Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

September 18, 2009

Beyond the Sexy

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , , — Mara @ 11:32 pm

So as CrossFitters, most of us don’t need a lecture on why we should exercise. For me, the importance of exercise came first, and eating “clean,” “primal,” and/or “zone” came second, as a means to the end of athletic prowess. It has since become clear that what I eat has as much or more to do with how I perform, and how I look, than does exercise. Since I enjoy exercise and enjoy the social aspect we have at FAHBG, I keep it up. But it has occurred to me that I could probably maintain my physical appearance and workout maybe half as much. Sleep in more. Get sweaty and overheated less. Feel like I might die or at least pass out, um, never. So why keep going with intensity and frequency?

In short, because it’s about more than looks.

Mark Sisson gave a short list today that nicely sums up the non-appearance based benefits of exercise:

  • The more lean muscle mass you have, the healthier you are.
  • The stronger you are, the better equipped you are to handle what life can throw at you.
  • Strength and fitness are hallmarks of youth; if you want to enjoy vibrant longevity, working out can help you achieve it.
  • Exercise can release endorphins, the hormones responsible for such enjoyable sensations as runner’s high, lifter’s ecstasy, and sprinter’s joy (okay, I just came up with those last two, but they’re still real).

First, long-term health and how long you will live are directly related to how much lean muscle mass you have, because that correlates to how much organ reserve you have. Basically, if you have more muscle, your organs will last longer and function better.

Second, life will be easier to handle if you’re fit. Maybe that tax bill will still feel like a load of bricks, but that unexpected moving day or rock in your way or broken elevator will feel much lighter.

Third, the fitter you are the younger you will feel. It’s that simple.

Fourth, exercise is like crack! Once you’re hooked, it’s good for a fix every time.

We are all going to get old. But how fast we get old, and how good we feel in the meantime, is largely up to us. I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m 87, all grey and wrinkly, I want to be dragging my butt out to a CrossFit gym and doing medicine ball cleans like this grandma, not lying trapped in some nursing home wondering why I didn’t just get up at 5:30 and go lift some freaking weights!

The other thing I really appreciated from Mark’s post today was the reminder that exercise doesn’t always have to be balls-to-the-wall, all-out, pukeypukey craziness. In fact, at least one workout a week should be light play, like taking a walk or playing frisbee. It should be fun. It should be easy. Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to feel like I want to die EVERY time I exercise…. only most of the time…. 😉

Mark sums it up perfectly in his exercise mantra:

“Make your easy workouts longer and easier, and your hard workouts shorter and harder.”

It doesn’t get much more simple than that!

Anyone want to take a walk?

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