How To Take The ‘Work’ Out of Your Workout. It’s Time To Play! – A Guest Post By The “Fight Geek”


My Fitness Story: “Fitness as Play”
Guest Post By: Kira Robert Clarke

What is your fitness narrative? What’s the story you use to understand fitness, to explain why you exercise? For me, fitness is play

When I was young, I lived near a long beach. Running alongside the beach, there was a lot of hilly bush. It was filled with secret tracks, climbable trees, and awesome hiding places. It was the perfect environment for a pack of young kids to have a good time. And that’s what we did!

At our beach ‘hood’, we would chase, jump, climb, crawl, run, wrestle, bike, swim, lift, build, throw, fall, fight and bleed. It was probably the best time I ever had as a kid. I couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could go and run wild with my posse!

What’s this pleasant childhood memory got to do with fitness? Well, for me—EVERYTHING!

The motivations, attitudes, emotions and physicality I experience when I train as an adult, are the same ones I experienced as a child down at my beach hangout. For me, fitness is just an adult label for a very childish experience: playing.

Back then, I wasn’t trying to get fit, lose weight, gain muscle or improve my ‘game’. I just loved the feeling of crashing through the bush and yelling like a wild banshee! The activity was it’s own reward. And that’s how it is with my fitness activities today. Sure, at times I have specific goals—getting fitter or stronger or losing weight etc. But this all takes place within the broader context of having fun—A LOT OF FUN! For me, fitness is all about release, self-expression, enjoyment and satisfaction.

I’ve never looked at fitness as ‘work’. It’s always been play for me! That’s not to say I don’t try hard! I’m familiar with the feeling of my heart pounding in the head, my lungs burning in my chest and my stomach convulsing it’s contents out of my mouth. But that doesn’t mean it’s work—it’s just means I like to play hard 🙂

I know many people see fitness as hard work. And in one sense, they’re right—a lot of sweat and effort is certainly involved! But I can’t help but feel a little sorry for people who equate such a fun and liberating experience with a job.

Many people work hard all day in jobs that they don’t like, only to be told that they have to do even more work in their own time to get fit. I simply couldn’t maintain a fitness routine—particularly over the long term—If I had that kind of perception of fitness. I need joy, passion and play in my fitness—and luckily I’ve got it!

Fitness is my FUN time—the time I can let go of the day to day stresses of life and experience the pleasure associated with being in the moment and unleashing my body on whatever fitness game happens to be in front of me 🙂

I really believe that the secret to long term fitness is to find fitness activities that you enjoy and treat each training session as an opportunity to have fun. Play hard, by all means, just make sure you don’t neglect the ‘play’ for the ‘hard’.

Kira Clarke (AKA Papa K, The Fight Geek & Kizzy)

Founding member and visionary unguent of THE POUND. A rabid Monkey Magic aficionado cum martial arts gypsy, traversing the high-peaks of post-modern health and fitness in an ever-hopeful search for inner-meaning and personal contentment.

Thanks, Kira. BTW, Happy Birthday, brotha! Here’s a great video of the boys from, training hard, but most importantly, having fun.

How do you keep your training fun?
Please share your “definition” of a fun in the comments section below.

  • Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    It's great having a mate who feels the same way about their training!

    Enjoy your training PLAY TIME this week 🙂

  • No worries, Kira. thanks for the great post. It's always a pleasure to be connected with those having fun with physical culture. My daily desire is to show as many as possible, that being healthy does not have to suck. Being unhealthy already has that job covered 🙂

  • Fun is a relative concept, to me it means hard and challenging work. It has to be technically challenging to stimulate the mind as well to really be fun.

  • Boris, I'm with you on that one, brotha. Train hard, so you can play hard.

  • Boris, I'm with you on that one, brotha. Train hard, so you can play hard.