Should Your Training Be Fun?

I just got home from the Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Providence Rhode Island.  I saw 14 different presentations and and an inspiring Q and A session, and my brain may be twitching in my skull after the amount of knowledge bombs dropped by the presenters.  I learned a ton of great stuff that I plan on applying to my own training, my clients training, the training I recommend to friends, and what I write about here on my blog…but you don’t get to hear about any of the fun stuff yet.  I’m going to take the time to write up a full review of the event so you can read a few great tips from each presenter.  Instead, I’m going to address a thought I had during the Question and Answer session.  This is not it:

Instead, let me talk about what may be one of the best things I heard all weekend.  During the Q&A, an attendee asked the panel of presenters about the programming that they currently employ for themselves.  The question helps provide some insight into their thought processes as people, and not only coaches.  At a conference that provides information on the most functionally dense exercise modalities we have, I’m sure a few people expected the answers to sound like, ‘Well, this is how I kick the shit out of myself on Monday, and this is how I do it on Tuesday, and on Wednesday…”

Two answers stood out in particular to me.  Jason Brown, who ran a hands on section about Kettlebell Basics, said that he uses the movements to improve the way he moves and feels.  He uses them to improve his quality of life.  Sounds normal, right?  Well, for everyone in our country that doesn’t exercise at all, there’s also a population on the far side of the spectrum that thinks that every workout should leave you feeling like a run down, achy, sweaty mess.  (I could name the CrossFit guys there, couldn’t I?)  Sure,  sometimes even I like to feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut, right?  I mean, check out this picture I took of my friend Ben after we completed a finisher with my new Prowler, our new Slosh Pipe, and some kettlebell swings.

This 110%, balls-to-the-wall attitude can come back to haunt you in the long run.  Many life-long fitness enthusiasts will tell you this, and recommend that you don’t go overboard every single chance you get.  I’m a huge fan of working hard and pushing yourself to the next level, but if you consistently make yourself feel like crap, or hurt yourself in the process, then you’re just being stupid.  Make sure that you feel good after most of your workouts, so you can appreciate the feeling after you actually feel kinda crappy.

In answering the same question, Fraser Quelch, reflected on the state of fitness in America.  I’m only paraphrasing here, but he said that we should think about elementary school students during recess.  The second that bell rings, they go flying out the doors, and climb around the playground and move around the field with an incredible amount of energy and excitement.  They play until recess is over, and then go back inside for the rest of class.

Where did our enthusiasm go?

Good training is fun training; it should look like play.  Enjoying yourself while you exercise could be the most important part of your training program.  Without having fun, you’re going to be miserable while you workout, and you’re going to start skipping workouts, and eventually quite all together.  Before we get carried away with ourselves here, let me go on to say that fun training and easy training aren’t synonymous, let me quickly touch on effort.

Don’t be lazy.  Bust your ass.  You’ll appreciate your own hardwork, you’ll see better results, and you’ll leave sweat puddles everywhere, which is almost always a good idea.

Now that we’ve got that taken care of, make sure that your workouts are fun.  Objectively speaking, anything that you enjoy doing is going to work better than stuff you hate doing.  Subjectively though, you’ve gotta get serious.  There’s a hierarchy of effective training, and you need to have more fun with the effective stuff.  Have you been trying to lose weight for so long that you actually convinced yourself you love running on the treadmill?  It’s a lot easier to say that you love running than saying, ‘Wow, this workout sucks, let me find something that works better…and is more fun.’  You want to know what’s more fun?

Move your body through space, and lift appreciable weight.

Don’t tell me that tricked you; you had to see it coming.  Contrary to popular belief, strength training and metabolic conditioning is actually really, really fun when you do it the right way.  So, what’s the right way?

I’m going to show you three videos that I’ve seen recently that depict this.  One of them is a TRX ‘Get With The Movement’ promo done with Todd Durkin, and between his voice over and the video clips, it makes me want to go outside, strap mine up, and go to town.  Check it out:

Do you feel motivated yet, because I think most of that stuff looks really fun.  In this next clip, Robert Dos Remedios puts some of his friends through a great conditioning workout right at his home in Southern California.  I’m jealous of the weather, all of the great tools he uses to get people in great shape, and the motivated people who are having fun and improving the quality of their lives.  While you watch the video, think about how much of this equipment is in your gym:

Not a lot of it, huh?  Most of that equipment is inexpensive, and it’s infinitely more beneficial for you that a leg extension or pec deck.  Get on your feet (and hands) and start moving!  The last video I have for you is from Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove of Results Fitness.  I saw both of them speak this weekend, and they’re great coaches and business people.  Results Fitness is the most profitable gym in the country per square foot, and there’s no question why.  They deliver great results, and their clients have fun.  Foam rollers, TRXs, kettlebells, ropes, sleds, and bands aren’t just for athletes; they’re for everyone.  I have a blast using them, everyone else who uses them has a blast, and they offer better results.  If you’re training with this gear, you’re having fun, and that’s the way your training should be.

Is your training that fun?

No?

Then you’re doing something wrong.

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