I workout for a lot of reasons. Among them: to be healthy. To look good. To relieve stress. Most of all, I workout so I can do things.
I’ve done two Tough Mudders and a 2+ mile open water swimming race since I turned my life around in 2013. I trained hard for those events. They were amazing, rewarding experiences…for far more than just the physical challenge.
- Training for and competing in my first Tough Mudder was a big part of changing my life. Along the way, I made new and deeper friendships that are truly meaningful and last to this day.
- My second Tough Mudder took it a step further, when my lovely bride and I finished the course as part of the same team (that’s some couple bonding!). We did a Survivor Mud Run to prep for that event, and are doing a couple more mud runs together in the lead up to this year’s Tough Mudder. The couple that didn’t have anything in common before our marriage collapsed now does mud runs together!
- Training for that swimming event reawakened by love of the water and enjoyment for swimming outdoors. I look forward to that now not just for the exercise, but for the simple act of being both outdoors and in the water.
Training for those things also made be fit, and maintaining it means I don’t have to do any special training for other adventures. Like:
- Last Saturday, my wife and I tackled a rigorous hike of about 7 miles and 2500 feet of elevation gain, including some pretty gnarly stretches we did at a brisk pace. The day after: I was hardly even sore.
- A little over a week ago I ran an 8k race even though I don’t run regularly thanks to bad knees. When I entered, I knew my weight room, yoga, elliptical machine, and swimming work would have to get me through. It did. I ran the race in 35:45, finishing 3rd for males my age (39), 15th out of 186 males ages 35-39, and 214th out of 3792 total finishers.
I was sore for several days afterward because fitness level aside, my muscles aren’t used to road running. But, that’s not so bad. And the point isn’t doing pretty well at the event, the point is being able to do things like that without needing to train specially for them.
That’s why I workout. Because life is worth living. It’s worth having the opportunity to do new and exciting activities with your spouse. It’s worth having opportunities to build new friendships with great people.
My bride was really nervous for our Tough Mudder. Afterward, she totally got why people love the event. That was our “tribe”: people interested in challenging themselves and living healthier lives. And there are few better places to build friendships than when you’ve found your tribe.
Maybe being super fit isn’t right for you. But, I bet being healthy enough to do the things you want to do is. I’m here to testify to that fact; my life changed because of it.