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Making strength training fun

surfbug808surfbug808 Posts: 35Member Member Posts: 35Member Member
I've always been active. Formerly danced, did martial arts for 15 years, now I surf and long-distance ocean swim, just joined a soccer team. These are things I take pleasure in and always look forward to.

I have never truly enjoyed strength training (using body weight/kettle bells/barbells/machines). I've joined gyms, hired trainers, tracked my successes... and then I lose momentum after 6 months to a year. I need to amp it up again since I'm trying to lose weight but maintain muscle. What has helped me is having a intimate social gym community, and seeing my strength progress... right now training to videos is also keeping me going.

What do you love about strength training?
What helps make it more enjoyable?
What kind of strength training exercises do you find the most helpful and fun?
What else helps you stay on track and on target?

Whatever it is... just the things you personally love about it in general, or using certain inspirations, affirmations, a song playlist, how you warm-up or finish, the exercise lists you make or don't make, how you reward yourself, use your rest periods or whatever, I'm looking for tips and tools that can make my strength training feel more fun. Thanks!
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Replies

  • mbaker566mbaker566 Posts: 9,710Member Member Posts: 9,710Member Member
    i do strength training i enjoy. which is body weight work on the aerial hammock or aerial hoop
    i call it my sneaky workout because it's fun and i don't know how hard i worked until the next day.

    that's the trick-find a version you like.
  • maybe1pemaybe1pe Posts: 494Member Member Posts: 494Member Member
    Honestly, I love it because I love seeing my weights progress even if it's just one more rep or adding the 2.5 lb plates.
    What helps make it enjoyable... I don't really need help like I said I like to see my strength progressing and that's enough for me. I work on in my basement though and I blare music that makes me feel strong and powerful and confident. That type of music is different for everyone but having it playing makes it easier on my mentally to push through hard days or sets.

    But the best thing I did was join a program with a coach. I do TWK with Katie Sonier. She programs 6 days a week and focuses on progressive overload. There's a private FB group she has set up for members to post videos for form feedback and just overall support from the other women in the group and I find this really motivating and because I'm recording myself for feedback I am more conscious of my form and push myself harder.

    Before I joined a program I would just kind of do whatever whenever and do what I liked and skip what I didn't and somedays I would finish and somedays I wouldn't. Since joining a program my consistency is better because it's written out for me "do this on this day" "do this many sets with this many reps" and the form feedback has been good for me to get the most out of my lifts even on days when we are going lighter weights. My coach makes suggestions for what weight range to aim for for each rep range based on prior feedback and form she's seen.

    What also helps keep me motivated is setting specific weight training goals. For example, by the end of 2020 I want to be able to chin ups and pull up for 5 unassisted reps. As a person who started at the beginning of this year hardly able to do 1 assisted rep that's going to take dedication and consistency.
    Or being able to squat x amount. Hip thrust x amount. I just had to sit and make myself realistic but specific goals to strive to meet.

    More importantly... I stopped relying solely on motivation and made it about dedication. I set those goals and told myself I would do it. I may fail but I'm going to try my hardest and to do that I have to be dedicated and show up on the days I don't want to show up. I made a commitment to myself to be my best.
  • kimny72kimny72 Posts: 13,731Member Member Posts: 13,731Member Member
    Maybe take a look at some of the recommended programs here and see if any of them sound more fun right off the bat:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1
  • steveko89steveko89 Posts: 1,317Member Member Posts: 1,317Member Member
    Honestly, the thing I love most about strength training is what it's done for my appearance. My posture, proportions, and self confidence are all improved. Secondarily, getting stronger/being strong is fun and makes things easier.

    What made it enjoyable for me was when I finally ditched popular highly marketed programs like P90X and P90X3 and started using a more traditional approach. I went from working out because it was something I was supposed to do to something I genuinely enjoy and look forward to.

    I'm a big proponent of compound barbell movements and think of functional planes rather than specific movements or muscle groups; though there is a place for that sort of accessory specificity if really concerned with aesthetics. A Push/pull pair in the vertical & horizontal planes paired with legs-based push/pull is really all you need; boils down to bench press, rows, overhead press, pullups, squats, and deadlifts. I focus on those at least 90% of the time.

    Habit building, goal setting, and continuous improvement are all things that help me stick with it. I've made a not-insignificant investment in equipment for my homegym, which makes it convenient to steal away for a workout whenever I need to.
  • claireychn074claireychn074 Posts: 176Member, Premium Member Posts: 176Member, Premium Member
    I do Olympic weightlifting because it’s the strength equivalent of martial arts. You need to learn movements, develop speed and explosiveness, improve endurance, understand when to tense and relax, focus on breathing and it’s difficult (for me). It’s replaced the martial arts I had to give up and I absolutely love it.
  • surfbug808surfbug808 Posts: 35Member Member Posts: 35Member Member
    mbaker566 wrote: »
    i do strength training i enjoy. which is body weight work on the aerial hammock or aerial hoop
    i call it my sneaky workout because it's fun and i don't know how hard i worked until the next day.

    that's the trick-find a version you like.

