When Working Out Works Out For You

It’s a week until turkey and Black Friday savings madness for my American readers – may fortune favour the bold … and those that brave third helpings of the stuffing and mashed potatoes.


I was going to write about fitness in this post, and honestly, my initial opinion was that working out didn’t have a direct impact on my writing. I first thought this because my main writing process, as mentioned in my post about beating writer’s block, I like to play out my story ideas in my head like movies. This tends to happen when I’m stuck in traffic, walking to and from wherever, or while I am waiting to fall asleep.

I favour weightlifting and honestly, the whole hour I work out, I am just struggling to keep my motivation up. I work out four times a week, so you’d think I would have tons of time to layout my stories. But I honestly can’t think of anything but working out when I’m in the gym. It takes all of my willpower to push, push, push.

So, I was originally going to write that working out – while good for me – wasn’t good for my writing.

But then, I thought of why working out is good for me.

I first started working out to lose some weight. I quickly fell in love with the sense of accomplishment and calm I felt after an intense workout session. I lost my weight but kept going. I started out with cardio but found that I enjoyed the variety in weightlifting more so I switched to that.

Besides getting fit and feeling great about my body, I always left the gym feeling relaxed. I usually go to the gym during my work day and no matter how horrible my day is going or how stressed I am, working out completely changes that. It gives me the break I need while also giving me that sense of accomplishment.

I set out to write this post about how, while I enjoy working out, I didn’t think it had any positive effect on my writing.

Now I know that is not true. I write more and I write better on the days I work out because I am in a better mind set. While I can’t concentrate on my ideas or plots during weightlifting, going to the gym de-clutters my brain and clears the way for more effective writing later.

Weightlifting definitely helps me write and, generally, overall in my life. I am a lot more fit than when I first started three years ago, and I feel better about myself. Equally as important: working out helps me clear my head and leave space for my creativity.

Even if you have only a half hour or ten minutes, I encourage you to get out for a walk or get on the elliptical. Join a local yoga group or fitness class and capitalize on the peace of mind and accomplishment it will bring to you.


Also, contextual bonus: start working out now and maybe balance out all that holiday food you’ll be stuffing yourselves with, my American readers!


x P.L. McMillan


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