T Nation

Why Did You Start Working Out?


I thought this might be interesting; to hear everyone's stories of how they began their journeys.

For me it was as a fill-in for a gym requirement. After my sophomore year of high school I left to attend college full-time, and the courses I took at the local university also counted towards my high school diploma. I would actually amass enough credit to graduate from high school after my junior year. However, since I was at college full time and never set foot on the high school campus, I didn't have any gym class. The solution my principle came up with was that I could work at out at the school's gym, have a trainer sign off that I had been there, and that would count as my gym requirement.

My father had worked out for years at this point; he started when he was in his mid teens, at first running/sprinting. When I was young, in the late 80s we were too poor for him to afford a gym membership so he bought a weight set, welded his own squat cage, and even rigged up a cable cross & cable row in our basement by running ropes through small holes he drilled in the basement rafters. Looking back it was fairly genius.

Being a teenager though I was trying to do the 'independent' thing and didn't want to really workout, since that was 'his thing'. As such I had never worked out. My first ever workout was in February 1999, and as soon as I started I was kicking myself for not starting earlier. I loved it. I was also incredibly unbalanced in my approach; hitting my legs every couple of days, and largely ignoring my upper body. I didn't do anything more than a few sets of chest-pressing for the first 2 years I worked out. Incidentally my dad is still my favorite person to talk to about the gym. Even though I've surpassed most of what he did (aside from his ridiculous 250 lbs. cable rows in sets of 10 at a bw of 170) he still has some of the best advice I've heard.


I've always been a fan of being active and sports. I used to play basketball, hike, backpack,and mountain bike. Around Jan 2008, I tore my groin and unrelated my herniated discs flared up and that was the end of sports for a short while. I needed to keep active so I turned to lifting weights in July 2008 and found this site. Within a few months, I could play basketball and hike again, but I loved what weightlifting did to my body and was getting strong real fast so it became my #1 priority among my activities.

Don't get me wrong, I always wanted to be big and strong. I made 3 attempts in my life to change my physique but none of them lasted more than 3 months. It wasn't till I found this site that I realized what I was actually capable of.


My journey to the weights room came largely from not being all too good at sport, never being picked for my football (soccer) team who were by the way TERRIBLE in the lowest local league, generally being in the lower 1/3 of performance in most sports, specifically I was useless at sprinting and didn't have the balls for rugby (when I was 13-16). I did see glimpses of hope in being a reasonably good distance runner and high jumper, but my physique reflected the sports less desirable attributes (incidentally my grandma was a national-level high-jumper and grandpa a good distance runner).

I was never too down about being bad at most sports but I jumped on the idea of training at the local leisure centre with my best friend. He quit after a few months or so, I carried on going. At some point my dad joined up and I trained with him for awhile, previously I had messed with a little bench and a few old DBs he had lying around. We moved on up from the leisure centre when we realised a power-rack and some 20s would pay themselves of in about a year for us both, and to this day we have a home gym set-up compromising of a GREAT power-rack, (nonOL)7ft bar, around 190kg of weights and adjustable db's to about 18-20kg each at a push.. I've sort of outgrown it due to the non-olympic bars strength and the restrictive dumbells, but this is a great little place to train when I'm at home and don't fancy the closest hardcore gym.

It's worth mentioning at 16 my motivation almost definitely came with girls in mind too, and "things" ended up going nicely with regards to that, confidence definitely flew up thanks to weights..

Very interestingly, when I play football now, despite having around 1/10th of the experience of some of the guys I am far far more competitive overall due to physical stature AND MASSIVELY IMPROVED CONFIDENCE IN SELF!


Partial tear of my achilles during a basketball session. Had to strengthen the joint through exercise, and never really looked back after that.


im not gonna lie, i do it solely for the women. that and if i didnt release my pent up anger/energy/testosterone in the gym id probably rob a bank or steal a car. lifting heavy stuff til i wanna puke and i get dizzy is actually really relaxing.


