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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Training as play

Here's an important point that many, many trainees & trainers miss.  For the short term anything goes, if you have to drop a dress size in the next four weeks for a special day, then yes working at things you may not like is fine.  However, if your goal is long term training, with long term results (& it should be), then what you're doing must be fun for you!

Look into the average gym & what do you see?  You see lines of cardio machines with TVs or other things to distract you from what you are doing, why?  Let's be honest trotting along on a treadmill is boring, we nearly all hate it (obviously women like Robyn Flores are the exception here as she chooses to do 24 hour treadmill runs!). 

For long term gains you need to find something you like doing & are actually willing to program into your life.  There are so many options, from Olympic to power lifting, from bodyweight callisthenics (which can be very challenging), through to swimming, biking or jogging.  You can have the best exercise in the world, but if you aren't enjoying doing it, then you simply will not stick to it, so find something that fits you.

Here's an example of what I mean.  Think of something you did as a child that was hard, it could have been learning a handstand, riding a bike, learning to whistle with your fingers.  There must have been something that you found really hard & so decided to shut the door, or go into the garden (whatever) & stick at it until you mastered the skill?  Maybe it took you a few days work, maybe a month?  Even if it took just a few hours, what you did was hard work, just because you wanted to get that was FUN to do, even though it was hard to do.  Training should be like that, often it's pretty simple, but it shouldn't be easy.  That's a pair of terms that confuse people.  'Simple' & 'easy'.  No, you can't get the body of a Greek god(ess) with 5 minutes on the latest infomercial piece of junk, no it won't be easy to lose your fat, no it won't be easy to add that muscle.  What it can be is simple, but to stick at it, then you have to find something you actually like doing.

Hence I think workouts should be play.  Look at a bunch of guys powerlifting, sure they are loud, rude & kind of competitive, but you will soon see they are are actually having fun!  The same can be said with many athletes, making the workout fun is a vital attribute to achieving compliance from a trainee.  If a type of training, no matter how good, bores a trainee, then they will find every way under the sun to avoid doing it, but if you can find something a trainee finds fun, then you've got a consistently training person & so they will be much more likely to achieve their goals.

So, my advice is to find a type of training you enjoy to do & find a challenge.  This is not an excuse to go easy on yourself, it should actually be a way to make you work harder, as reaching new heights in your chosen training arena should become the challenge.

Keep training fun & you should keep coming back for more!