Do You Have a Big Enough Reason to Exercise?

The other day I sent a message to one of my clients who sees me every two weeks for a single session. I was checking in to see if he wanted to workout and offered him three times over three days. Here was our exchange:

Steve: I have to pass this week, sorry.

Me: No problem. Wherever you are do your best to get to the gym or do something active! 🙂

Steve: I will try.

Me: Try? Hahaha. No, no… Calendarize it! 🙂july-workout-calendar-2013

Steve: Lol ok I will do it boss!

Me: You see, doesn’t that feel better? Not to sound dramatic, but you’re making a commitment to your most important client, YOU!

Steve: It does. I like your motivational talk, Darren. 🙂

Me: We all do this, including me. We allow so many other things to take over control and to take more importance than the single most important thing: our health and well-being. It all starts with health. The healthier you are and the more fit, the better you can perform in every aspect of your life. We all need a little push here and there. Happy to help!


Why was this conversation important?

If we don’t have a why or a compelling reason to exercise (or any other habit that would offer positive change and growth in our lives), what’s the point?

A few weeks later I had a training session with the same client. Committing to regular exercise is a challenge for him.

When he’s on track he loves it — he feels great and he eats better. But as soon as he allows himself to make excuses, he gets down and slightly apathetic about working out.

He like variety and brevity when it comes to exercise. What works for him are group fitness classes, yoga, bodyweight or minimal weight circuit programs that he can do at home, and the occasional butt-whipping-workout with me.

The next conversation elaborates on the above, and I hope he gained useful insight into his own motivations. It was a tremendous learning experience for me.


Steve: I’ve been really unmotivated lately. I don’t know why. The strange thing is that when my mother was in town visiting for a couple of weeks I worked out almost every day. I saw a difference! I could see tone and my stomach was flatter.

Me: And how did you feel?

Steve: Great! I had more energy and I was eating better.

Me: So why did you stop?

Steve: [Shrugging] I don’t know…

Me: I say this jokingly, but were you working out to avoid spending time with your mother or were you trying to impress her.

Steve: I love seeing her, but I think I was trying to impress her. I wanted her to know that I’m taking care of myself.

Me: That’s great! And you did. And you felt really good about your body too! So can you go back, right now, to how you felt when you were active when she was here? How was your energy, your sleep? How were you eating?

Steve: Ya, I need to get back there.

Me: So what’s your compelling reason for continuing to be active, on your own, without my help, on a regular basis?

Steve: [Shrugging again] I don’t know…

Me: I bet you felt proud of you body, looking at it in the mirror.

Steve: [Smiling] YA! I did.

Me: What about your partner? Could he be your compelling reason? Of course you need to be doing this for yourself, but if you looked better and felt better about your body, would you feel like being more intimate with him? I’m not saying that you need to have a perfect body to be loved, but on a psychological level, if you feel attractive when you look in the mirror, and you exude that energy to your parter, how do you think he’ll respond to you?

Steve: [Grinning slightly, a little embarrassed] I can do that!

Me: So when is your best time to work out? For how long and doing what types of activity?

Steve: I can work out at the gym in my building. I’ve done the workout we’re doing now with the weights we have there, and I’ve done the 7-minute circuit workout.12well_physed-tmagArticle

Me: And you like some of the classes here at the gym, right? What about going to yoga on the weekend with your friend, like you told me about, to integrate the social aspect of exercise as well?

Steve: Ya, sure, that works. I can do that.

Me: Why don’t you email me your commitment to yourself. Detail how often you plan to work out in the week, and what you plan to do. It’s really important that you do this act of writing down your commitment for yourself, to solidify it. If you do that I’ll send you a meal planning cheat sheet as a reward.

Steve: OK! Sounds great!


Does any of this sound like you, if not for exercise but for any other aspect of your life?

What are you not doing because you haven’t taken the time to get a clear and compelling ‘why’ or reason?

If you want to loose weight you will need to eat healthy 90% of the time and exercise almost daily. What are your compelling reasons?

If you want to earn more money or change careers, what are your life-altering reasons for wanting to impress your boss to get a raise or a better position, to start your own business, or to take courses to improve your knowledge and skills?

Making a choice to define and improve your life starts with a reason. The bigger and more meaningful the reason to YOU, the more likely you will take action towards achieving the outcome you desire.

Be well.

© 2013 Darren Stehle. All Rights Reserved.