We do fitness so different, yet the results are the same...

Megan Dahlman
August 8, 2016

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I am in love with someone who is vastly different than me. My husband and I have been together for 12 years and married for 10, even though we are unique in so many ways.

Looking back to before we were dating, I had always imagined being with someone that was just like me. He’d have a passion for Jesus, fitness, and travel. We would explore the world together, coaching others toward fitness and healthy living. So romantic, right? Apparently God had a better plan. 

The day I met Scott I knew I had met my husband. Not because he was the exact man I imagined, but because he WASN’T, and I instantly knew this was far better. When we met, he had both ears pierced, a faux-hawk, listened to punk rock music, and talked about Jesus, soccer and politics.  Ok, what?!

I’m going to brag on this guy for a bit. My husband is the smartest man I have ever met, and I’m not just biased. If you need technical help, everyone calls Scott. If you’re confused about government, world politics, economics, and business, ask Scott. If you need stats on a random sports team…any sport…he’ll know the answer. Do you need a mechanic for your car? Call Scott. Grow a garden, build a playset, cook an extravagant dinner, testify before the legislature, organize a committee, lead a study…Scott’s the guy. If you need a loyal, steady, gentle and trustworthy friend, it’s Scott.

The earrings and the faux-hawk (and actually hair in general) are gone, but I married a guy that is still amazing to this day. All of the characteristics that make him incredible, I simply don’t have.

I think that our differences are what make us so compatible.

He has taught me much about the world, business, and life in general, and I have taught him a lot about science, fitness and nutrition in particular.

One thing I have come to realize is that we are motivated completely differently. When it comes to fitness, I simply love it. I love working out because of how it makes me feel. I’m not training for a sport, a race, or trying to change my body composition. I just do it. My body feels best when I’m moving a lot, sweating and working my muscles. I can't stop.

Scott, on the other hand, hates it. If he never had to workout another day in his life, he’d be thrilled. Working out makes him feel ill and sore, and he’d much rather have a burger than a salad. However, he is obsessed with sports. He loves to play soccer and golf. And he prefers to keep his physique in check.

The result is the same. We’re both fit and healthy. But our motivations are polar opposites.

  • He gets up early in the morning to do yoga because it helps his golf game. I get up early to do yoga because I like yoga.
  • He strength trains to build his muscle mass to make him a faster, more powerful soccer player. I strength train because I like strength training.
  • He eats chicken salads to stay lean. I eat chicken salads because I like chicken salads. (Well, and I like to stay lean, too. I won’t lie.)

The lesson here is that you need to tap into what motivates YOU.

There is no right or wrong answer. You may be completely intrinsically motivated like myself. You do it all regardless of results. You care more about how it feels and you genuinely love it.

Or you may be extrinsically motivated like my husband. You’re not a fitness fanatic, and in fact, you might hate it. But you deeply care about the results it produces. You are trying to reach a goal weight, play a sport better, or positively impact your health status.

And yes, this line may be blurry for some.
You might genuinely love working out, but the results are just as important to you as well. Or you may begin to exercise and eat better solely for the results, but you find that you start to love the process.

Figure out what’s driving you. Tap into your unique motivation. If you’re results-driven, then make your goals crystal clear so you know exactly what you’re aiming for. If you enjoy the process of it all, then make sure the process is the absolute best option for making you supremely healthy.
Although Scott and I have very different motivators, personalities and talents, we do so well together. God perfectly knit us together and I’m looking forward to the next ten years together. You’ll probably find him on the golf course and me in the gym. And I’m totally ok with that!

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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
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