TOPIC: How Do You Make Working Out Enjoyable?
Whenever you step into the gym there are 2 different types of people: the ones who drag themselves out of bed or from work and workout with a tired and annoyed look just because they have to. Then there are the ones who come into the gym pumped up and ready for an exciting and awesome workout.
What makes these two types of people so different?
What can you do to make working out enjoyable instead of a boring chore?
How can you get yourself pumped up for a workout?
Are there any different exercises or routines that can make working out more fun?
Can supplements help play a role for creating an enjoyable workout?
Bonus Question: Are you the type of person who works out because it's a chore, or do you enjoy it? What makes it that way for you?
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1. Blap Blaow
2. ShannonC_77 View Profile
3. bubba g View Profile
3. ho_124 (Tie) View Profile
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1st Place - Blap Blaow
Health and fitness has become a major growth industry in the developing world, with more and more gym chains, clothing manufacturers, magazine publishers and health food shops looking to take advantage of increasing public awareness of health issues.
This increasing awareness, combined with the increasing public taboo being placed upon being overweight and out of shape and general pressures from the media to have the 'perfect body' have culminated in this mounting 'gym culture'.
Then again, modern gyms have existed for decades whilst the idea behind them has been in existent for centuries; the ancient Greeks had gymnazein (literally 'place to be naked') where they could exercise, bathe and socialize in search of what we regard today as a classically proportioned body.
| The Gymnasium Through History
The Greek institution of the gymnasium never became popular with the Romans, who regarded the training of boys in gymnastics with contempt as conducive to idleness and immorality, and of little use from a military point of view; though at Sparta gymnastic training had been chiefly valued as encouraging warlike tastes and promoting the bodily strength needed for the use of weapons and the endurance of hardship.
Among the Romans of the republic, the games in the Campus Martius, the duties of camp life, and the enforced marches and other hardships of actual warfare, served to take the place of the gymnastic exercises required by the Greeks. The first public gymnasium at Rome was built by Nero and another by Commodus.
In the middle ages, though jousts and feats of horsemanship and field sports of various kinds were popular, the more systematic training of the body which the Greeks had associated with the gymnasium fell into neglect; while the therapeutic value of special exercises as understood by Hippocrates and Galen appears to have been lost sight of.
So how has this manifested itself in the present day? At the simplest level; people that work out because they feel they 'have to' and people that work out because they enjoy it.
But what is it that makes these two types of people so different? I don't think there is a single definitive answer to that simply because, just like everything else in life, different people have different motivations and goals. However, I will try to examine some underlying trends.
When you enjoy something, whatever your motivation is, you commit yourself to it fully, and the gym is no different. Those that give their all in the gym each and every time and leave knowing they've had the best workout they could possibly have - those are the people that are driven, focused and ultimately enjoy workout out.
At the other end of the spectrum there are those people that give a half-assed performance every time. They are easy to spot as they will usually be placed firmly on their glutes tying up a piece of equipment with menial exercises or stomping away on the treadmill at almost walking pace whilst watching MTV (or, dare I say, reading a magazine on an exercise bike!).
Fundamentally, what differentiates people is their reasoning and logic for being in a gym in the first place. I feel this is an important area to explore when looking at why some people enjoy their gym experience whilst others don't.
Good question! Why do you have to enjoy yourself in the gym? Surely you can have a good workout without really enjoying it? Well, yeah you can - but why would you want to?
Like I said earlier, enjoying a workout means you put more into it - more effort, more commitment and ultimately you get closer to your goals faster and more efficiently. Do you ever do something you hate any more than you have to? I doubt it. Do you ever find it hard to do something you enjoy? No.