    I might do best with something I already inherently enjoy, rather than attempt to enjoy.

    I do appreciate progress tho. I make mini-goals and then milestones. Once I reach a certain milestone, I often stop or slow down and don't maintain... maybe I need to switch up the type of exercises so there's more novelty and enjoyment. A definite driver right now is my appearance. I like how I look, but my spouse recently said in a most loving way that I'm "rounder" (due to medical issues I was not able to work out for 3 months and gained weight).I want to be more toned than round! I prefer functional movement too, and right now I'm rehabing an injury so that's another motivator to do strength training.
    I do Olympic weightlifting because it’s the strength equivalent of martial arts. You need to learn movements, develop speed and explosiveness, improve endurance, understand when to tense and relax, focus on breathing and it’s difficult (for me). It’s replaced the martial arts I had to give up and I absolutely love it.

    Appreciate the more detailed descript... I can see why it would appeal.

    Making strength training fun is important to me if I'm going to keep it up long-term!
  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Posts: 104Member Member Posts: 104Member Member
    Finding something I can't do and then working towards achieving that. For the longest time that was a body weight Turkish Get Up. Now I can do them with (light) weights and I am working towards heavier. Currently working towards an unassisted pull up and getting to grips with animal flow.
  • Finafoshizzle93Finafoshizzle93 Posts: 92Member Member Posts: 92Member Member
    Music really helps me. I got a pair of Bluetooth headphones and have playlists for weight lifting.

    I also like using apps to keep me focused. I work a lot and it’s nice to not have to think of a plan when I get to the gym. My favorites are Nike Training (free) and I’m really enjoying fitbod, which you can customize based on available equipment.
  • pondee629pondee629 Posts: 2,339Member Member Posts: 2,339Member Member
    I've found the consistent improvement shown on a practically daily basis to be "motivation" enough. Each session, I've picked up a greater weight than the session before. Actually look forward to the next session to see how high I can go. Then, when failure inevitably occurs, there is the de-load and restart and I get to do it all over again only with a greater outcome. Much like running, where you can see your times/distance improve, you get to feeling much better at your activity and at your daily life; what more could you be asking for? If personal improvement and evidence of same, doesn't "motivate" you...
  • J72FITJ72FIT Posts: 5,231Member Member Posts: 5,231Member Member
    If your goal is muscle maintenance then a minimal dose of strength training will do. 2x per week, nose to toes full body. The rest of the time stick to the stuff you enjoy. You don't have to love the process, just accept it, do it and know it works...
    edited September 12
  • JoyjasJoyjas Posts: 10Member Member Posts: 10Member Member
    I am doing the ChaLEAN Extreme video series and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a 90 day weight program where you do three weight days a week, each day of the week a different workout. At the end of 30 days you start a new disk with new workouts. She also has a cardio and abs workout as part of the program but I skip those and do my own cardio on off days. The videos are only 30-40 minutes long so it takes up minimum time. I enjoy doing exercise videos and it keeps me more motivated than when I tried to do a weight program on my own.
  • bebeisfitbebeisfit Posts: 677Member Member Posts: 677Member Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    If your goal is muscle maintenance then a minimal dose of strength training will do. 2x per week, nose to toes full body. The rest of the time stick to the stuff you enjoy. You don't have to love the process, just accept it, do it and know it works...

    Absolutely. Plus know that the strength training is helping your other activities. Use it to improve everything else.
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 10,543Member Member Posts: 10,543Member Member
    I do strength training because it enables me to do everything else. I basically enjoy seeing the progress. I’ve heard about ckassesa videos but I don’t really need them, so can’t recommend.

    However I’d love to hear about your ocean swims. I do 1 mixing the lake this summer and was pretty proud of myself for that 🤣. I’m dumbfounded by some of these ocean swims.
  • surfbug808surfbug808 Posts: 35Member Member Posts: 35Member Member
    bebeisfit wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    If your goal is muscle maintenance then a minimal dose of strength training will do. 2x per week, nose to toes full body. The rest of the time stick to the stuff you enjoy. You don't have to love the process, just accept it, do it and know it works...

    Absolutely. Plus know that the strength training is helping your other activities. Use it to improve everything else.

