What You Enjoy Vs What Supports Your Goals

Something I think many lifters have struggled with is the balancing act of what you enjoy versus what supports your goals. This is something I’m struggling with lately.

Examples: as a lifelong small-fry, I’ve always had a goal of getting bigger and stronger. But the pursuit bores me to tears.

Squats have undeniably been one of the biggest factors of building leg size for me, but I really don’t enjoy them.

I really enjoy Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics work, but they’ve done very little for me in terms of adding much size.

The above is not an exhaustive list, just some examples.

How have some of you guys balanced lifting to support your goals, versus doing the lifts/programs you simply enjoy?


I see no point in training outside of supporting a goal. Isn’t there like a billion things you’d rather do than be in the gym?

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I’m one of those weirdos that enjoys physical exertion.


No joke, the best balance I have found is to not enjoy any of it. I have 23 hours of being content a day: I allot myself an hour to not feel that way.


Why do you enjoy the Olympic lifts and gymnastics? Is it because you’re a “small fry” and you were just naturally better at those things?

The key is finding balance. Most of what I do is for the goal, but I sprinkle in what I like, too. My best example is doing power cleans. They serve no purpose for hypertrophy, but I love them. I also like to be explosive so it helps with another goal.

I bet you’d like gymnastics less of you had more success with your goal of getting bigger.

I think the best thing a person can learn is what fits their body. Our genetics determine a lot for us. Find out what’s realistic for you and your body and train accordingly.

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I’ve been thinking about this as I’m deciding what to focus on in 2020.

I wanted to lift weights to improve my performance as a jiu-jitsu athlete. I’ve come to realize that, aside from the benefits that any reasonable resistance program will provide, there really isn’t any way that weight training will significantly improve jiu-jitsu performance - at least not relative to training more jiu-jitsu.

What I’m discovering is that I like most the kind of weight training that allegedly has the least amount of benefit for athletics: bodybuilding work.

Somewhat along the lines of what @Frank_C recommends, I’m trying to balance the two. Enough strength work to feel as if I’m becoming stronger and more athletic. Enough BB work to enable me to enjoy what I’m doing in the gym (and improve how I look).


I really enjoy just about all physical activity except running. My only real goal at this point is to improve cardio endurance and strength endurance, and my base for cardio endurance is cycling, so running isn’t even in the picture.

I don’t feel any great need to go out of my way or suffer for something at this point when there are so many things I like.


I’m actually terrible at both gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting, I just thoroughly enjoy the movements.

I may just have to take @T3hPwnisher’s advice and suffer while training, but sprinkle a piece here and there of things I enjoy doing.

And speaking on genetics, I’ve got classic Nordic genes; fantastic capacity for endurance in all aspects, but strength and size are a struggle.

That’s something. My brother did Gene testing and I’m like 99.7% Norwegian. Turns out I’ve always gravitated toward longer duration type things or speed/explosive stuff like gymnastics, sprints, Olympic and Cat style lifting.

And being a mass monster is nowhere in the picture.

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I really enjoy lifting heavy, but, have found that with my genes I make far better progress with an overall athletic program. I don’t think that at 6’2’’ 200 lbs with long arms and legs I’ll ever be able to squat heavy. Oh and I’m drug free and about to turn 42. I need to start thinking longevity.

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I only do the movements I enjoy and then base my goals around those movements.

It’s a win-win, have a devil on each shoulder and, as a collective, we decide to ignore what I should be focusing on


I’m lucky I suppose in that most of what I do to support my goals I find enjoyable. It’s only really mobility work that I don’t enjoy.

I hate squats (or at least don’t look forward to them). Here’s what I do:

Superset them with something really hard. Weighted pull ups, for example, done right after your squat set. Then, you look PAST the squat set and to the pull ups you need to do when you finish.

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That sounds worse. I’d have to do squats and something else that’s hard.


Yeah, it probably is worse. But at least the evilness of the squat part is diffused!

Sounds a lot like some questionable piece of advice I was given a long time ago.

When a body part hurts for some reason, get hit in some other body part. The new pain will make it harder to focus on the one that was bugging you initially.

Sounds like something that works in theory, but that’s about it as far as usefulness, lol

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This is probably way before your time, but I thought of this…


I’d say this is typical “hardgainer” speak, but the food.

I’m wired to be able to go all day and past dinnertime to not eat. I did it for years while roofing and it’s taken willpower to break the habit. I’ve gotten a hold on it lately and have been eating pretty well, and possibly a little too much for what i lift.

Leading in to part two, which is just enjoying lifting weights. I might go a little too HAM for what my body is capable of (still a beginner) and I go overboard. I sort of enjoy the discomfort and process of progressing but to a fault. It seriously messes with my recovery and my lifts suffer and I’ve recently dropped to 3 days a week from 4 because of it.

Trying to find a solution for longevity and balance between progression and aesthetics, but have yet to find it…

So many great scenes. This is still my favorite quote

tenor (1)

Little engine that could and “Sen-si-tive” are also amazing


Haha, that was exactly my first thought!