Looking at why some enjoy working out whilst others find it a chore is elemental in understanding how someone can improve their own workouts in order to enjoy it more and consequently make the most of their time in the gym. There are countless motivating factors which make a workout more enjoyable, or not. Some of the most common factors are;
Endorphins: The Feel Good Factor
During the course of a workout it has been shown that the brain releases chemical called endorphins into the body. The primary effect of these chemicals is as a means to counter the pain and discomfort of a workout. This is one of the ways in which the body deals with the physical stress it is being placed under.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters found in the brain that have pain-relieving properties similar to morphine. There are three major types of endorphins: beta endorpins, found primarily in the pituitary gland; and enkephalins and dynorphin, both distributed throughout the nervous system.
The secondary effect of endorphins is to induce a feeling of euphoria - the 'feel good factor'. The harder you push, the greater the feeling of euphoria and the better you feel afterwards. You're not a 'meat head' for wanting to achieve more and push harder, it's just that the harder you work out the better you feel afterwards.
This in turn goes some way to explain why those that are put in minimal effort in the gym enjoy it less. Their body simply isn't being tested enough to warrant endorphin release and that feeling of joyful satisfaction that follows an awesome workout. This is just one reason why being in the building isn't good enough.
Increasing medical knowledge and mounting scientific research has both given us reasons to work out and stay healthy in the form of high blood pressure, diabetes, risk of heart attacks and strokes etc.
Genetic dispositions add to this, with certain ethnic groups far more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes than others. So what better motivation is there than knowing you will live a longer, healthier and potentially happier life by simply devoting yourself for a few hours a week to and eating cleanly.
However, I believe this is the underlying problem with a lot of those people that don't enjoy the gym but go anyway; the people that work out because they think it's the right thing to do.
Ultimately you should work out because you want to, not because you feel you should. External pressures are great for getting people to join a gym but awful for getting people to commit to a serious workout.
Once you have made it through the doors there are several tactics you can employ to ensure a more enjoyable, fulfilling and productive workout, as I will discuss later.
The Power Of The Challenge
Part of being a human being is to overcome challenges in life, whether they be personal, physical, intellectual or whatever. The gym should be no different.
Whether it is the challenge of putting on some lean muscle, just getting to squeeze out an extra rep from last week or just feeling better about yourself and your body, this challenge cannot be underestimated in making a workout more enjoyable.
In fact, challenging yourself in the gym is vital to most experienced athlete's motivation and can be powerful part of your arsenal in making the most of your workout.
Like it or not, much of our society is based around physical appearances. While you can change your clothes, shoes and haircut with relative ease, transforming you body is a far greater commitment and much more of a challenge but at the same time arguably the most effective and important change you can make to your life.
Transforming your body through a solid exercise regimen not only has added bonuses of better health, greater stamina and an overall felling of wellbeing but also increases self esteem, confidence and attractiveness.
Even if your only real goal for working out is to look better topless you will still be more motivated to go into the gym and give your all each and every time in order to build those massive arms or run that little bit further whilst at the same time you notch up numerous other benefits.
If you just want to look better for appearances sake you will no doubt enjoy being pumped after a good session and watching that needle on the scales move closer and closer to your goals week in and week out.
A lot of people don't work out to look better, and are not really in a high risk category when it comes to avoidable illness, but work out to supplement a sport.
Whether you're looking for power, speed, strength, size or endurance a gym routine carefully designed to compliment your sport can be invaluable in giving you the edge over the competition.
In this scenario the workout is secondary to sporting achievement - you workout in order to achieve success at a given pursuit. However, for many, the workout can be just as fulfilling.
Teams often train together and the competition mentality as described earlier kicks in - you push yourself harder and workout better (within reason of course).
Athletes.com Is A Great Source Of Info On Sports Fitness.
Like it or not, many people use the gym as a social hub. Whether it's to meet girls (or guys), make some new friends or just to catch up with some old ones, the gym can often be as much of a social environment as the local bar. Opinions are generally divided on this.
I've found it's usually the large swanky establishments which attract the social crowd and the tying up of equipment by gentle paced busy bodies can be very irritating to some.
More hardcore athletes take the 'workout or get out' stance. Personally I feel that given the massive escalation of obesity in the Western world and the consequently humungous medical costs to treat overweight-related illnesses, anything that gets people out of their homes and doing something is fine by me.
