A little while ago a well known Australian fitness trainer and The Biggest Loser Australia coach Michelle Bridges wrote this piece explaining her Just Fucking Do It (JFDI) philosophy. Essentially, she sees exercise as just another chore – like showering, or going to the dentist, or having to pick up your kids from school. Not fun, not enjoyable, but something you just have to do to get through the day. Something you schedule in weekly and JFDI – like your annual appointment with your tax advisor.
Those of you who have read some of my other pieces on here can probably guess I think that’s crap. Well to word it slightly more elegantly, I think its a really sad way to view your body, and one of the best wellness tools the human species has. Firstly, I just cannot, on any level, understand how anyone could force themselves to the kind of muscle-quivering, bone building, completely fatiguing workouts I’m sure Michelle does without doing them. It sounds like willingly submitting to multiple tooth extractions or colonoscopy preps a week just because. Just in case you’re unsure how I feel about those two things, that sounds like hell to me. Secondly, I’m convinced I’m not the only one who has, at some point, been unable to get myself to exercise just because. At school I had to do sport as a requirement, but after school I didn’t have a regular exercise that I enjoyed, so I didn’t do regular exercise. No amount of bleeting about its benefits would have gotten me into it (though money was a concern – being a student I didn’t have much in the way of disposable income, even to buy appropriate shoes or clothes). As I mentioned in this post, it wasn’t until I was introduced to Barrecode that I started loving exercise again like I did as a pre-school aged gymnast.
Let me clarify one thing – like Michelle, I find my exercise physically hard. The quaking leg sets, the surprisingly evil little dumbbells and the never ending planks in barre are difficult. Pushing up a hill on my bike when my legs are aching and my lungs are struggling to keep up is hard. Holding Warrior 2 for 3 minutes because my yoga instructor has decided to mix it up this class instead of our usual constantly flowing vinyasa is hard. Since last Thursday, I can now also say holding myself up on a wall by only my finger tips and tops of my toes while scrambling for the next hold is really hard! Muscle straining, grunt making, sweat beading hard. It often hurts for days afterwards. But its also fun.
I love the tough sets in barre – the feeling I get knowing I’m making myself stronger, that I’m able to do things I couldn’t do last week, that I’m making myself healthier and a less risky VWD patient. I love the feeling of flying down a hill on my bike, or getting the flow in yoga, of making it to the top of the wall at the climbing gym. For me, all of this is FUN! I’m also not prepare to schedule 5 or 6 hours of deliberate muscle aching exercise a week that I don’t enjoy. And I mean actual fun – I love pushing myself, smashing goals and old beliefs, knowing I am managing my VWD to the best of my ability and preventing bleeding, making myself strong, making new friends in pain at the barre, and making myself strong and happy. Ultimately, I just wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun. For me, just because something is hard, difficult, or gets deep down into your soul, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. In fact, some of that toughness, that resistance usually is a good indicator that its going to be a fabulous, worthwhile experience.
Nor should you. I remember hearing Tara mention in one of her videos (sorry I can’t remember which one) that the idea that life is hard is such a bad concept to give to people. Life is life, and we’re here, so we might as well have fun! We can, its an option, so why wouldn’t you? Given the unquestionable benefits of moving your body (healthier body, better skin, better mood, better sex, an all-round better person anyone?) why would you not make it fun?
So my motivation for exercise (and one I’m trying to run my life by) is that things should, for the most part, be fun and enjoyable. If you want to be there sweating like crazy then you will, and it won’t even be an argument in your head. You’ll just do it for fun (not because you fucking have to).
As always, The Doctor sums it up here: