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Why Do You Train So Hard?

"Why do you train so hard?"
I get this question a lot - as I'm sure many of you do as well.  I'm asked why I watch what I eat so closely.  I'm asked why I'll sprint on the treadmill like there's a dog behind me.  I'm asked why I'll set my alarm for 4:30am to squeeze in a good workout before heading to the office.  I'm asked why a sane person would enter a half-marathon in the dead of winter.
I have many reasons for why I train so hard, for why the work part of "working out" is actually a labor of love.  But for this project, I wanted to share a lot more than just my own reasons for why I do this.  I wanted to show that the average person you see training like a mad man or a crazy woman isn't so different after all.  They are regular people.

I train so hard because...
"...I believe being physically fit carries into confidence, focus, and clarity in every aspect of life. It also sets a person apart from the sendentary masses."

Andrew, 31
Specialty: Tricep Push Downs

"I train so hard because mom told me to "never settle!" Also, as a former athlete I know nothing but to give 120% at everything I do. Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best!"

Gordon, 25
Marketing & Social Media Manager
Specialty: Soccer, Weight Training, Nutrition, HIIT, Plyometrics


"I train so hard in order to reach my God-given athletic potential and hopefully inspire others along the way!"

Kelly, age 27
personal trainer and triathlon and running coach
specialty: triathlon, running, tennis.
"I train so hard so my mind is clear from stress from all the challenges I face from a hectic but rewarding job. I also like to challenge myself to do better in all aspects of my life, including fitness."
Sharon, 43
PR/Media Manager
Specialty: Long-distance running
"I train so hard for those who cannot. My older brother was born with cerebral palsy and is very limited in his physical activity. I grew up observing his desire to participate and every day I am reminded not to take my ability to be active for granted. Every race I run is for him.
Bethany, 23
Specialty: running, half-marathons, spinning, cross training, P90X.
"I train so hard due to my personal belief that health is the most important investment in the world."

Philip, 27
Director of Information and Technology
Specialty: Running (8k, 10k, half/full marathons), weight training, cycling, swimming, tennis, racquetball, hiking, snowboarding, soccer, life coach.
"I train so hard because it lifts my spirits and makes me a happier person all around.
I like setting goals and challenging myself; there's a great feeling of accomplishment in meeting or exceeding a goal!"

Mary Dare, 34
Group Fitness Instructor/Mother of three
Specialty: long distance running and boot camp classes. Aspiring tri-athlete
"I train so hard because I want to live a long and healthy life with my family. I also want to set a solid example for my children, friends and others who struggle with their weight."
Jonathan, 34
Sports Marketing
Specialty: Interval, Spin/Cycling, Running, Basketball
*Note - Jonathan has lost 60 pounds since the end of 2009 with a goal of losing 80 more.


"I train so hard because it has become a part of who I am. Pushing myself on a daily basis to accomplish task’s that I once was nowhere close to completing, generates such a sense of self achievement that it drives me to continue my progression. My hard training has helped me drop from a totally out of shape 296 lbs to a fit 215 lbs in just 6 months. It has also helped me maintain this 215 lbs for over a year now and drop my once 12 minute mile to a personal best 5:29 mile. This kind of progression is what drives me to train so hard on a daily basis..."

Brendan, 29
Specialty: YMCA classes & Crossfit
"I train so hard because it's the ONLY way i can shed body fat, stay lean... and really stay positive about life in general! Fitness people are usually the MOST positive group of people!!"
Jmiah Williamson, Type 1 Diabetic for 22 years
2nd Place Winner of Model Universe 2007 and 2008
3rd Place Winner of Model America 2007
"I train so hard because I like to be as strong as I can possibly be. I run, but I don't run for time, just run as fast as my body says I can, but then run faster. I lift, but it's not based on how much I lift. I lift as much as I can, then lift more. I do plyo's and cycle and when my body says "it's over", I say "it ain't over until I say it's over." I guess to me training hard is a mind game. How strong am I mentally? That's what I like to explore."
Desiree, 42
Personal Trainer and Fitness/Sweatcamp Instructor at Frye Gym
Specialty: Running, Power/Endurance lifting, hiking, and motivator
"I train so hard because it is my desire to honor God by striving for growth in the 3 areas of my being: Spirit, Soul & Body. I also feel like being the best person I can be in these 3 areas may allow me the opportunity to encourage & inspire others to do the same."

Jill, 38
Wife, Mom & Homeschool teacher of 2 beautiful kids
Specialty: Athletic Conditioning, HIIT, weight training, yoga, plyo, Surfing (where there's waves!)
"I train because I love a challenge and enjoy working towards a goal. I train with Ward because it makes me feel nostalgic about my college field hockey days!  Can't wait for the Cooper River Bridge Run this year!"

Caroline, 28
Account Executive - Marketing/Advertising
Specialty: Running, Mountain Biking, Field Hockey, beginner Triathlete
"I try so hard so I can stay sharp...I think when you are fit, you feel better about yourself and thus produce better work.  Plus I like to give myself goals when it comes to working out - I don't stop until I achieve those goals."
Dixon, 27
Specialty: Half-marathon
"I train so hard because proving someone wrong is the greatest feeling ever.  I was once told I would never be good enough for one certain college (will remain nameless to protect the innocent), well my whole college career I never lost to an athlete from there!  All in all I have been told I was always too fat or too slow to be a top-level athlete.  Once I got out of my own way and started training with an open mind, I achieved success unlike before." 
Director of Sales
Specialty:  Former all-american (Javelin), 2008 Olympic Trials Qualifier, beginner Triathlete
"I train so hard because.....my body CALLS me to do so.  I believe pushing myself to the limit is the only way to honor God for the gift."
Theresa, 25
Graduate Student
Specialty:  Group Fitness/Mud Runs

For me - I train so hard because it is one of the few aspects of my life that is within my control.  I cannot control the weather,  I cannot control the economy.  I cannot control my family members, or my job, or my favorite sports teams.  MOST of life is largely out of my control and in the capable Hands of the Good Lord.  However one of the few things I can control, is how well I take care of my body.  I get one body, one single chance to take care of it for better or worse.
I also agree with a few of the above contributors.  There's something special about pushing your body (and mind) to places you previously thought were not possible.  The sense of accomplishment in achieving a feat (whether it's a half-marathon, fitness class, mountain bike excursion, or weight loss goal) that previously left you intimidated.
There are a littany of reasons why people train so hard. One person's reason is specific to him or her, and I invite you to find your own.  However the overall point is that those of us who seem fanatical about this part of life, aren't that much different than anyone else.

Reader Comments (1)

This was movtivating and inspiring - thanks for collecting all of these reasons why people train!

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJess
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