The point? Even if you enjoy working out simply to talk with people you are doing so much more for your body those happy with a more sedentary lifestyle. Again, the key to achieving your goals is the enjoyment factor.
Just Because You Can
This is another shallow reason for people to get up and enjoy a good workout; and one which helped me to get out of bed at 6am four days a week (not easy when you're a university student!).
I loved knowing that while I was working hard at the gym virtually the entire student population was tucked up in bed sleeping off a hangover.
Not only did I have almost free reign over the equipment but I could shower, have a post-workout shake and meal and get ready for another day of academia whilst everyone else was hitting the snooze button on their alarm clocks.
Like I said - a shallow reason - but it damn sure got me out of bed in the morning and ready to lift!
Human beings are complex organisms and most people are motivated by a combination of factors, only some of which I've covered here.
Although this section has not dealt with all of the reasons why people enjoy their workout it does give an insight into what some may be lacking if they do not enjoy their time spent in the gym.
Pump Yourself Up
Instead Of A Boring Chore?
How Can You Get Yourself Pumped Up For A Workout?
Hopefully by now you'll understand why, when it comes to your workout, I believe the enjoyment factor is so important, and what you can gain from enjoying your time in the gym. Now to elaborate on these basics in order to give you some practical ideas on how you can enjoy your workout that little bit more.
Set Realistic Goals And Stick To Them!
In my opinion this is the most important piece of advice when it comes to enjoying your training. Without definite goals you have no focus in your workout, no real reason for being there.
Whether you want to lose some weight, develop your deltoids more or cut your 1 mile time by 5 seconds, without a goal there is no challenge and no sense of achievement when you break through your personal barriers. After all, we all love to blow a challenge to pieces, and there is nothing sweeter than overcoming your own personal challenge.
These goals must be realistic, however. If you are an experienced athlete you should know what is achievable, if not ask others - a trainer at the gym, look in the mirror and figure out what you feel needs changing, or even ask the Bodybuilding.com forum members.
Once you've decided always, always STICK TO IT. Constantly changing goals when you haven't reached the last one is like constantly moving the goalposts in a soccer match - it's pointless, unproductive and you will never be happy because you will never be able to hit your target.
Knowing what your goals are before each and every workout and going into the gym determined to work towards them is an awesome motivation for anyone.
The Holy Trinity Of Bodybuilding
Nutrition / Rest / Workout
This isn't the place to discuss the ins and outs of why correct nutrition and recovery combined with a carefully thought out workout are so important, however taking all three seriously will help you reach your goals faster and more efficiently.
Neglecting one or more will result in unsatisfactory progress, an inability to reach solid goals and ultimately someone that cannot reach their goals isn't the happiest trainee.
The Bodybuilding.com main site is full of articles on how to successfully develop a solid diet, workout and allow sufficient recovery time in order to help reach your goals.
Reaching your goals and quickly as possible will do wonders for your motivation and help you see exactly why you're putting in all that hard work.
Sometimes you can't just get motivated to get out of bed to train, or to push out that last rep or even attempt certain exercises without a reliable spotter. The simple answer is to train with a partner. There are numerous benefits to having a
Firstly they will help you with motivation in actually getting to the gym as you will not want to leave your partner sitting around waiting for you while you decide if you can be bothered today.
Having someone who is stronger / faster / bigger / leaner than you (dependant on your goals) gives you something to both aspire to and provides a little extra motivation in the gym for you to reach their level. Conversely, if you're the more experienced athlete you will be working out harder to try and stay one step ahead!
I find an underrated tactic is to workout with your partner or significant other. This has several benefits; it will provide you with motivation to look good for your partner, it will provide you with a shared interest and will help promote an overall healthier lifestyle since both of you will become
more health aware.
This is a popular tactic employed my many. Simply take an CD/MP3 player or iPod into the gym with you. The trick is to make sure it is playing music which really pumps you up - motivational music. This can be anything from hip hop to heavy metal to classical, as long as it works for you.
