Last week, I had the pleasure of supervising a fitness photo shoot for two "great-for-you" exercises that will soon run in the June and July issues of Cooking Light. No matter how many shoots I’ve been on, there’s always one thing you can count on when you’re taking pics of workout moves: everyone (from the photographer to the stylist to the guy adjusting the lights) loves to share what they personally do in order to stay in shape.

If you’re smart and keep your ears open, you can actually learn a lot during moments like this. But instead of writing down "what" a person likes to do activity-wise when they work out, your body may benefit a lot more by paying more attention to "why" they choose to work out in the first place.

For example, one of the fitness models at the shoot was an incredibly fit young woman named Cass Ghiorse. I’ve worked with hundreds of fitness models over the years, and most share the same common reason for why they exercise—because it’s their "job" to look good.

But Cass was different.

For her, exercise wasn’t a means to stay fit for her career. Instead, it’s a way of life for her—a way of life that allows her to perform the activities she loves to do (such as teaching yoga and dancing). It’s that realization—that simple understanding that exercise holds the power to not only help you look and feel better, but permits you to enjoy life to its fullest by making it easier to participate in an infinite amount of activities, experiences, and possibilities—that ultimately decides how well you stick to a fitness regime.


In other words, adding exercise into your life may sometimes feel like it’s taking time away from the activities you love to do, and for many people, that’s its greatest flaw. But the truth is, getting fit not only enables you to make the most out of the things you enjoy doing, but may even give you the coordination, strength, endurance, flexibility—or even just the courage—to try something that could end up being your next "love to do" activity.

The next time you decide to skip a workout session because you have other plans that may seem more fun than sweating, try to imagine the types of fun plans you "could" be having—plans that are even better than the ones you’re about to skip exercise for. It can help you stay the course—and get that much closer to leading the kind of exciting and fulfilling life you could be living.

What motivates you to exercise?


Myatt is a regular contributor to Cooking Light and is the author of the Ultimate Dumbbell Guide.