We Get Letters!

Like it or not, each issue, Tonic Publisher Jamie Bussin gives his thoughts on health and wellness.Punishment Workouts


Exercise advocates sometimes get a reputation for zealotry. Some have suggested that ‘Crossfitters’ enjoy bragging about their workouts more than the actual workouts. Soul-cyclists and Pelotoners can come off as culty. Even yogis can veer into evangelism. It doesn’t take much to get me talking about my exercise regimen: one of the few things that this cynic actually believes in. And when you talk about workouts, inevitably the discussion devolves into the difficulty, challenge or intensity.  While my workouts are punishingly hard, they aren’t meant to be punishments.


What are punishment workouts? Raise your hand if you’ve ever overindulged – dessert, snacks, wine, edibles etc. Keep your hand up if the next day you felt guilty about said overindulgence and decided to kick up the intensity of your usual workout. Maybe you thought that adding an extra 5 km to your run would balance out the row of cookies you scarfed down the night before. Or you polished off the Scotch to wash down said cookies, and despite the hangover and rumbly tummy you’re going to accept that 100 burpee challenge. (Note: these are hypothetical examples, which may or may not be grounded in reality).


But I’m not saying that hard workouts are bad per se. It’s important to challenge yourself physically. The takeaway is that the reason for the hard workout contextualizes the endeavour. And I say this, with the complete understanding that I’m hardwired to be motivated out of guilt. The truth is that punishment workouts don’t work in the short run or the long run (pun intended). If you really had a Scotch and cookie session blowout, one workout isn’t going to balance out that carb orgy. Exercising harder with a hangover might lead to illness or perhaps an injury. And if you indulge/punish a few times and get away with it, it might devolve into an unhealthy cycle.


But most importantly, and I have to remind myself of this all the time, you shouldn’t think of exercise as punishment (unless you’re a masochist), because then you won’t want to exercise.  Exercise will become the thing you have to do in order to indulge in the behaviour you want to do. Exercise, even hard exercise, shouldn’t be thought of negatively. For some that is a difficult concept – they just don’t enjoy exercising. To that I would respond; if there truly is no form of exercise that you like then focus on the results of regular exercise. You will burn more calories. If you sweat, you will help your body rid itself of impurities and toxins. If you include some aerobic intensity, you will experience an endorphin release (aka. The Runner’s High). In my experience, regular exercise helps regulate sleep patterns and increase the quality of your rest. You’ll feel better, probably look better and that might benefit your relationship with your partner. And the more you exercise, the more you’ll be able to exercise and receive increased quantitative and qualitative health benefits that I’ve listed.


For more health benefits look no further than this issue of Tonic. Jelayna Da Silva explains how yoga can help with your emotional agility; Carlyle Jansen explains how anxiety can impact your sex life or you can learn how to boost your energy levels through lifestyle and supplement choices from an excerpt of my interview with Ian Clark. As always, if you’d like to discuss this note or anything you’ve read in this issue, feel free to reach out to me.