It doesn't even have to be music you would normally listen to. A surprising number of people I know squeeze out those reps to 'Eye of the Tiger'! As long as it motivates you it works.
On the other hand, what motivates me in the gym is the sound of people grunting and weights crashing (sounds odd I know!). The sound of the gym itself is a fantastic motivation for me and helps me focus on my situation and the task at hand.
Getting into a routine may sound like a nightmare to those people trying desperately to cling on to some sense of independence; however it can do wonders for your body and your workout. A routine means that you body is prepared to the work ahead - whether you workout in the morning, afternoon or evening.
Finding a routine which allows you to place your workouts around other commitments allows you to then plan meals and recovery time appropriately, once again helping you achieve your goals with greater efficiently.
On the other hand, trying to squeeze in a workout here and there whenever you can means that you are less mentally and physically prepared for the challenge ahead, resulting in a less enjoyable and ultimately less productive stint in the gym.
Find Yourself A Role Model
Whether it be classic
Arnold Schwarzenegger, contemporary
Ronnie Coleman, Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Paula Radcliff (Women's marathon World Record holder and reigning World Champion - and a Brit!), finding yourself someone to aspire to can be a powerful aide in helping you really enjoy your workouts to get the most out of them.
Pin up their photograph on your mirror along with their stats and have a long look at it before you leave for the gym.
Click To Enlarge.
Ronnie @ The 2004 Olympia With Triple H & Arnold.
Now you know what to aim for, what your focus is so now whenever you feel your motivation waning in the gym just think back to your role model and feel your motivation skyrocket.
Track Your Progress
Simple and effective but often underutilized. Actually taking a few seconds out of your day to track your progress is great way of seeing how well you're doing, what you need to improve and what you're doing right.
Tracking your progress can take many forms, from measuring your body fat % and your weight, noting your sets and reps for each workout or taking a picture of yourself every month and creating a personal 'calendar' of your transformation.
This both gives you something to aim for (remember the love of The Challenge!) and provides a way of motivating yourself to loose those extra pounds, do that extra rep or run that little faster.
Educating yourself about your body and fitness strategies is a great way of helping you understand what you are capable of, how you can keep your body healthy and why certain aspects of your workout are so important.
In understanding your body you realize the importance of those little niggling injuries that may prove to be significant, you understand the importance of a carefully thought out diet and good form in the gym.
Even though I am formally educated in a completely different field I find the human body in relation to exercise extremely interesting. Understanding exactly what's going on in my body when I work out makes me enjoy my time in the gym that little bit more enjoyable.
Again, Bodybuilding.com is a great resource for learning about your body and how you can approach health and fitness in a considered and educated way.
This ties in with understanding and educating yourself about your body - you have to expect plateaus! Although it is far from ideal, once in a while you will notice that your weight isn't changing from week to week, that you're reps aren't increasing or that your times aren't improving. Why? Your body has adapted to your combination of diet, exercise and recovery and needs new stimulation.
Look at your diet and see if there's anything you can change and perhaps your workout could use some rejuvenating. This should help stop your body from adapting and set it on the right track to reach your goals.
If you reach a plateau without realizing it (this can and probably will happen), then you will eventually be less likely to enjoy your workout from week to week and the path to achieving your goals will be far longer. Being aware of plateaus helps you identify them quickly and solve the problem without weeks and potentially months of frustrated training.
To Learn About Plateau Busting Click Here.
Time Off/ Cheat Days
Once in a while these are essential to a successful workout regimen. A lot of those people you see in the gym week after week with sour faces are those that resent having to sweat and work to achieve their goals. Probably on fad, under-researched diets and poor workout plans without understanding the power of a break.
Often a week long break after 8-10 weeks is a good way of giving both your body and mind a break. Athletes often find their strength increased on their return to the gym, and the time off does wonders for your motivation.
