T Nation

Having 'Fun' While Training


I'm a huge T-Nation reader, but one thing I notice is the utter seriousness of all the articles.

Amidsts all the seriousness and the obsession with results, I sometimes wonder if one thing has been lost: fun. The truth is, on your death bed you won't be thinking about the reps, the sets, the weights, or those anti-social "I'm wearing a hoodie leave me alone" type work-outs.

You'll be thinking about all the good times you had in your life - the memories, etc. (I know this because I almost died once, and believe me, I wasn't thinking about my career or my max bench...)

I don't know about you guys, but one of the main reasons I train is because I love it. I love trying out new exercises, seeing results, talking to everyone @ the gym, bullshitting at the juice bar, doing the occasional aerobics or cardio-boxing class for the hell of it.

Sometimes I watch Pumping Iron and I notice the guys in the movie are having so much fun. Of course they take training seriously. There's no point to doing it if you're not doing it well. But they laugh, they party, they razz each other.

Anyway, just a thought, but I always try to make my gym days fun.
- As some recommend doing 1 exercise you "hate" every workout, I also like to add an undocumented exercise to each workout that I just feel like doing. It can be as simple as a lat pull-down (I never use machines for my "planned" workout) or kettles. Anything to break the monotony.

  • I don't get caught up in "ego" - I see this all the time. Guys who are so one-dimensional, they only train what they're good at. Usually this is the bouncer with no cardio who is doing his 200 sets of chest. The truth is, I love stretching, playing basketball and soccer, doing cardio-boxing, etc. I don't care how dumb I look doing it.

  • The body part I hate working out the most is abs. This is because I was cut open during a surgery (see part about almost dying) and I had severe atrophy in that area. I've slowly built them back up to where they were before but I have zero interest in having "hawt abs". I do them maybe once or twice a week, tops. I think unless one is getting punched in the gut regularly, abs training is wildly over-rated and boring as fuck. Life is too short to spend on a friggin yoga mat, torturing yourself.

  • Believing that happiness is all about balance, sometimes, I skip a workout to read a good book or ponder life itself. I usually don't regret it.

Thoughts? Flames? Etc.


Ahh the hell with it. tried to add and ended up deleting


You harken back to a day pre-airbrushing, pre-Muscular Development magazine, pre-interwebz, etc... ENDLESS threads on how to get hyooge, on X Diet, on the proper way to design cycle, ad nauseum...Something, or rather a combination of a lot of somethings, slid us in the direction of worrying about being the biggest - of looking like we're strong rather than being strong...I personally see countless people at my gym that seem so pissed that they have to be there when they'd rather be home watching Two and a Half Men.. No, you're spot on my friend.. The few that truly enjoy the "journey" and not the "destination" of lifting are disappearing.

and yeah I said "harken", so fuck y'all...:slight_smile:


I kinda get what your saying. The Articles are serious because most people are not. I have been to 100's of gyms in my life and the hardcore people are the minority.
I would guess that 90% of the people are BS'ing, killing time until work, watching TV or just getting in a quick 30 min so they can feel like they did something positive for themselves everyday.

The other 10% are trying to either compete, reach a goal or surpass a limit or fight off daddy time. So the articles are mostly for them. Get in put in some work then go have fun.

But I understand everyone needs to blow off some steam an curl in the squat rack from time to time.

I'm guilty


Articles are written for people wgo are half serious and want to feel like bad asses while reading them....

The whole sports world is a joke mostly with everyone trying to be the most brootal mf ever....

I see the trend....people who attempt to mimoc that brootal shit don't last

Ones that do last...you actually see laughing in the gym between sets.

I've always been that way..let's fuck around during the break..on the sideline..whatever...its only serious when your on the field or equipment


I agree with a lot of what's going on here.

I use to be one of those "gotta be intense" guys in the gym. I would end up getting so much anxiety from how serious I took the workouts it would affect my performance. At one point I stepped back and started realizing how I was ruining this for myself. I LIKED hitting the weights, LIKED working out, and started treating it as so.

Things have gotten far better since that point, and I don't regret it. I think walking the line of using intensity to keep yourself accountable and remembering why you're doing this in the first place is a wise idea.



(puts in ear buds and pulls up hood)


I used to be very intense when training. It helped me stay focused in a fucking sea of non-serious people just taking up space.

