T Nation

So Why Do You Train?

Hello everyone,

I was hoping to get a discussion going from the passionate members of t-nation in regards to motivations in training. What makes you guys and gals train on a regular basis? How did you start and more importantly, why did you start. Was it for egotistical reasons, for health, or maybe playing a sport? Well I start and share why I do it.

I started training because a friend of mine was going in the military. I had taken a few weight training classes in high school so I thought I could be his gym partner. We started training together and eventually he lost the weight he needed and joined the military. Excited with my newfound “newb” gains consisting on bench presses and curls, I wanted to keep going. I didn’t know anything about proper programing or diet, all I new is that my skinny 130lb put on 30lbs doing nothing but bench presses and curls.

Eventually, I started looking at what the other gym members were doing. I saw exercises like dumbell rows being performed, I saw barbell squats, and I saw deadlifts. I would ask those who were big for advice. (We all know that you ask the biggest guy for advice if you want to be big:) I was told that if you want to get big, you have to eat big. So I started shoveling away food and was an avid practitioner of the “see food diet”. It worked however as my lifts were going up and I put on an additional 30lbs. It was all muscle of course. LOL.

My mission was to get as big and strong as possible. Month after month and year after year, I trained, ate big, and lifted big. It was purely for egotistical reasons as I wanted to be a spectacle. I wanted to get compliments and be well received by everyone else. Women started looking at me and I felt good now being the “skinny guy”. I also got treated better and noticed people would differ to me.

As time went on, I really went on a quest for knowledge about productive training, eating the right foods for a clean diet (instead of dirty bulking), and what to do when I’m not training. I have known about t-nation for a while and other websites such as Lee Hayward. I started to binge read countless articles, learning about new training concepts such as “German volume training”. I would try them out and felt like I discovered some ancient book of knowledge.

Fast forward some 15 years later, I’m still training on the regular. I’m still enthusiastic as always but my goals are no longer for ego. I train now primarily for health, strength, and meditative purposes. Big muscles are nice and compliments are great but I think for people to stick with this for the long-run, you have to find deeper meaning.

Well that is the long and short of it for myself. So why do you train?


Because I hate the way I look. Apparently the look I’d prefer requires dedication to the gym and diet. I spent a while trying to figure out a way to make it happen without the food or gym :joy: turns out you need those.


The reasons change on a yearly basis

This year it’s for mainly mental health purposes and getting some me time. Away from the madhouse of toddlers.

Other years it’s been…

Not wanting to resemble Skeletor’s ballsack

My job demands it


To have it all…

Look better

Be stronger

Feel healthier

Endure life and daily activities more easily

To look the part for my job

It’s fun

Share a moment with people

See yourself progress, and mental benefits


I started because I was weak. I’m now slightly less weak.

I train now because I love it.


Lol you should see my house :hugs:


I started for sports

I continued for work

Now I do it because it makes me a more patient person

  1. I realized that lifting was a physical activity I was relatively competent at
  2. I started => routine. Once I get into a routine, it’s hard for me to stop
  3. I don’t want to be fat again
  4. I like the number 5

Started because I wanted to look like GSP

Now I train because I appreciate how much of a gift it is to be able to train, and also for work


I started because it was just something that we did - My brothers, older cousins, it just was. You lift weights and get bigger and stronger.

Now I do for health reasons, to maybe pass a good activity to my son, and because it’s something I’ve just always done.


I started many years ago because I was one of those kids who started school early and was smaller than everyone and got bullied. Lifting weights (and hitting my growth spurt) fixed that. After that, it became a life-long habit. Now it’s sort of my therapy. I can go into the gym frustrated as hell about work issues or other things and come out an hour later feeling like no matter what’s going on, I can handle it.


Started lifting for football long ago. Nowadays, a big part of why I lift is so I stay on a regular sleep schedule. I’m bipolar and a regular sleep schedule is very important to my mental health. Having to get up every morning at a set time helps me go to bed at a set time each night. I also hate being fat, but I don’t think my lifting affects that as much as my crappy diet.

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I’ve honestly stopped asking why at this point.


I can relate to this. I feel that when I train, (even if I don’t want to that day) I feel better. I get done and feel like a million bucks. During the training session, the physical part is only about 25% of the benefit. The other 75% benefit is meditation albeit active meditation.


I started lifting in high school because I was always very small (skinny), and I was a good baseball player but needed to be bigger and stronger. After college I eventually developed an opiate addiction after being prescribed them for an illness. For years I did nothing and got overweight eating horribly and being very addicted to sugar along with the opiates. When I decided to get clean I turned back to lifting as my “escape”. I was mostly doing bodybuilding type stuff, but it was getting old, and I began dreading lifting and was getting close to quitting. But thgen I got into strength training after reading stuff from Wendler, Jamie Lewis, and others, and it totally reinvigorated my passion for the iron and getting strong. Two weeks ago marked 8 years opiate free for me.


Congratulations on beating your addiction. I think many could benefit from hearing about those who replace a negative habit with a positive one.

I think that sometimes it’s good to change different “styles” of training when things get stale. I also had been doing the body-part splits for the better half of my “training career”. I spent that time in the traditional globo-gym and while that’s fun, it started to get stale. I then started looking more into practical training methods. I would think about how would I train if I didn’t have access to an abundance of equipment. That got me into body weight training as a serious way to increase strength. It total invigorated my enthusiasm in training.


Honestly… its therapeutic for me. I have anxiety issues which causes me to become very short tempered and aggressive.


Gets me out of the house

Thinking about it, I guess it’s just a hobby at this point. It’s not too expensive, not too time intensive, and (if done right) a healthy addition to your life. My ideal day has a training block at 11 am.

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