Often times when we think about our reasons for training they can be pretty obvious such as a weight loss goal. This is an obvious goal because it’s the number one goal of people who have gym memberships. Heck, it’s probably even the number one goal of even the ones who don’t have gym memberships.
And it makes sense to drop a few extra pounds. It takes stress off weight bearing joints. It allows us to move more easily and without feeling totally spent after performing daily tasks like walking up a flight of stairs.
There are improvements to our blood chemistry and overall physiology. Our sleep improves and so does our mood. The truth is we can find many reasons to invest our health by taking some time for training and proper nutrition.
But what I find really interesting is that all of these reasons are lower in the grand scheme of things.
Consider Maslow’s Hierchy of Needs.
The diagram represents a variety of human needs from more basic ones at the bottom. In other words as basic requirements we need to breathe, eat, drink water, sleep and carry on basic physiological human needs.
But as we progress we must satisfy higher levels of needs related to feeling safe, being loved, having esteem and eventually realizing self-actualization.
So how does this relate one’s fat loss goal? What does my fitness training have to do with these needs?
Let’s look at each of these in detail.
Physiological – Getting started on a training program involves better nutrtional choices. We drink more water. We sleep better. And as a result our physiological needs are satisfied.
Safety – With our training our primary goal is to reduce the incidence of injury. We want to strengthen your immune system to keep you from catching the various colds and flus that get passed around. You are protected from many of the challenges to your health that may afflict those who doesn’t take the time to train.
Love/Belonging – As basic needs I can these as being more basic than the next one. But if you think of how fitness allows you to release any stressors you may have you would definitely be more loveable. And when you consider how a membership at a training centre creates a community of fitness people there is definitely a sense of belonging.
Esteem – To me this is one of the most direct benefits of fitness training. It gives confidence when results are achieved. I love seeing how a individual’s personality changes for the better when they achieve a goal. They walk a little taller. They are more outgoing. They smile and laugh more. They are more confident people.
Self-Actualization – The further along we get with our training the more likely we are to be able to help others. We recognize how much more there still is to learn and achieve. And we strive to seek our better, more efficient ways to help others.
So what does mean to you?
Well, while you may initially think of fitness training as simply a means to achieving an end e.g. weight loss, increased strength, there are many higher level needs which may be attained. For example having more confidence, developing meaningful relationships and making a difference in the lives of others will ultimately mean more and outlast any weight loss or strength goal.
And in the end these higher needs mean more and make finding the time, energy and motivation to train a little easier.