I began lifting weights to supplement my martial arts, because I knew that my idols like Bruce Lee, Tommy Carruthers, and Andrei Arlovski all lifted weights to get stronger and faster. My knowledge wasn't great though, even after finding T-Nation I spun my wheels for a year or two because my focus was still on martial arts performance (in that retarded sub-set of "knowledge").

I would say that I began working out, as in bodybuilding, because I became more exposed to it, watched Pumping Iron, and read The Education of a Bodybuilder.


I think watching pumping iron and reading the education of a bodybuilder should be mandatory for all trainees who decide they want to "get big".. I only saw pumping iron maybe a year ago and read the book over this last Christmas, very inspiring/entertaining read.


I was really, horribly, disgustingly obese.


I started to get better at wrestling, then Shotokan, then I read it would help with running. Finally it got to the point where I was lifting just to lift. I like it more this way.


Ironically, I am the opposite of some of you, as I started really getting into sports after I lifted. I began lifting because I thought I was getting fat, so I asked my dad to teach me how to lift. I am glad I did. Also, it helped with shot put in 8th grade. Then I started football freshman year and wrestling 10th grade. The main reason I did as well as I did at only wrestling for three years is I liked weightlifting and had a decent strength level.


For a chick.

I wanted to get into shape to impress this hot surfer chick back in high school. End of story.

Well, she ended up moving away and eventually marrying some other guy. And I kept lifting. I guess thats the end of that story.


I saw Rocky IV.


high school football


Frustrated 18 year old virgin.


I broke up with my gf and needed something to keep me occupied. Started lifting and fell in love with the iron game. The rest is history.


I have got a few reasons why i started.
My dads influence was one of them. He was always taking me and my brother to this hardcore bodybuilding gym. Not to train, just to babysit us i suppose. Theres a cool picture of me at 4 years old, doing a most muscular pose. My mum and nan told me when my brother was 4-5, they found him hanging off the bannisters, trying to do a pull up lol. Another was because of rugby.. no need for explanation there. Third reason is because at school, i had a severe eating disorder. I couldnt eat properly for years. I always promised that skinny kid that id get big one day. Now i shovel it down like theres no tomorrow.


Was very skinny fat, wanted to look good for the women. Worked.
As a 'side' benefit, I will probably live longer and better, as I hate running and sports in general..


I like hearing these stories

The main reason I started lifting was because I wanted to gain some weight for rugby. I always played with older guys and although I did pretty well I was always small for the positions I played. I didnt start lifting regularly till I was 18, I was 150 and all I wanted to do was gain about 20 pounds and thought that even that was probably not possible for me.

Before that I only had a vague idea that lifting weights could make you stronger and more defined, I didn't realise you could pretty much totally change the way you look.
I remember going into the local rec centre when I was like 10ish and seeing photos up on the wall of the weight pit of 80's bodybuilders like dorian yates and lee priest and just having no clue wat I was really looking at, I didnt really like it and thought it couldn't be real.

I really had no clue about training when I was younger and had heard bullshit about muscles slowing you down and being muscle bound. I had always admired physical strength though.

After I started lifting I found a copy of "The Education of a Bodybuilder" and then Arnolds encyclopedia. I was still in it mostly for athletic ability and a bit of size untill I found this site and had been reading on here for a while. I remember I found this site when looking up info on relative stregth of quads and hamstrings and the incidence of hamstring tears lol.
luckily I found some good basic info as well and it sparked a new passion.


As far as the ladies go, I never lifted weights with that sole purpose in mind but obviously that was something I did think about. Being bigger and stronger definately gave me more confidence and to be honest I had no idea how much diference it would make in how women treat you.

I went out on saturday night and I had three diferent women that I had never met come up to me and squeeze my arms or touch my chest and make a comment about them before they said anything else, does this happen to you guys often?


lol oath man.

Even when the girlfriend is standing right next to me.