Why We Work Out
Why do people work out? The answer seems simple: to achieve or maintain a fitness goal. But there is more to it.
If someone reaches their physical goal, why would they continue to push themselves? We found answers to this question by asking athletes around our facility why they work out. Here is what they had to say.
“I have found my passion for exercise through long distance running. Senior year of high school, I was the girl who had to walk half of the one mile run in PE. Going from that point to running marathons and competing in endurance races has involved overcoming more trials and challenges than I ever expected, but the feeling of pushing my body so much further than I ever thought it could go gives me a sense of accomplishment and power like no other. It makes me feel like I can accomplish anything if I have my mind and heart set on it and am dedicated to the process. Crossing the finish line and turning around and seeing how far I’ve come, literally and metaphorically, makes it all worth it.”
— Marisa Z., Auburn student and marathon runner
“I want to work out so I can be the best athlete I can be and remain healthy. Lifting relates to basketball because it helps us prevent injury and also be able to withstand the pounding we put on our bodies. Lifting makes our bodies more resilient so we can excel through a long season.
— Jamal J., member of the Auburn University Men’s Basketball Team
“During the process of training, I have to go through a lot of barriers. Sometimes it is a struggle getting up at 5 A.M. and going back in the afternoon. The process can be very repetitive for me, but I make sure to keep small weekly goals. Every week I want to get better, which helps me stay focused on the long-term goal. When I do this, it really puts things into perspective for me. It makes me realize that you can’t take a single day for granted, and that every opportunity you give up makes it that much easier for someone else to beat you. Stay competitive and keep fighting for your goals every day.”
— Cade O., Auburn student, member of the Auburn University Men’s Swim and Dive Team
“All throughout high school I played sports. I had every intention of playing in college, but tearing my ACL for the second time stopped me from doing that. So, I took all that energy and put it into working out. It’s a release for me and I feel so much better about myself when I’m active and doing something. The Rec has been great to allow me to do that.”
— Kaitlyn P. Auburn student, lover of cross training
“I like doing yoga because it is a subtle workout that allows for core strength and a lot of stretching of the muscles. It also allows me to meditate and think about my week and myself.”
— Haley B., Auburn student and Yogi
“Working out for my sport is important because, being a collegiate athlete, I have to be at the top of the game. It will show on the field how much time you have put in in the weight room. We have to work out differently, because with baseball you have to protect your arm. For example, pitchers have different workouts so that we can keep our arms in shape without stressing the ligaments of the elbow. We focus on the little muscles that help us more than the larger, more well-known muscles that everyone works out. The key to our success definitely depends on the weight room and if we take it seriously or not.”
— Cody G., member of the Auburn University Baseball Team
“I work out because it is a very significant part of being a thrower on the track team. Being a thrower means you have to be one of your team’s strongest athletes, because you have to make the implement go as far as possible. We also lift at 6 am. I love lifting in the morning because it’s always a great start to the day, and it gets you in the right state of mind to get stuff done.”
— Erik E., Auburn student and member of the Auburn University Track and Field Team
“I have anxiety and working out is how I’m able to escape the world. I work out because I can do what I want and not be told what to do, I’m able to go at my own pace, and it makes me more confident — which helps a depressive/anxious person. I am also an advocate for health and fitness because I love nutrition and wellbeing.”
— Cassie S., Auburn student and pursuer of healthy living
“I work out because I want to become the best version of myself. Lifting gives me the opportunity to work hard for myself and myself only. There is nobody telling me to do it. I’m my own motivation.”
— Zach R., Auburn student, former diver for the Auburn University Men’s Swim and Dive Team, owner of Fit To Fly athletic brand
From lifting, to climbing, to meditation, healthy living and exercise mean something different for everyone. These quotes came from athletes who exercise in many different ways, yet each response has a common theme: feeling energized, powerful, and stress-free, both physically and mentally.
Remember that healthy living and fitness is not about who looks the best, or achieving someone’s definition of a “perfect body.” It is about how it makes you feel. Hopefully these perspectives haven given working out a new meaning for you. If you are having difficulty being driven in your workouts, let these thoughts encourage you to get back at it — not for the looks, but for the feeling. And as always…
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Elizabeth W. and Michelle M.