The same goes for your diet. Every once in a while a 'cheat meal' or even 'cheat day' can help keep those cravings at bay, and you can even use them as a reward for a hard week/ fortnight/ month of solid dieting.
Transformation Of The Week
Need some real motivation that you can see and relate to? Bodybuilding.com's Transformation of the week covers a huge number of inspirational stories from real life men and women that made a concerted effort to change their lives for the better with a healthy lifestyle.
There is bound to be a story to inspire you to put that little bit more effort in, and your body will thank you for it.
Tired of being sat down in a stuffy office all day or on your feet dealing with customers? Many find a good, solid workout a relaxing time when they can both escape from the outside world and release some tension into a dumbbell!
The basic reasoning behind this is the release of 'feel good' endorphins during a good workout, but the escape factor, the change of environment and being able to focus your stress to drive your workout make the gym an awesome place to relieve stress and make a good workout something you should enjoy.
Looking Good, Feeling Great
It may seem shallow but many people are motivated by the desire to simply look good.
It's natural to feel good when someone pays you a compliment and it feels fantastic when that compliment is about your most valuable asset - your body! So if you want to get those compliments without having to fish for them go workout and make sure it's an awesome workout every time!
However, there's probably only one better feeling for a serious athlete - feeling just as good as you look! For those that have transformed themselves from a less-than-healthy way of life the ability to do the simplest of things, such as run for a bus without losing your breath, not grumble about having to take the stairs when the lifts are broken or being the one asked to open the ketchup, is massive motivation. The healthier you become, the better you feel; simple!
Why Might You Not Be Enjoying Your Workout
In a topic such as this I think it is very important to address issues pertaining to why some may not be enjoying their workouts. It may be that you are missing a lot of the motivational factors described above, in which case I hope I have helped you at least recognize what may be missing and put you on the way to solving the problem. Some, however, do not enjoy the gym for a variety of more serious workout related reasons:
One of the most popular words banded around today in the athletic community and, more often than not, irresponsibly so. However,
overtraining can be a serious problem for some and the reason why they may not be enjoying the gym.
- Unexpected and frequent pain in muscles and joints
- Constantly tired, drained, lack of energy, fatigue
- Inability to relax; twitchiness, fidgetiness
- Unquenchable thirst
- Lowered immunity
- Tiredness and restlessness in bed
- Loss of competitive desire
- Decreased appetite
- Dramatic and unexpected weight loss
- Persistent muscle soreness
- Injuries occur more frequently than normal
One or two of these symptoms may be normal from time to time, however more may point to a workout/diet/recovery program which may need serious overhauling.
Most common among male athletes (although female can suffer too), muscle dysmorphia is the psychological condition whereby athletes (particularly, but not exclusively, bodybuilders) are unhappy with their physiques, even though they were well physically well developed. Sufferers of this disease often have a distorted, smaller and less developed picture of themselves than is actually the case.
Some bodybuilders use this to their advantage, striving to push themselves to develop better bodies. Some, however, take potentially dangerous routes in pursuit of this goal. This can include taking steroids and using exercises recognized to be dangerous.
Ultimately muscle dysmorphia can both be useful or dangerous, depending on how the sufferer reacts to their distorted image of their body. It is rare, however can explain why some more experienced athletes begin to enjoy their gym experience less and less and adopt potentially dangerous training techniques.
This is a potentially huge topic and one which does not fall directly under the remit of this discussion, however an important one that I will briefly address.
Eating disorders, like muscle dysmorphia, arise from a psychological distortion of one's body image. There are four main eating disorders which I will address here;
Characterized by the desire to become thinner through starvation like dieting. Usually due to a distorted body image whereby the person believes they are bigger than they are.
Characterized by the desire to become thinner through binging of foods then purging their body of them soon after (either by inducing vomiting or using a laxative).
Binge Eating Disorder
Usually unrelated to a desire to become thinner, the sufferer binges on food (without purges themselves afterwards) in order to seek comfort.
