Life is all about crushing it in the gym, right? I sincerely hope not. Recently I saw photos of an old friend who took the whole I’m going to “cut carbs and hit the gym” thing too far. Picture the girl next door who trained and dieted so much she began to look emaciated, extremely vascular and somewhat masculine. She was also very darkly spray tanned and doing “fitness modeling” competitions. The kind where you say woah, not wow. Here was a girl who looked great by most people’s standards who took her fitness obsession to the level of freakdom. You may say you have a long way to go before you need to exercise and diet less. That may be true but please don’t obsess about it.

Why are we hitting the weights, elevating our heart rate, burning calories, working out and exercising? Tons of reasons should come to mind. However our gym time should not come to dominate our life. I believe we exercise for health and longevity not to evaluate ourselves based on the number of plates we squat.

We exercise to look better, to feel confident and move around pain free. We sweat to be able to keep up with our kids, play a sport better and to burn off stress, not to beat ourselves down and get so sore we can’t skip a few stairs jogging up from the subway. We study and walk the path to fitness to become stronger, improve our posture and become more flexible.

Fitness is for you. It’s not about fitting our bodies into someone else's bizarre body dysmorphic image of health or how many people like your midriff selfies on Instagram. Use your time in the gym to improve yourself. If you make your whole life all about the gym, your physique, your diet and how hard you work your glutes, sadly you are missing the point. Bottom line, the gym should be a means to an end not an end unto itself.

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