Don't Use the Word 'Suffer' to Describe Exercise

Suffering - This is a word that gets thrown around in the world of fitness and also in the outdoors while attacking a challenge.

The phrases “sufferfest”, “sitting in the suffering”, and “embrace the suffering” get tossed around daily. I have heard this for years and have also been guilty of using while coaching or giving feedback to a coach. I heard this as an collegiate athlete to attacking big mountains with spikes on my feet after having to self arrest.

The cold hard truth... we are not suffering while working out. We aren’t even suffering attacking big mountains. Is this a challenge? Of course. Are you overcoming emotional barriers? Yes. Are you overcoming physical barriers? Yes. Are you reframing goals? Yes. Using this in the context of training does not align with some real world scenarios. We choose to train hard.

We all know men and women who truly suffer. Suffering is someone dealing with PTSD, suffering is watching a family member struggle with chronic disease, suffering is not knowing where your families next meal will come from. We are afforded luxuries in life that allow us to train, sit at a computer while reading this and have opportunities at our fingertips.

We are all a byproduct of experience. My experiences have shaped perspective. It has also allowed me to work and meet many times of people that use exercise and mental training as a therapeutic experience to work around some barriers they have in their life.

There are many organizations that help those who suffer. Please be respectful of those that do. Let’s use our voices to help educate those who deem suffering in a different light.

Enjoy the Mountains
- Sean