fitness feels goodWhen I started this new blog — oh-so-long ago, last week! — I knew that I wanted to be an advocate for feeling better through fitness. And so today I was pretty psyched to see that the American Council on Exercise, ACE, reports that “health and well-being —  not weight loss — is being promoted as the primary goal of exercise.”

That statement is number four on ACE’s list of the 9 Things We Learned About Fitness in 2014. It’s a pretty good list, don’t you agree? (On my wish list is one of those HRV monitors, which is number 1).

As a personal trainer, I think this view of fitness makes sense. Even if I provide my clients with a written meal plan and plenty of support and advice, I can’t guarantee they will lose weight because the only thing I have control over is their workouts. Weight loss happens outside the gym and if their behavior when they are away from me doesn’t match that goal, the scale likely won’t budge.

What will change, however, is their level of energy, vitality, strength, muscle tone and general feeling of well-being. How cool is that? Pretty darn cool, I’d say.

Workouts shouldn’t be a punishment for what you ate. They should be a celebration of movement and strength.

It’s empowering to be able to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded. When a downpour strikes, it’s handy to be able to hurry across the grocery store parking lot even though you’re hauling heavy bags of groceries. Being able to spontaneously choose to go skating or play basketball for fun is … well … it’s fun!

I talk to a lot of long-term exercisers about their fitness habits and there’s a clear theme about what keeps them hitting their workouts through the decades: it’s about how fitness makes them feel. Whether it’s the businessman who comes in to lift weights at lunchtime or the college professor who enjoys group exercise classes or the mom/dad who sneaks an hour or so to her/himself to squeeze in a workout while their child is being cared for, ultimately what keeps them coming back is that they feel better when they work out.

That’s why I started exercising, and it remains why I continue to make it part of my daily life 30 years later. How about you?