Reverse Anorexia Nervosa
Usually suffered by men, reverse Anorexia Nervosa Is characterized by an consuming large amounts of food, working out more than usual and even resorting to steroids in an attempt to gain size and muscle.
Exercises & Routines
I'm sorry but there is no one super fun exercise or workout that will get you grinning like a Cheshire cat every time you step into the gym! If there were I'm sure a lot more people would look after their bodies instead of eating burgers and watching TV all day long.
However, each person has a few certain exercises which they enjoy more than most. To really get yourself pumped for good workouts always try to incorporate at least one of these exercises into your routine.
For example; for me it would be the bench press on chest day and military presses on shoulder day. When you know you have an exercise you enjoy in your routine it helps motivate you for the rest of your session and therefore helps keep your focus throughout.
However, don't try and fill an entire session just with exercises you like - you won't be challenging yourself fully, your routine will probably end up causing you to plateau before very long and you simply won't be doing justice to your body.
Mix up the favorites with the not-so-favorites in a carefully planned and challenging routine for the best possible workout.
Another tip to help keep you motivated during a workout is to be willing to change your routine once you're actually in the gym. Maybe you're not in the mood for a particular exercise or the piece of equipment you need is tied up.
Unfortunately it's easy to get frustrated in these situations and let it put a downer on the whole session. To avoid this happening make sure you have some alternatives available that you can substitute.
By being prepared and having a full arsenal of exercises at your disposal you can easily have a full and successful stint in the gym and being educated (see earlier) on your body and exercises helps you pick the right choice in such a situation.
Fundamentally, I believe that supplements DO play a role in creating an enjoyable workout in both the short and long terms; however this is a very tricky issue.
After all, you're far more motivated to get back into the gym when you don't ache so much after the last session or you see you body changing for the better.
These are basic supplements which are key to the success of many athletes and can be used safely for indefinite periods - in essence their effects do not wear off. As such these can be important tools in helping you reach your goals and so play a large part in the motivational equation.
However there are other supplements available at the Cyberstore which are specifically designed to give you an energy boost in order to keep you focused, alert and pumped for a great workout. However, many of these stimulants wear off with sustained use and so if relied upon can become ineffective.
To View Energy Enhancing Supplements Click Here.
In essence, if you feel you need a stimulant before most workouts you should look to address other aspects of your daily routine, diet, rest and workout in order to find a real long term solution.
I love working out! I love having the power and knowledge to be able to sculpt your body, the sense of achievement when I hit a new goal, learning about the science behind my body and how exercise relates to it, the compliments I get from others about the way I look and being the one asked to open the ketchup!
I am lucky enough to have motivation coming at me from all angles and as such I have never not loved being in the gym.
Thank you for reading.
2nd Place - ShannonC_77
How Do You Make Working Out Enjoyable?
What is the secret for achieving quick and lasting results? Is it a special workout or diet that will allow you to reach all of your fitness goals? Nope.
The secret is making it fun. People who actually enjoy their workouts are more likely to stick with them over the long haul, therefore making their success rate skyrocket.
They are much more likely to give 100% every time they are in the gym since they are enjoying themselves and are more likely to reap all the other indirect rewards you can get from a good workout, such as decreased stress and a positive social experience (depending on the mode of exercise you chose). So what distinguishes those who enjoy their workouts from those who don't?
Being That Guy Who Is Always Ready For A Trip To The Gym
The biggest determining factor that affects whether you are the guy who is constantly forcing himself just to get to the front doors of the gym and the guy who never seems to get enough is the type of motivation you have. The type varieties are intrinsic and extrinsic.
| Intrinsic & Extrinsic.
Intrinsic: Of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent.
Extrinsic: Not forming an essential or inherent part of a thing; extraneous.
Those with intrinsic motivation are motivated by non-materialistic rewards and are exercising for some sort of higher good, such as the way it makes them feel, the positive effects it has on their health, the social experience they get from working out, the way that all their worries seem to disappear after they've put in a hard workout, and so on.
