Let People Be People: Exercise Can Feel However You Want It To Feel

Let People Be People: Exercise Can Feel However You Want It To Feel

Evolution is a crazy thing.

And I’m not talking about Charles Darwin’s discoveries with finches in the Galapagos Islands.

But, holy shit balls. His work is kind of groundbreaking. And the conclusions he made about species of finches and their beaks? Okay, I’m being a nerd.

Natural sciences aside, I’m talking about evolution in the fitness industry. Because let’s face it: the way we move our bodies has grown, evolved, shuffled, and oscillated over time. And yes, I just used thesauraus.com so I could list a bunch synonyms for “change.”

We’ve gone from bodybuilding methods to Richard Simmons’ aerobic workouts to P90X to Insanity to CrossFit to functional training, then back to bodybuilding to hybrid training to cardio-is-the-devil-and-you-will-get-AIDS-and-die to strength training to female empowerment through strength training, then back to cardio works (because, science), and somehow, the Shake Weight slipped in there at some point.

Given a copious amount of fitness trends, how should we exercise? More importantly, how should we feel? We’re overwhelmed with so much information we can’t tell our left hand from our right. We’re inundated with so many fitness professionals and fitness celebrities, we don’t know who to believe: Michael Boyle or Tracy Anderson?

Admittedly, my answer to this used to be Boyle. While I still believe Tracy Anderson is a charlatan and Mike Boyle is the man, if people love Anderson’s workouts, I shouldn’t deny them of their joy. So it will depend on who you are.

Also, on what goals you want to achieve.

But first, let’s discuss science again.

We’re educated about the extensive amount of research to back up strength training, conditioning, and hypertrophy for fat loss. There’s science behind power development and plyometrics for speed. There’s proof on hip strengthening to reduce chances of injury. There’s research on cardio for fat loss. And there are thousands of studies on the benefits of “functional” and hybrid training, including intermuscular and intramuscular coordination, human movement subsystems, maximal strength, contrast training, and the force-velocity curve.

However, sometimes people don’t give a shit about science. If people opt for Anderson workouts because they like them, then fine. If people prefer training for bodybuilding shows and living out of tupperware, who am I to say you’re wrong? Or if people prefer ab crunches to core stability work, then Dr. Stuart McGil may care, but I won’t.

At the end of the day, people will be people. I, for one, think it’s bullshit to tell someone how to exercise, let alone, how they should feel. Of course, exercise should breathe life into you and provide you with joy and empowerment, but sometimes there may be days when you’re not a happy camper, perhaps a little defeated.

Running 300 yard shuttles for soccer conditioning? You think that shit makes me happy? Alas, in order to be able to withstand the energy demands of my sport, I have to go through a little discomfort. Or grinding through a 1RM deadlift to build hamstrings of steel? That shit ain’t Candyland. Or warming up with mundane bird dogs because I need more core stability? I’d rather watch paint dry than do bird dogs.

Depending on your goals, not all exercise may make you feel all unicorns and orgasms. Which is totally okay.

On the other hand. at some points in your life you have more wiggle room to do exercise you enjoy and that breathes life into your heart.

Other times, you’re grinding it out trying to train for a challenging goal. You may feel empowered and uncomfortable at the same time.


So you may wonder, why am I saying all of this? Well just like the fitness industry, I’ve evolved too. Sure, I’ve jabbed at fitness celebrities and extreme forms of nutrition and exercise, but I’ve learned through experience and connecting with others, that it’s okay to like what you like. It’s okay to feel what you feel. It’s okay to do whatever the fuck you want on this planet.

Personally, I love strength training and believe the benefits are ten-fold: efficient workouts, increased caloric burn, improved physique, increased confidence, and increased ability to overthrow Donald Trump in office. Moreover, I’ve written a plethora of articles lauding resistance training.

But that’s me spewing my opinion based on experience and evidence based research. And it’s also me whispering to others, “Hey, this works well. Maybe you should try it and see if it works for you.” That’s it.

As long as you’re healthy, moving, and being present, I shouldn’t be one to argue. People will want to exercise the way they want to exercise, and feel the way they want to feel – whether that’s joy, pain, agony, confidence, life, laughter…it’s all good stuff.

So yes, I’ve *evolved* into being more open minded when it comes to other people’s exercise preferences. I’ve learned to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’ve learned to pass less judgement. I’ve learned to allow others to blossom at their own rate in their unique fitness journey.

Evolution is a crazy thing, right? ;-O

  • Shane MCLEAN
    Posted at 14:06h, 14 May Reply

    Great post an congrats on making the PTDC articles of the week. Over time I’ve developed a similar attitude to you.

    • erica
      Posted at 14:17h, 14 May Reply

      Thank you, Shane! I think a lot of us have become more open minded and less set in our ways. YEs, science rules the world, but people also have to be people! 🙂

  • James Dilley
    Posted at 14:05h, 15 May Reply

    I really like this article.

    I’m a big fan of your work and what you strive to promote. Bad ass women who don’t shy away from strength or any productive faucet of training – to be a bad ass.

    Plus, anything to overthrow Trump.

    • erica
      Posted at 14:08h, 15 May Reply

      Thank you, James! Happy to hear you enjoyed the article. 🙂

  • Kim
    Posted at 06:26h, 21 May Reply

    Finally!! Common sense! Ultimately the client needs to get joy from movement or they will never sustain any long term commitment to continuing any new regime! A good friend recently asked me from my fitpro perspective how he could improve his cardio because he was out of breath cycling to work. As a PT with a focus on Resistance training and circuits, he didn’t expect me to recommend more of the things he loved and enjoyed rather than my preferred methods. He doesn’t like gyms and doesn’t like intensity! More cycling, swimming and a few hot yoga classes (all of which he loves!), will be totally fine for HIS goals. For me, those activities don’t get my blood pumping- but my goals are different! I want to squat heavy and look like a bad ass on my Olympic lifts. Should I do the same routine my friend is embarking on- hell no! Awesome article, loved it x

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