When I strained my back a couple of months ago, I figured I could still work out and just “take it easy.” You know – “back off.” This is actually called denial, because when you’re used to pushing it, it’s very difficult to do something with less intensity. The intensity is the fun part.
My back is better, but it took much longer to heal while continuing weights. And while I’m not advocating continuing to exercise when you have an injury, I’m actually proud of the fact that it’s difficult for me to back off.
You might know what I’m talking about: whether it’s running, cycling, or weight lifting, you look forward to the incredible release of endorphins… depend on the energy that you get from regular exercise… need to beat down stress… or are so intent on your goals that an injury just seems like a slap in the face.
If you won’t weight train, you haven’t found your sweet spot. If you don’t look forward to weight training, you haven’t found a way to make it fun. But you can.
I have sweet spots – I want to be strong and have a sexy body among many others. But they are not what keep me going back week after week. The truth is, I have crazy fun lifting weights. The fun is why I keep lifting and why I never miss a session. The fun of weight lifting is also why I have enjoyed great results.
How does weight lifting become fun for you if it’s not already? Here are a few things that make it fun for me. If none of these work for you, there are many more. Just listen to yourself – and go.
- Sensing the Movement. My friend Roy over at Contemplative Fitness wrote an incredible piece on not cheating your repetitions. He talks about feeling the contractions, concentrating on the movement, and focusing on technique instead of rushing through reps. I often feel that weight lifting is almost sensual; I’m really feeling my body while I’m pushing it. Feeling your muscles contract take body awareness and patience, but it’s meditative once you tap into it.
- Feeling Alive. When you do something physically strenuous, you feel alive in this very moment. I’m inspired when I hear the song, “Moment 4 Life” because it’s how I feel when I’m lifting. You’ve heard of the runner’s high; well, there is such a thing as a lifter’s high too. The burn, the challenge, the satisfaction – it adds up to feeling alive in the moment.
- Enjoying Music. Before I started lifting again a few years ago, listening to thumping beats and dirty lyrics was missing from my life. I came to realize that not only did music motivate me to lift hard, it’s fun as hell to listen to. It elicits a kind of emotion and joy that I don’t find elsewhere. It’s part of what I look forward to when I lift.
- Finding the Right Environment. I love the gym. I love the culture, the energy, even the sounds. You might hate the gym; maybe it intimidates you or you hate the crowds. Whatever – you need to lift in a place you like. Make it special and make it a place you look forward to going, even if it’s somewhere in your home.
- Feeling Like a Bad Ass. Lifting weights makes you grunt, wince, and breathe heavy. You feel stronger physically. You got muscles, baby. After awhile, being a bad ass with weights leads to being a bad ass in your head. No one’s going to bring you down. No one’s going to walk on your sunshine. I also call this inner hotness, or rockin self confidence.
- Doing the Switch-up. There is not one way to approach weight training. You can do it fast and intense, slow and easy, or somewhere in between. You can do full-body sessions or upper/lower body splits. It all depends on what will make it enjoyable for you and fit your goals. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s style, schedule, or philosophy.Also, if an exercise doesn’t feel right or hurts, change it. On many exercises you can change grip, feet position, or equipment. Watch exercise videos and learn correct, safe form. The main thing is to experiment. Don’t let your routine get stale.
So put your game face on, turn on the tunes, and strangle that dumbbell with all your might. You may have not only found the path to your bikini body, but newfound pleasure – and joy – as well.