You see it all the time. Dudes in the gym that are lifting to get big…huge. You’ve seen them. The dudes that put gel in their hair and grunt really loud just so everyone can hear them lifting the dumbbell with incorrect form. Why are they working out? Are they working out for looks? Do they think they can actually pick up a chick at the gym?

While these reasons might be valid ones, I think that there is an evolution of working out as we develop into men. I started working out at 14 years old because I wanted to fit into a Celtic’s Dee Brown basketball jersey without my mom and sister laughing at me. I was doing bench presses and dumbbells and really focusing on my “pretty muscles” in my upper body. After I achieved some more muscle and was able to wear the jersey, I found that I actually liked working out and that it was fun for me. I could lift a ton of weight for a 5’6″ 130lb. guy (remember, I was 14). As I grew (slightly) taller and older, I found that my reasons for working out were shifting. I still wanted to feel attractive and fit, but I also wanted to be healthy in general. I wanted to be able to live life with ease. I didn’t want to have my back hurt when I picked up a heavy trash can. I wanted to give my girlfriend a piggy back ride and make it seem effortless. My reasons for working out were shifting away from myself, and toward my future family.

Now that I am a husband and father, working out has a whole new meaning for me. It still has a tiny bit to do with vanity. Everyone likes to look as good as they can and a few extra muscles never hurt anyone! I want to be a strong force for my family. My wife and three kids need me! They need me to be the strong daddy that can help solve problems, fix things, take out the trash and lift heavy strollers down stairs. They need me to be able to hold a baby carrier in one hand and carry a toddler in the other. They need me to pick them up when they fall down (literally and figuratively). I work out to show a positive example to my kids of how to take care of yourself. I work out to keep myself in the best physical shape possible so I can take care of them. I work out so that on my ten and twenty year anniversary, I can pick up my wife and lift her over the threshold with ease.

So today I ask YOU…why do you work out? Are you working out for you or for someone else…or both? You don’t have to wait to be a parent to work out for someone else. I am sure you have a family of your own. A mom that needs help around the house…a dad that needs to lose a few pounds and might need some extra bonding time…and if you’re lucky enough, a grandma that needs an extra hand lifting her groceries. While all of these things seem routine, we must not take them for granted and we must keep ourselves in the best physical shape that we can in order to live our normal day-to-day lives. So I leave you with this. Whoever you work out for…do it with passion and dedication. You never know who might be watching!

Lean Green DAD™
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Lean Green DAD™

Cory is a husband, father of three and vegan athlete. His blog, Lean Green DAD™, is a lifestyle blog about food, family and fun that helps passionate people, mostly parents, who have over-scheduled, busy lives maintain a healthy balance of plant-based nutrition, fitness and overall wellness.
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