Obligation and Exercise

By Trey Tompkins - Guest Columnist

We are alive, first, and then, we can think of ourselves as human beings. That is why we must do things that bring us life, rather than to succumb to the ordinary demands that lull us into an unhappy lifestyle.

I was talking to a friend about the purpose of exercise and why one must find it necessary. If at all. For me, I’ve learned that exercise is meant to establish a freshness and to live from a feeling of strength that comes with it. This is not much different than a hygiene practice. Like taking a shower, you must routinely do it in order to feel cleansed and not create an unfavorable stench. That stench being a negative mental attitude. One in which we bombard ourselves with unloving thoughts that welcome fear-driving responses and reactions to the world around us.

So to it then. Obligation. Where does this come in and how does it play a role in exercise? Obligation is a motivating factor in our lives. We feel obligated as an employer, or a family man or woman, or a child, and it seems that the older we get the more that obligation “train” bears weight in the form of responsibilities. I would say that the obligated person in a society is the more revered or idolized, and the seemingly less obligated person is frowned upon and chastised.

In fitness, athletes are the driving force for activity and most people follow suit doing what they do. We’ve learned through obligation, not devotion, to mirror what they do as the cornerstone to successful results whether or not those actions are fitting for us. With that repetitive mentality, we are like sheep just following the herd. We are obligated out of a sense for doing things rather than from an authentic feel of fellowship to another person or group of people.

You are not a sheep. You are alive and you are aware. With this conscious knowledge you can transform yourself. It does not happen all at once though. It takes time. Not from the calendar, but in real moments in which you escape the clock and lose a sense of timing. Although, we still have our patterns and triggers that pull us into situations, good and bad. Be patient with this.

In my best moments as a personal trainer I am working from a stance of devotion and helping people feel good about themselves. My only obligation is to bring a glow to my client with a refreshing workout. Now, my not so best moments come when I am trying to apply all the bells and whistles of sports science to an exercise program, and forgetting that I am not dealing with professional athletes. Why? Because obligation bit me through guilt. “Shouldn’t I be doing more for them? Faster?” False.

We must take the weight off of our shoulders. Truthfully, there is not a whole lot of weight to obligation. It is actually quite uplifting and lightening. The opposite of what we seem to do with our obligations. We do not have to be competitive. We do not have to envy. We do not have to hold contempt for the lesser off. Rather, we need to cooperate, we need to admire, and we need to lend a hand. With this, we can serve ourselves and feel better about our health.


By Trey Tompkins

Guest Columnist

Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.

Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.