T Nation

Why Do You Lift?


Most of us say we lift for size and/or strength.

But what is the underlying reason for busting your ass in the gym? What does that size/strength get you in the end?

I can think of four reasons:

  1. Health
    This was the main reason I started lifting 6 years ago. Statistically, I was at risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and a shitload of other maladies. I intend to be around to enjoy my grandchildren, and to have a good quality of life in the process.

  2. Performance
    Strength and endurance help me perform better in sports. It helps with even daily tasks, like carrying groceries or changing a tire.

  3. Aesthetics
    LGN = Look Good Naked

  4. Personal growth
    Doing something difficult, having a plan of attack, sticking with it, and seeing positive results builds character and confidence.

How about you?

The reason I ask is because sometimes I think we forget about the big picture. For example, if your main goal is health, it doesn't do much good to go to an extreme where you end up with nerve damage, neck problems, ripped tendons, etc. Everything needs to be kept in balance in order to achieve your ultimate goals.

Also, I think people sometimes vary on their goals and there is nothing wrong with that. I sometimes see posts where people judge others because they don't share the identical goals that they have, as if their goals are any more "real" or "valid" than the goals of someone else. Instead of judging someone else's goals, maybe people could offer advice on helping people achieve the goals they do have.

Just my 2 cents.


shut up


I think #2 and #4 fit me most and in that order. I'm in school getting a B.S. in Criminal Justice so I can have a leg up becoming an LEO. I'm beginning to do research on police departments, the hiring process so that when I graduate April 2010 I can hopefully have a job lined up and I want to make sure I can adequately pass all the physical requirements especially in high altitudes since I'm hoping to go to a location in the Rocky Mountains (love it out there).

Even past that though it's a lifestyle choice - I have always and will always love being outside and moving around. One of my biggest fears is that I am going to turn into one of those union police officers that don't maintain their physique and honestly, what good is an overweight LEO that can't pull a woman from a burning car or chase down some drug dealer, or even defend themselves?

4 - Every time I hit the weights it's a more concrete way to prove to myself that I can be better than I was the day before. There are so many setbacks and negative experiences that happen every day in this world and for me it really is the small victories like that one extra rep or those 5 extra pounds that keep me from being swallowed up in an entirely negative attitude.

It also expresses my tenacity and drive to succeed. It's taken me almost 3 years to work out the kinks in my training and diet (not enough rowing movements, not enough carbs/calories) but I am finally succeeding through keeping an open mind and hard work. The carryover from those victories into every day life is huge for me.

I also think that it's a shame how society is all about instant gratification today and if I can get even just one person to change by showing what hard work and patience can do I'll be happy.


Hasn't this been done... like 12,000,000 times before?






For the record, I'd go with #2 and #4 myself as well.


Hey forlife.

I am new to weight lifting and from where I Am currently at as a young man. Well I am choosing to develop my body to reflect the way I feel on the inside. I like to believe that I am a really bright person with a lot of potential but what does it amount to if you cant do more then 3 chin ups. Like I couldnt do today, well maybe I could of done 6.

I guess for me its a matter of sticking to a clearly defined program and dedicating myself to a proccess of personal growth that means more to me then anything else in my life.

I was previously a pretty dumb kid who was on the way to the can. So far I am learning that the more you give in life the more your going to get out of it.

I dont want to get to excited because I hear its a long proccess. Bodybuilding is a foundation to at the moment to help me achieve some of my other MORE NAUGHTIER GOALS.


I have GOAL: Rio De Janeiro Carnivale 2010



There have been threads on why people lift, but I'd like to get beyond the laundry list and hear some discussion around why it even matters.

For example, have you ever had a case where your goals contradict? Maybe pursuing higher performance has actually hurt your health in some way...if so, how did you handle it?

How do you balance performance and aesthetics, and is one goal any more "valid" than the other? Does someone have to share your identical goals to be a "real bodybuilder"?



Why in the world did you post this in the bodybuilding section?

Is that you, Shugart?


Why not lift?

That's pretty much the only reasoning that went through my head..

Well it started of me asking my friend,if I could borrow his 20lbs dumbell for a month, and see if my bicep would grow. 3 days after I decided to join a gym instead and train the proper way.

Ironically the bicep is the muscle i train the least(After calves)


When I first started the "big guys" at my gym never thought I would get anywhere, I don't blame them as the majority of new gym goers don't stick with it for a month much less a year. Now I'm actually competing with their lifts and everyone at the gym knows me and comes to me for advice.

People can see the hard work and dedication that comes through weightlifing, whenever you hit a PR in the gym you are literally moving something that was immovable before. Even people who don't train can see the difference in your body and know that it took some blood sweat and tears. That is why I lift.


Excellent post. Good show!

I lift mostly to forget about all the negative shit that I have to deal with in life. All the piss-ants and douche bags that I'm required to deal with on a daily basis.

But more importantly, I lift to stay strong and healthy, because these bodies we have is a gift from the Lord, and it must be taken care of until it is retured.

Lifting changed my life. It made my strong-willed. And the drive that I exhibit in the gym, I can carry over the same drive into my personal and professional life.

Everybody should lift; drugs and alcohol should be made illegal on Planet Earth!!


They have had these discussions before also. Don't think that you're that original.


Ecclesiastes 1:9


I'm sort of wondering too, especially when none of the options really are directly related to BB. I can pick out options for, strength sports, rate my physique, SaMA, and the V-diet, but not much for BB'ing.


To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!!!



Because I'm asking why you choose to BB, not why you choose to play sports, powerlift, etc.


good verse


That guy has 15" biceps at best.