Today, I will likely be seen laughing or joking with some of the other people in between sets.

You know what changed? Mostly my environment. The 24 hour Fitness I go to has grown to attract a much larger number of serious weight lifters than in the past. I'm no longer one of the only bigger dudes in the gym...which does nothing but motivate me. That air of camaraderie is back....and many of the newbs seem to be picking up on that as well so the respect is returning.

It is still a far cry from the way things were when I first hit a gym, but I don't tend to screw around when surrounded by people who are JUST screwing around.

When around people working like me, I can afford to joke in between sets....because we both understand the game is back on in "5".


I certainly want to be bigger, stronger and leaner; however, the reason I train is because I enjoy it and it therapeutic.
I train alone in my backyard, so I do not have the problem with obnoxious interruptions. When I used to train in a public gym I mostly avoided conversation because I wanted to enjoy my workout.


Unless someone is serious about training...I generally do not want to speak to them in the gym.

I am not sure the OP made this distinction.

I get more out of my workout by training around other people, especially when they are very serious.

I enjoy my workout because I enjoy working out.

Speaking to people is not what I am in the gym for.

You can go to a club for that.


Max effort deadlifts are definitely on my Top 5 favorite things to do. Not even joking. You SHOULD enjoy going to the gym.


Yeah buddy! Why would you do something recreationally if you don't enjoy it?


To be fair, I think you'd have to say some or most, not truly all.

Sometimes on the walk to the gym, my brain is like:

Other times, it's like:

Most of the time, it's something in between, which is why it's probably best that I train alone. Overall, I can get done what I need/want to get done while still enjoying the process.

Having joined a new gym earlier this year is definitely a benefit. It's three blocks from my house, with a ridiculous variety of equipment and some of the most dedicated and consistent members I've ever seen in person. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more than a few bodybuilding and powerlifting competitors there, and that vibe definitely gets in the air.


You actually make an excellent point. I think most people need a small infusion of seriousness to be consistent, but not more. An English teacher once told me that to over-analyze a book is to ruin it. Same with food (ever read a self-proclaimed foodie blog?). Same with wine, etc.

I think you if you try to reduce everything in life to a spreadsheet (which is basically what a workout log is), you lose out on the beauty of it.


BTW - that was my "for the hell of it" yesterday. Did 6 sets of back/chest, then saw my 1 RM sitting there on a platform. Realizing I hadn't tried it since July.... I took a 10 minute break and "had fun".

Repped it twice :smiley:

Note: It was an unimpressive 335. (3 plates with a tenner on each side)


This. Atmosphere is everything.


Actually, I seriously doubt anyone looking to really "have fun WHILE training" will not take this to any extreme degree. Gym rats enjoy the seriousness of training. I don't have to worry about having fun WHILE training because I wouldn't be training in the first place unless I enjoyed what that did for me and the process involved.

If I have a frown on my face and look very serious, this does NOT mean I don't enjoy training. It means that is the state if mind I choose to be in to get a job done.

Some of the most well known names in bodybuilding have outright stated they hate training.

Lee Priest said when he stops competing for sure, he won't set foot in another gym.

Take from that what you will.

I am there to make progress. It's like a job...only one I have a passion for.

If I'm there "for fun". I am missing the point.

People like that are the crowd Planet Fitness is catering to.


Joyous determination is what I like to call it. I like to think of going into the gym with the Viking like personality that is shown a lot in movies. Basically knowing when to be serious and knowing when to crack a joke with a good training partner. The whole experience becomes something that is enjoyable.

To get to this point takes a lot of gym time. When the line is blurred between "work" and "play" then you know you're on the right track.


I used to think I needed a serious training partner, but after joining a gym where several competitive bodybuilders train, I realize that doesn't matter. Being around other people that are serious about what they do does the trick just as well. Contest is coming up, so almost every day now someone is stripping down and posing in the middle of the gym. It adds fuel to my fire and gets me thinking "soon, it will be my turn." All in all it is a friendly but competitive atmosphere.

When I go to my back up gym now(my real gym closes at 9, and sometimes I don't make it), THEN I frown and retreat into myself. Too much douchebaggery goin on there.


Haha yes this too.

Coming up from a heavy squat probably looks like pure agony but sometimes the feeling is actually ecstasy, it's just written to the face incorrectly.