to be a “hot” mom and look like all the other moms that are there when I am.

    I sometimes wonder why I can’t always do the exercises when others seem to make it look so easy but I try not to let that deter me from going. I have a hard time working out by myself with the dvds because I like the personal one-on-one attention with other moms.

    Even though I don’t always work out as much as I should, I always feel good when I’m leaving. I have less stress in my life and feel like I can handle any and all whining from my two beautiful daughters.

    Thanks for all you do Dustin! I know I couldn’t keep working out without your and other moms’ help!!


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