    Manageable and validating. When I was strength training at the gym in the past, I did all my exercises so that it was guided to becoming a more powerful surfer. That helped. Yeah, definitely aiming for the fully body workout. Those are the most enjoyable for me and I love seeing progress. I think I just need to take the pressure off myself.
    lorrpb wrote: »
    I do strength training because it enables me to do everything else. I basically enjoy seeing the progress. I’ve heard about ckassesa videos but I don’t really need them, so can’t recommend.

    However I’d love to hear about your ocean swims. I do 1 mixing the lake this summer and was pretty proud of myself for that 🤣. I’m dumbfounded by some of these ocean swims.

    Ocean swims are awesome! Great full body workout. There is some resistance in the surf & currents and the body has to constantly adjust. Also, seeing marine life gets me out there even more. It's very different from pool swimming. I think that for some people it's just about getting over the fear of being in open water. But I love it!

  • staticsplitstaticsplit Posts: 489Member Member Posts: 489Member Member
    I like doing it with a friend. We call it 'Whinge and Weights' (Whine and Weights for Americans). We left heavy things and talk about whatever's bothering us or share stories or whatever. Time flies that way.

    If I do it on my own, I like music, podcasts, or audiobooks. I like that I can do it on my own time at my own speed, and I end up zoning out and feeling oddly refreshed and exhausted at the same time.

    I couldn't ever only do weight lifting though. I do it 2x a week, then do yoga, running, ballet, etc as well.
  • rileyesrileyes Posts: 1,307Member Member Posts: 1,307Member Member
    surfbug808 wrote: »
    I've always been active. Formerly danced, did martial arts for 15 years, now I surf and long-distance ocean swim, just joined a soccer team. These are things I take pleasure in and always look forward to.

    I have never truly enjoyed strength training (using body weight/kettle bells/barbells/machines). I've joined gyms, hired trainers, tracked my successes... and then I lose momentum after 6 months to a year. I need to amp it up again since I'm trying to lose weight but maintain muscle. What has helped me is having a intimate social gym community, and seeing my strength progress... right now training to videos is also keeping me going.

    What do you love about strength training?
    What helps make it more enjoyable?
    What kind of strength training exercises do you find the most helpful and fun?
    What else helps you stay on track and on target?

    Whatever it is... just the things you personally love about it in general, or using certain inspirations, affirmations, a song playlist, how you warm-up or finish, the exercise lists you make or don't make, how you reward yourself, use your rest periods or whatever, I'm looking for tips and tools that can make my strength training feel more fun. Thanks!

    What I love about “strength” training is the power it adds to my sport.
    What makes it more enjoyable for me is progress.
    Supersets may be helpful for certain goals and “fun”. Variety—I.e., alternatives or subs allowable in the program.
    Logging helps me stay on track as does switching to a training program that helps me with my current goals.

    Dynamic stretching body weight circuits are my main warm-up.
    Reading about fitness inspires me. Classic rock helps with my cardio.
    Rest periods? For strength training, I just try to focus on the next lift.


  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Posts: 928Member Member Posts: 928Member Member
    I'd love one of these. As a rower, I know that physics matter in lifting. Most lifters know about force but many forget the old physics equation. V*F = W (work). Velocity if the V. This device adds Velocity training to weight training. Velocity training is all the rage now in golf, baseball and other high level sports. Ever hear in baseball that someone has "fast hands"?

    https://www.thisisbeast.com/en/product

    This even measures weight lifting in Watts generated. Something that cardio buffs can relate to. It also tells you when you should optimally end a set (because your velocity is slowing down).
    edited September 12
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 10,543Member Member Posts: 10,543Member Member
    surfbug808 wrote: »
    bebeisfit wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    If your goal is muscle maintenance then a minimal dose of strength training will do. 2x per week, nose to toes full body. The rest of the time stick to the stuff you enjoy. You don't have to love the process, just accept it, do it and know it works...

    Absolutely. Plus know that the strength training is helping your other activities. Use it to improve everything else.

    Manageable and validating. When I was strength training at the gym in the past, I did all my exercises so that it was guided to becoming a more powerful surfer. That helped. Yeah, definitely aiming for the fully body workout. Those are the most enjoyable for me and I love seeing progress. I think I just need to take the pressure off myself.
    lorrpb wrote: »
    I do strength training because it enables me to do everything else. I basically enjoy seeing the progress. I’ve heard about ckassesa videos but I don’t really need them, so can’t recommend.

    However I’d love to hear about your ocean swims. I do 1 mixing the lake this summer and was pretty proud of myself for that 🤣. I’m dumbfounded by some of these ocean swims.

    Ocean swims are awesome! Great full body workout. There is some resistance in the surf & currents and the body has to constantly adjust. Also, seeing marine life gets me out there even more. It's very different from pool swimming. I think that for some people it's just about getting over the fear of being in open water. But I love it!

    So where, how far, and how often do you ocean swim?
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