Some folks hate exercise. Literally. They despise it. And you can sorta see where they’re coming from. It ain’t exactly a pony ride.

  • It’s time-consuming.
  • It’s tough.
  • Your body aches.
  • Your butt smells like goat cheese. (No? Anyone? Awkward.) 

But the story gets a little more complicated. Because some folks LOVE the shit outta exercise. They adore it. They can’t live without it. They’re addicted. They’ll do it everywhere: in the gyms, on the street, in the fields, in a dingy YMCA.

Why such a strong divide?
Why do folks work so damn hard when they don’t have to?
What have exercise-lovers discovered and can they pass that motivation along to non-gym users?

Let’s analyze this exercise obsession. Here you have it…

The Top 6 Reasons Why Exercise is Amazeballs

1) Exercise is Amazeballs because it makes you happy. Like, for real.

I don’t mean this in an esoteric way. I mean it very literally. You’ll feel awesome after you exercise. Immediately. Intensely. Unequivocally. Study after study confirms the direct relationship between exercise and increased feel-good hormones, including a study that suggests high-intensity exercise modulates the brain very much like cocaine (well damn, now we’re talking) [1]. Another recent study confirmed that serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels in the hippocampus were significantly increased by exercise, suggesting physical activity can help manage depression [2]. Plus, there’s no crash and no hangover. An intense high with no hangover? Sign me up.

Even in the 1800s Henry David Thoreau knew what was poppin:

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

- HDT 

Both science and great American poets agree: physical activity and happiness go hand in hand.

2) Exercise is Amazeballs because it makes your life easier.

Being stronger, leaner, happier, and more capable can make for a more manageable life.

  • Your boss needs you to get that box? Yes ma’am, you can get that box.  
  • Your neighbor needs you to rearrange his furniture? Damn right buddy, you’ll move that couch.
  • Your homeboy needs you to carry him home from the bar? Saddle up, cowboy.

Training increases your capabilities. That’s the law of progressive overload — lift something a lil bit heavier each day, get a lil bit stronger. Run a lil faster each day, get a lil bit, um, faster. A body that is increasingly capable makes for a life that is increasingly manageable (read: awesome). 

3) Exercise is Amazeballs because it helps you win at life.

Setting and achieving goals inside the weight room helps you set and achieve goals outside the weight room. The goal-setting/goal-accomplishing cycle is a learned trait. From a very early age, winners start to reinforce this idea that if they set their mind to something and tirelessly work towards its accomplishment, the outcome will be positive. 

Archbishop Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens said it well,

Happy are those who dream dreams and pay the price to make those dreams come true.

Initially, these victories are small. But eventually, the accomplishment (or foundering) of our goals comes to define our life. This same cycle repeats itself on a daily basis with our exercise. For example, if you’d like to be able to do a pull-up you might:

Do seated rows.
Recover.
Do inverted rows. 
Recover.
Do lat-pull downs.
Recover.
Do assisted pull-ups.
Recover.
DO A PULL-UP.

Set-work-achieve-rinse-repeat. The more you reinforce hard work with a positive outcome, the more you think of yourself as a winner. If we get good at winning at exercise, we can be good at winning at anything.

D. Exercise is Amazeballs for your family & friends, too.

I don’t want to get too froofy-cuddle-muffin (it’ll ruin my street cred) but the people closest to you rely on your love, energy, and compassion. Taking care of yourself is an homage to them because a strong and capable body has so much more to give. In fact, honoring the relationship to your body is a profound step towards honoring your relationship to others. This holds true for young mothers, aging grandparents, and loving husbands. Making time for exercise is absolutely, positively, in NO WAY an act of selfishness. Quite the opposite; it is an act of generosity.

It’s short-sighted to use our commitment to others as an excuse to neglect ourselves:

I can’t go to the gym. I need to take care of my kids. 

- Moms Everywhere 

Your kids deserve the best version of you…a version that is constantly challenged and improved with a rockstar exercise routine.

5. Exercise is Amazeballs because it is a celebration of our good fortune.

We’ve been given a body that is strong, fast, and agile. It is truly a work of art.

Take inventory. If you are fortunate enough, you have…

  • Two strong legs that can carry you anywhere you damn well please. 
  • Two strong arms that can lift lots of really heavy stuff.
  • A strong core
  • A strong heart
  • Strong hands

I could go on. It all works. Every day. It works really well. In fact, if you stop and think about it, it’s baffling just how impressive it works. Exercise is a celebration of these gifts. 

6. Exercise is Amazeballs because it makes us sexy.

Let’s be honest…the ladies like a guy with a little sweat on his brow. And the broski’s like a babski with a little chalk on her hands.

These are only a few of the million reasons why exercise is Amazeballs. The take-home is incontrovertible: an awesome relationship to exercise makes for an awesome life. 

Something sorta/kinda like this article was originally written for The Greatist on Feb 4th, 2013.

[1] Behav Brain Res. 2013 Feb 15;239:8-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.10.035. Epub 2012 Oct 26. Daily treadmill exercise attenuates cocaine cue-induced reinstatement and cocaine induced locomotor response but increases cocaine-primed reinstatement. Thanos PK, Stamos J, Robison LS, Heyman G, Tucci A, Wang GJ, Robinson JK, Anderson BJ, Volkow ND. Source: Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA; Behavioral Neuropharmacology and Neuroimaging Lab, Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA; Dept. of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.
 [2] Int J Sports Med. 2012 Jul;33(7):525-30. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1306325. Epub 2012 Apr 13. Exercise intervention may prevent depression. He SB, Tang WG, Tang WJ, Kao XL, Zhang CG, Wong XT. Source: Department of Neurology, Zhoushan Hospital, Zhoushan, China.

