An Ode to Reps: Why to Love Your Gym Workouts



It’s fair to say that doing yet another set of reps at the gym can get tedious. Even for those of us who love our regular strength workouts, getting up the motivation for another round of burpees or sit-ups or push-ups or squats can be a challenge at times.


There are, however, many reasons for us to cherish these repetitive movements. Because they are a gift to ourselves, a gift of ongoing wellness. And for that, we ought always have thanks.


So when you’re having one of those “Does it really matter if I do 12 more cable rows?” kind of days, here are a few reminders that “Yes, it does.”


It’s About Consistency and the Bigger Picture


Here’s the hiccough I’ve often had with all those exercises and all those reps that make up a regular workout: taken individually, each one of those movements, each rep, may not seem life-changing. And in fact, one of any rep won’t be life-changing.


But done all together and consistently over time, these workouts have great benefits to our lives. So yes, another round of cable rows does matter, because it’s the cumulative impact, the habit of the complete workouts done regularly, that helps keep you healthy and strong.


Your body is continually changing, which means that it requires ongoing efforts to maintain wellness. You putting in the effort on the regular is what you need to ensure your wellness continues.


So there’s a first thing to keep in mind: each one of your repetitive efforts is worth it because each one is part of a much bigger whole.


Sometimes the Reward Is What’s Not Happening


A huge reward of regular strength and movement workouts is that they help you stay structurally balanced and moving well. Whatever other activities we do, this is where the power, strength, range of motion, flexibility, and balance are developed and maintained.


We all have imbalances in our bodies from years of habitual movement patterns and from the impacts of life. A program that is tailored to your body’s needs and abilities helps to address the issues specific to you.


This leads to healthier movement, fewer aches and pain, as well as fewer injuries. And it’s easy to overlook the fact that you aren’t getting hurt and that you’re experiencing less achiness, tightness, or pain. You may also not notice how much easier daily tasks are, or that you have a bit more energy, or that you simply feel more capable.


We tend to be motivated to fix things, but not take stock when things are simply just running well. Be sure to remind yourself that all those reps are big contributors to what’s going right with your body.


Results Take Time: Your Future Self Will Thank You


Results from reps at the gym take time to kick in, and as has been mentioned but is worth repeating: your body is in a constant state of change, so health maintenance is an ongoing process. What you do today impacts your tomorrow.


That person of tomorrow, or next week, or a month or year or decade from now, that’s your future self. And because results take time, and it’s your future self who’s going to be benefitting, consider that person.


Consider how happy you’ll be with the fact that you decided to do something today that contributed to a better you. Think about the very good consequences these not-so-exciting-right-now reps and sets will have.


Take the long view. When your today self is feeling unenthusiastic, or perhaps even apathetic, remind yourself of how much your future self will thank you. And honor that person-in-the-making by going strong to the end.


Better Planning, Better Results


Now of course, a primary consideration in all of this is what reps and sets and exercises you’re actually doing, as well as how many and how often. Doing too much too fast or too heavy can lead to injuries instead of prevent them. Doing too little may leave you without the results you’re looking for. Doing exercises that reinforce bad habits or don’t correct ingrained unhealthy movement patterns or muscle imbalances likely won’t help reduce aches and pains.


You need a workout that works for you: your specific body with its specific tolerances, abilities, and history. And that’s always where an experienced personal trainer is a huge help.


No matter what your goals—a faster 5k, a great ski season, being able to pick up the young children in your life, or simply the desire to feel good—a program made just for you will get you there safer and more efficiently. And a personal trainer will help keep things fresh and even fun.


Move Forward With Purpose


So the next time you’re having some challenges gearing up for that final set of lunges or even getting to the gym in the first place, remember the purpose these efforts serve in your life.


This is your foundation of strength and balance and movement, for the long haul. So every one of those seemingly endless, sometimes tedious-feeling repetitions is something to be thankful for.



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