What Are You Training For?

What Are You training For - Purpose, Cardio, Strength, Goals

 Why do you workout?

I stood at the top of the long curvy set of wooden stairs that reached cautiously down to the beach, grasping the sand at the bottom. I could feel the sun warming the top of my head, as I looked down at the worn, wind-washed, planks. I pulled my ankle behind me for a long stretch. I inhaled deeply enjoying the sea air. I started down the steps toward the beach. The breeze was perfect and playful. I could hear the waves slapping against the sand. I felt my body jumping, antsy like a horse seconds before a race.

My pace quickened. As I warmed up, I canoodled the details of the workout. How long did I want to go? How did I want to vary my pace to keep my body guessing? How many sets of stairs should I challenge my body with today?

Once the workout was set I settled in, letting my body do the work and allowing my mind to soften and relax into the rhythm of the movement.

I looked around at the stunning view as I climbed and descended. Up and down. Up and down.

After several minutes I started to hear protests. My body, straining with effort, said, “Can we stop, just for a moment?”

“No.” I kept going.

My body spoke a little more firmly. (Heart beating faster, breath labored.) “Can we just take a little break, or maybe, can we do this later?”


I thought for a minute, as the stairs stumbled past my running feet. Why don’t I stop?

The answers came tumbling across my brain like the lapping waves far below. I don’t stop, because at the end of this workout… 

I will be more clear-minded

I will be fitter than I was an hour ago

I will put my hand up in the face of heart disease

I will be more patient with my family

I will be more creative in my pursuits

I will be more productive with my time

I will sleep better

I will have killed potential cancer cells

I will have solved problems

I will have formed new ideas

I will be less anxious

I will be a better friend

I will be on my way to still lifting suitcases and soil bags when I am eighty

I will have completed a task even if nothing else gets done today.

I will be more content

I will have said YES, to myself, and my promise to get healthier.

“What?” I said stopping.

An elderly lady, in a pink sun hat, was making her way slowly down the stairs in front of me. She had stopped and was shielding her eyes. She had said something, and I had missed it.

“I am sorry, what did you say?”

She repeated her question.

“What are you training for?”

I paused, considering.

I smiled, gave her a wink, and took the last of the stairs to the top.


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This week when you consider the exercise in your life, stop for a moment. Think about why you are doing it.  Do you fully understand the long-term benefits of fitness and movement in your life? Could you practice removing the first default reasons for working out? – The bikini, the weight loss, the upcoming date, and remember the more important, life-transforming benefits? Remember, you are training for LIFE.

What Are YouTraining For- (1)

41 Responses

    1. Keep going, petite Heartbeat! We all need that encouragement once in awhile. Even from ourselves!

  1. I love your post! I workout for so many of the reasons you mentioned – better sleep, to be less anxious, the list goes on. I get really cranky when I don’t get a certain amount of exercise in during the week!

  2. oh gosh I’ve had company this week and haven’t been able to run all week and it’s been killing me. This is such a beautiful post! Training for life! Clearer minded, productive. I can’t wait to get reset next week!

  3. This is great! I have been going through rehab after being on bedrest for months and everyone asks me why I’m so hellbent on getting back into the gym and back in shape. “You are so skinny! You don’t need to!” I always respond, that I am doing it for me. For my life. I want my body to be healthy (because it wasn’t for a while). I’m so glad you are training for life as well. This post was very motivational.

    1. I am so glad! Stick to your guns. Skinny is such a small part of why we should be working out. I wish you well in your return to fitness and good just getting through your health issue.

  4. Loved this one. Even though I don’t run I loved the writing and the stairs in the picture were exactly the ones I pictured in my mind. Thanks for the encouragement to “train for life”!

    1. It is so important to get to the place where you can internally motivate and you just have to find the why! Glad this was a good read for you!

    1. Mike. This year is new! Tomorrow is new! I know you can do this. Lots of people have failed dozens of times only to succeed on one more additional attempt!

  5. This is such a great motivation. It really is a good thing to think about the “whys” of our workouts. I love your reason. “I will be on my way to still lifting suitcases and soil bags when I am eighty.” 🙂

  6. Yes! Love this! This is exactly why I work out. I went for so long without taking care of myself, and now that I do, I don’t want to stop. There are just too many benefits to keeping fit.

    1. I totally agree, Shann. I feel badly for those that have not made the connection. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Aw, I love this story! So inspirational. I workout to challenge myself, and because I can! I have more energy, I’m less stressed and I just feel better overall. But I love to compete with myself. 🙂

  8. What a wonderful post! This is certainly the reason why I work out. A great motivation for those who do not! 🙂

  9. I, along with 8 girlfriends, hiked from Oceanside to La Jolla over 3 days (we just got back.) We stayed in hotels but carried our clothes, etc. in large daypacks. So many people asked us what we were training for since it looked so strange 9 women walking down the beach with packs. Of course we weren’t training, we were in the process of our trip but “Life” would have been a good answer! Love this post, Heather!

  10. This is a beautiful and inspiring post, Heather! Training for “life” – I love it! Isn’t it amazing what our bodies can do and how powerful our minds are when we are determined to succeed? Keep on being fabulous!

    1. Thank you, Aarika. I agree that our body is often able but our conversation in our head is what shuts us down.

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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