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Do you enjoy the time you spend training? For example, you may enjoy the actual training, enjoy the challenges associated with it, or enjoy benefits derived from it. What do you enjoy about exercise? What motivates you? I’d love to hear what everyone has to say (in the comments section). I am particularly interested in hearing what those from the non-competitive crowd have to say.
For those in this crowd, I believe it is important to enjoy your exercise time. Life is too short already. Why not enjoy the time spent exercising?
Personally, I train because I enjoy it. My competitive days as a fighter were over a long time ago. I am not training for a specific event. I train for the fun of it. I do what I want to do. I train in a way that I enjoy. The hour or so that I spend alone in the gym is a nice escape for me. I thoroughly enjoy myself during this time. I work very hard but I enjoy every minute of it.
And while I do spend time experimenting with different protocols in the interest of my athletes, I am not paid to exercise. I am paid to train athletes. These athletes (and their managers or promoters) do not care what I can do at the gym. I am paid to improve the athlete. That’s it. My own personal accomplishments don’t mean anything to them.
Therefore, I include a fun factor within each workout. My workouts are fun for me, and if I start to become bored, it is time for a change. The workouts that I do this month will surely be different from the workouts I did last year, and the year before that, and so on. I always mix things up in the interest of fun. Perhaps I am working on a new challenge. I enjoy the challenge and find joy in overcoming the challenge. I will never work with a protocol that I dread. Why bother? There are so many ways to become stronger and better conditioned. Why not work with a system or program that you actually enjoy?
Too many people in this world want you to believe that their way is the only way. Don’t buy into the nonsense. It simply isn’t true. There have been successful athletes who have engaged in an infinite number of training styles. Almost anything that you do will work if you are passionate, diligent, and consistent with the work. Often times, it isn’t the individual workout that is most important, but how you attack the workout. How much passion and intensity do you apply to the work?
As for the competitive athletes, your training is a job. You are training to perform in a specific event. There will be certain parts of training that you may not enjoy. It isn’t a hobby, it is how you earn a living. When I’m training a fighter, I’m not looking for a smile. We do what we need to do to win.
And please don’t mistake this discussion to say that non-competitive trainees will not or should not push themselves at the gym. I no longer compete in a sport, but I still push myself as hard as anyone. The difference is that when I train on my own, I choose what I want to do. I do not have a crazy coach (such as myself) yelling at me to suck it up and continue!
Even my most intense session is a session that I chose to perform. I am not being told what to do. I picked the workout that I wanted to perform. I must either enjoy it or will enjoy the benefits produced from the session. The “fun factor” is an important element to the workout and overall training program.
Some may call me crazy, but exercise is fun. I’d much rather be in the gym than sitting on the couch watching television. Even the best action flick cannot replicate the adrenaline rush that I experience while training.
In my opinion, more trainers should encourage others to do what they enjoy. The “do it my way or else” mentality is about as useful as pissing into the wind. As Swiss psychologist Carl Jung once said,
“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
Jung was a wise man. His words can be applied to many facets of life. Unfortunately, many ignore his wisdom. I hear from so many people who are miserable while training. They dread their time in the gym. This is a HUGE mistake. Why force yourself to do something that you dread? Who told you that exercise had to be boring and miserable?
And what about those who feel it is their life’s mission to convert everyone in the world to train exactly as they do. Did they ever stop to think that someone else just might have different goals and interests in life? Remember the words from Carl Jung…
I can’t count how many times I’ve seen one exercise enthusiast argue with another simply because the two had different preferences. If you’ve been on an online forum, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Internet message boards can really bring out the worst in people. Here is a common scenario. One member expresses an interest in bodybuilding. He will then be chastised by someone who believes his training lacks functionality. Both members may have desk jobs, yet one believes the bodybuilder will not be prepared for his daily elevator ride to the office. Perhaps the anti-bodybuilder also believes the other man will not be prepared to encounter aliens from outer space? Even if this were the case, does it really matter? Why waste time griping over such trivial topics? If aliens invade my neighborhood, I will reach for my shotgun, not my weighted vest and jump rope.
If you want to be a bodybuilder, I commend your efforts. If you want to be a marathon runner, I commend your efforts. In fact, I’ll commend your efforts no matter what you are training to accomplish. I commend anyone who gets up and exercises in a way that they enjoy. Who am I to say what you should enjoy? No one has that right. The only people that I tell what to do are those who pay me to prepare them for a specific event. Then it becomes my job. Other than that, why not have some fun while you are training? You don’t need to satisfy anyone but yourself, so do what you want to do.