It is my mission in life to cultivate people’s relationship with exercise. But I need YOUR help.

Tell me why you think exercise is Amazeballs and let’s set up an entire homage to sweat…

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  • turling

    Makes me a better father and husband. Period.

    • BandanaTraining

      You don’t really need a better answer than that. Keep on rocking, sir.

  • A money

    Makes me a better human in every aspect. And I agree, maxing on deadlifts definitely feels like doing a line of blow.

    • BandanaTraining

      You should try a max dead WHILE doing a line a blow. Whole new level.

  • Mac

    how much time do you have?
    - being more mobile and capable is a huge, sustained confidence boost and just makes life more fun.
    - the high of profound, physical exertion is unique and unmatched.
    - striving for shreddedness is an act of immense respect to 1) yourself, honoring the gift of your body, and 2) others, showing that you respect their self image association.
    - gotta attract a mate! The race must continue! Being out of shape is like playing the dating game on hard mode and I have enough problems already.

    • BandanaTraining

      haha. good stuff Mac.

  • MarktheDuce

    Gives me a euphoric feeling that I can accomplish anything in my life and be a badass while doing it!

    • BandanaTraining

      Love that feeling.

  • Spodz (Codz)

    Did Michaelangelo stare at that perfect block of marble and say, “Why chisle that beautiful piece of marble into a giant David before he defeated Goliath”? … I’ve got handsome marble Rob… I’m gonna chisel it!

    • BandanaTraining

      It’s true. You’re an artist, Spodz. With the heart of poet. And the wings of a pegasus.

  • Angie

    I luuurve exercise cause it makes me a happier, healthier mom who can sprint around the back yard playing tag, piggy back the kids, and tackle them to the ground (safely, all while they giggle). and to hear the hubs say “hey there sexy mama”. ;-)

    • BandanaTraining

      Haha – this made me smile. It just sounds so…perfect. Smiling husband overlooking hot mom chasing giggle children. And yes, exercise is absolutely a part of that happy equation. Hot mom’s lift heavy weights. Thanks for sharing Angie.

  • Claes

    I lift, therefor I am! ;-) Motivation: Why do everybody have such a hard time to stick to their training? I love it, can hardly wait for my next work-out, sometimes I train twice a day just because I feel like it. Another two months and I will reach my 40 year training anniversary, The day I die will be when I stop training, not before!

    • BandanaTraining

      Damn. 40 years of training love. That’s a legit matrimony. Good stuff, Claes. Keep on rocking.

  • AloxAnon

    I love the way my brain any body work together and against each other all at the same time. Plus I like going to the pool with my shirt OFF.

    • BandanaTraining

      Isn’t that a great feeling? To take your shirt off and be REALLY happy about it.

  • Rukia

    I love to exercise in my basement especially during the cold winter months up here in Canada .. you NEED to spend your energy somewhere right?
    I love jump rope !! like a lot
    One can do literally 1000 in a day (with other routines of course) and FEEL like a bundle of excitement with MORE energy ..I know *UNBELIEVABLE*

    • BandanaTraining

      Heck yea. No excuses.

  • Ellena

    Joining a gym with my husband and and 14yr old daughter has brought us closer together. It has done wonders for my marriage as well because my husband sees me working hard to be healthy and sexy and really appreciates that. A bonus has been the added energy and strength from lifting weights.

    • BandanaTraining

      Boom. You know what I say…”Couples who get strong together, belong together.”

  • Goose

    Decided in 2009 that I was tired of being the skinny kid and I was going to do something about it and failure wasn’t an option. It’s worth it every time someone does a double-take 35 lbs of muscle later. Narcissistic maybe, but man it feels great.

    • BandanaTraining

      Hell yea. Congrats on the transformation, Goose.

  • Sylvia Nevarez

    I’ve done so much harm to my body and it shows. In trying to change that, it has been VERY difficult. So I’m now at war with myself. And it’s one that I’m determined to win! Many of the women in my family are overweight and obese as they have surrendered. I must prove to them and others that sweat is our freedom!

    • BandanaTraining

      Amen sister. Best of luck + let me know if I can be of any help.

  • Shane O’Connor

    The confidence you soak up from gym work permeates into EVERYTHING else you do…

    • BandanaTraining

      Absolutely true @disqus_jmqG8dOImK:disqus. “Bro, grab your protein…let’s go get confident.”

  • Bruce

    Feeling bad ass like wolverine (Hugh Jackman). People think it’s his claws but it’s that ripped physique. :)

    • BandanaTraining

      Invincible like Adamantium, baby.

  • David Barcai

    Makes an old man feel strong again- even though it hurts. Plus I look good in my man-kini…amiright?

    • BandanaTraining

      You bring up a great point. Ain’t no motivation like man-kini motivation.

  • Missy Ameduri

    Exercise helps me think positively about my day and life in general, and the more grateful I am about everything I have and don’t have, helps me to bring in more of those awesome warm fuzzy feelings. Exercise makes me happy, and also makes me feel like a total babe. Especially after lifting like a lady boss:)

    • BandanaTraining

      Warm fuzzies are the BEST. Keep kicking ass Missy.

  • Surya

    Oh Rob, this post… I love it so!
    Shall we add to the list:
    -Exercise is a real fountain of youth.
    -It gives less social people a way to connect and bond with others in a very healthy way.
    -It gives us shy ones a sense of self-confidence that lasts.
    -A high five and a smack on the backside from a friend after a good workout is true love.
    -Defined musculature is HOT as faahhh… :)

    • BandanaTraining

      What an excellent list. Thanks for sharing the love. =)

  • jason

    I love weight lifting but I have hockey twice a day all year around besides summer and soccer all year round besides winter.

    • Jason

      Not saying I cant workout I just gotta save the legs