Nurture or Torture?!

Small group fitness at TFW Sussex.

Small group fitness at TFW Sussex.

The two words above are pretty close to each other in spelling yet pretty much opposite in meaning. But, I sometimes here people confusing the two when it comes to describing or thinking about fitness.

The notion that training or exercise is something related to torture is an error, a mistake, or perhaps linked to a bad experience. Maybe some people persist in using the term torture to distance themselves from participating in exercise. After all – if it’s torturous why would you want to do it? It’s a great justification!

Training can be challenging and hard work – and has to be at some level. But, when you get the level of what you are doing correct and progress gradually, what you get is something nurturing. Your body gets better – fitter, stronger, healthier, and more resilient. If you were pushing or being pushed in to something torturous you would be breaking down, getting worse, and having worse health etc.

The truth is, everyone should be able to start and build their fitness habit at the right level for them. There is no need to push the limit on anything initially – there is plenty of time for that. Build a foundation and gradually enjoy the increase in ability and challenge. Some people really enjoy challenging themselves and getting out of their comfort zone and there is always room for this as long as it’s safe and appropriate for the individual.

Just adding more of something does usually not equal better. A bootcamp type experience is not what it’s about – unless that’s your cup of tea. Some kind of physical beasting will get you hot, sweaty, and breathing hard, but if you have goals that you want to achieve there maybe better ways to get there. A gradual, progressive, and balanced training programme will keep you moving forward at the right level and for the longer term.

If it ever starts to feel like ‘torture’ or you start thinking about what you are doing in these terms – maybe it’s time to reconsider your approach! Get started again on the side of nurture and allow your body to adapt positively before you let pushing through some ‘red line’ put you off.

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