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Training for Happiness: Finding Spiritual Fulfilment in Fitness|Sports Philosophy

Updated: May 26

Have you ever contemplated what you truly feel during the process of perspiring exercise? Is it "happiness due to training" or "happiness gained through training"?

This article will share a deeper philosophy of fitness, drawing from the wisdom of Epicurus, to liberate you from the shackles of fame and profit, and find spiritual fulfillment in every training session.

I believe: The purpose of training is not to pursue any fame or gain, but to enjoy the pursuit of spiritual happiness while maintaining health.


What is spiritual happiness? It is enduring, autonomous, and unaffected by external influences. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus stated that happiness is life's sole aim. Every choice we make is to attain the most lasting happiness, which is a higher level of spiritual joy. The greatest obstacle to spiritual happiness is having too many desires. "If desires are excessive, the mind becomes restless, unable to be at peace."

Perhaps you crave achievement and profit - this is human nature, and undeniably can bring happiness. However, happiness is not an object but a psychological state or feeling. In other words, such happiness can only be indirectly obtained through certain conditions or means.

Yet all worldly things are impermanent, and we cannot know the future. If ultimately you cannot attain your desired fame and profit, will you still feel happy? Will you then become weary of training? From another perspective, even if you obtain all fame and profit, do you think you will possess complete happiness?

"The truly wise must seize every present moment to indulge in joy, not clinging to the past or yearning for the future."

Therefore, the highest quality of happiness should be autonomous and unaffected by external influences.

Once we understand what happiness is, we can re-examine whether we enjoy the sensations training gives us - like the muscle pump, the bliss of unlocking a movement, the emotional release of breaking through plateaus, or the satisfying soreness after a workout.

Or were you originally training for "competition, or to compare with others, thereby gaining some titles and profit? If that's true, I don't think you'll attain lasting happiness. For "there is always a higher mountain", and "ain't no mountain high enough". If we measure personal success or failure by achievement, whether we succeed or fail, we will ultimately feel a sense of loss.

As for me, I used to have immense doubts about my own abilities, questioning whether I lacked strength and natural talent. But taking a step back, I pondered how we initially became involved in fitness, and why we became so enamored with it. In reality, it was simply a pursuit of spiritual happiness.

I hope everyone can maintain that original intention on the path of training and become a happy person.


About Us

This series aims to provide an in-depth, easy-to-understand interpretation of various books related to health, exercise science, and sports philosophy, helping you embark on a healthier, more scientific fitness journey.

DAILYCALI, which means "Making Calisthenics a Daily Routine," has been dedicated to incorporating exercise science into bodyweight training since its establishment in 2021, reducing the risk of sports injuries and systematically improving training results. We offer diverse courses covering calisthenics, myofascial release, stretching, etc., and provide bilingual instruction in Chinese and English, as well as flexible class schedules including personal training, group classes, and workshops.

We understand that many people don't lack skills, but rather "Lack Confidence In Progress." Therefore, we provide rich "free resources" so you can follow the guidance to do full-body strength training at home without equipment!

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