Everyone goes to the gym (or trains at home) for different reasons. Today I’m going to share with you the reasons I train, and I want to know why you train too.
First, let me tell you why I used to train:
- To look better
- To lose body fat
- To build a flat stomach and get as close as possible to a six pack
- To look better to other people
- To stay “skinny” and stay in shape
Years ago, those were my reasons for going to the gym. Do you see a trend with those five primary reasons? None of them are all that positive, and some reasons where centered on the opinions of other people. Needless to say, these reasons for training were not sustainable for the long term. Training wasn’t fun; it was more like a chore. I lost motivation for hitting the weights.
Now at this day and time, I train for entirely different reasons:
- First and foremost – to get stronger
- Because it’s enjoyable
- To challenge myself and see what I’m capable of doing
- To build character (yes, lifting weights most certainly builds character)
- To test out different methods of training to see what works best for me
- To increase and maintain my health as I get older
- To keep myself in shape so I can participate in other physical activities – skiboarding, hiking, playing football and other sports, rock climbing, swimming, racquetball, flying down a hill on a sled and ramping off the side of mountain into three+ feet of powder (like in the picture above), and any other activity I want to do
My reasons for training today are much more positive and completely different from my reasons for training back in the day. I’m no longer concerned with burning calories or looking good for other people. Yes, looking good is a wonderful thing, but for me it is more of a side-effect from training for strength. I too want to look good, but it’s not my primary goal; it’s just an added benefit from training hard and eating smart.
Right now I train in my garage and since it’s winter, I train in the bitter cold. Some people think I’m insane to go outside in 20 degree temperatures to lift. I have to put on thermals and several other layers just to stay warm. To some people, that’s crazy. To me, it’s just part of it. I love throwing on a bunch of layers, heading out to my home gym, and lifting heavy weight. Each and every session I am getting closer and closer to my main goal – getting stronger.
This journey doesn’t end either. Even once I reach a specific goal (hitting a new PR on the deadlift, for example) I’ll just set a new one and keep going. This journey never ends, even though my goals may change over time.
Now your reasons for training may be completed different from my own. Some people train because they want to look good naked, plain and simple. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it keeps you going to the gym consistently and long term. But sooner or later, adding a more positive goal to the list will give you even more motivation.
Ask yourself this question: Why do I train?
If necessary, make a list and be completely honest with yourself. If you find you lack consistent motivation to go to the gym, it may be time to come up with some different reasons for training. Whatever you do, make those reasons positive. For example, having the goal of “squatting twice my bodyweight” is much more positive and motivating than saying “I want to lose weight”.