It’s not a workout if there’s no work

Saunas are helpful for relieving stress, relaxing muscles, circulating blood, flushing toxins, cleansing the skin, boosting the immune system, moisturizing our hair, and if we’re lucky, finding a date for the weekend. 

But make no mistake. Going to the sauna is not a workout. Our brain may think it is because we’re at the gym and getting sweaty and feeling invigorated at the end. 

But if we’re not moving our body and elevating our heart rate, we’re not exercising. Period. 

Not to take anything away from the schvitzers of the world who relish the sauna experience. But let’s not bullshit ourselves and the world about our efforts. Let’s not sit in a hot room for twenty minutes, hit the showers, grab a smoothie and spend the rest of the day bragging to our coworkers about our intense exercise regimen. 

My mother has spent the past thirty years as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. And as she tells her clients, it’s not a workout if there’s no work

We must learn to discern between the principal and the peripheral. 

We make this mistake in our professional lives every day. Confusing activity with progress, movement for achievement and effort for results. 

Spending two hours catching up on email might make us feel productive and effective and accomplished. But the question is:

Did we create any real value in the world? 

Did we make the world a better place? 

Did we do something worth writing in our victory log? 


Maisel’s provocative book about the anxieties of creativity addresses this issue in a way that nobody else ever has. For a creator, he says, discipline means creating regularly. It can have no other meaning. Being disciplined in some other way, like doing yoga every morning or doing superb work at your day job, is not only not an artist’s discipline, but it may even be a person’s avoidance of his artist’s nature. 

Our challenge, then, is to discover which excuses we use to justify our procrastination. To honestly ask ourselves if the tasks we’re engaged are genuine workouts, or just taking another sauna. 

Both have their place in life. But if we’re not able to tell the difference, we’re only bullshitting ourselves. 


Are you highly skilled at convincing yourself that you’re more productive than you really are?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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