Let's be honest: Working out—something that's supposed to be a feel-good activity—often feels anything but good.
No, we're not talking about the burn associated with squats or the out-of-breath exhaustion after a long run. What we are talking about is the sense of guilt, shame, and anxiety that has found its way into our fitness routines and America's workout culture.
It's so easy to get caught up in the numbers: counting calories, running a certain number of miles, keeping up with everyone else in spin class, and not to mention, the pangs of self-hate we feel when we don't work out at all.
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How many times have you thought to yourself, "I just ate so much—I need to go work this off"? Or "I'm such a loser (failure, slacker, etc.) because I didn't work out this week"?
Fitness blogger Kelsey Miller recently called out this punishment-driven approach to exercise in a Refinery29 post calling for "rational fitness."
According to Miller, rational fitness encourages people to focus on workouts that feel good, rather than burning calories and following rigid rules. "In truth, it's exactly what it sounds like: exercising, but not like a maniac," she explained.
It makes sense: Burning off that donut you ate this morning really has nothing to do with your overall health or fitness success. By following Miller's philosophy, you're working out by doing things you actually enjoy. And the purpose of working out is to gain health benefits like an improved mood, a better night's sleep, less pain, and a longer life (the things we often forget about when we're wrapped in the idea of getting thin), according to Good Morning America.
While it's certainly not the fast track to getting a six pack, rational fitness is an easy way to make a lifestyle change because you're only supposed to do workouts you actually enjoy. There really are no rules to this approach—any way you can move your body counts.
Try a variety of activities until you find something you enjoy. "If you don't like it, you won't stick with it," trainer Kristi Molinaro told GMA.
Tons of health benefits, fun workouts, and less stress—if this is rational fitness, then sign us up!