Those who are extrinsically motivated on the other hand are those who are often working out to look better, because there is some sort of material reward involved (such as someone paying them or rewarding them with gifts for losing weight or reaching some other aesthetic goal), or because they are feeling pressured to do so by their peers or family members.
These types of people are much more likely to quit their workouts once they have reached their goals or just stop altogether if they are not seeing results fast enough.
Since they are being motivated from an external factor, their reasons for being there are likely not that important to them and more often than not they would much rather be spending their free time elsewhere, thus they feel it is a struggle to make it on a regular basis.
Two other factors that can contribute to whether you are the type of person who loves the gym or dreads it are your personality type and your general health.
These reasons however are slightly more variable and one can usually overcome any barriers they may provide just by carefully choosing what type of workout you perform.
For example, people who have type A personalities are very driven and perfectionistic which can sometimes work against them when it comes to fitness.
If they believe that they have to be perfect and achieve success in everything they do, they will likely stop enjoying their workouts very quickly unless they are doing better than everyone else or are reaching new levels with every workout.
Those who have a little more laid back personality are likely to enjoy their workouts more because they will likely allow themselves more leeway. If they are feeling particularly tired one day, they will simply do a lower intensity workout and give their body a break, and won't feel guilty about it at all.
The type A on the other hand would feel bad for doing this and will push themselves at their normal high intensity, which would only leave them feeling more tired and exhausted and make the whole experience rather miserable.
To remedy this issue, type A people may want stick to forms of exercise where you cannot judge your progress that easily (the goal of the exercise is not to achieve a certain level) or you cannot judge yourself against others, such as a class like yoga.
This will give them a break from their everyday life where they are constantly challenging themselves to be better and may offer them a very pleasurable experience.
The final factor is your general health. People who have certain health conditions such as depression or muscular diseases or disabilities may be more likely to not enjoy their workouts since it will be a constant reminder of the battles they are facing.
Depressed people simply don't have that much energy for everyday life and will find that getting to the gym requires a lot of physical and mental effort on their part. Sadly though, these are some of the people who need to workout the most, as it has been proven that exercise can greatly reduce the symptoms of depression and get them on the path to wellness once again.
The important thing with this scenario is finding an exercise for them to do that doesn't require too much energy off the bat and is something they will enjoy. This will get them looking forward to going to the gym and make them happier to be there.
On the other hand, people with physical disabilities might find it very frustrating to see how much they are limited when they are working out. Therefore, these individuals need to consult their doctor and find out what types of exercises they are capable of doing and which are going to be the best ones for both enjoyment and therapeutic purposes.
This will help them to see a point to their being in the gym (to help them overcome their disability) and enjoy the process quite a bit more.
Finding Ways To Make Your Workout Fun
So now that we've determined what distinguishes those who show up to the gym ready to go and those who look like they've been threatened into going or something, how do you go about making your workout fun?
There are a variety of options here.
Matching Your Goals
The first and most important thing is to find something you enjoy that matches your goals. If you hate running but want to lose weight, don't force yourself onto the treadmill everyday just because you heard it's best for fat burning.
You're going to hate every minute of it and probably will get off before your time is up, therefore not really helping you progress towards your goals.
Instead, try riding the bike, or using the elliptical machine, or maybe even taking a cardio class offered by the gym if you find that social interaction really helps lift your spirits.
By finding something that is enjoyable for you, you will actually begin to look forward to it as it will be a sort of release for you and you will more than likely find working out much more fun.
On the other end of the spectrum, if lifting free weights is not your thing but you really want to increase your strength, look into alternative methods here, such as some of the yoga's that have more of a strength focus or an aqua size class. You would be surprised how much resistance being in the water can create.
Time & Place
The next step to making your workout fun is finding a time and place to do it that you are comfortable with. If you are forcing yourself up at 5 AM every morning to go to the gym when quite frankly you are still so tired at that point you can hardly see straight, you are not going to be happy to be there.
You will likely snap at every person who tries to talk to you and could actually risk injuring yourself if you're not completely paying attention to what you are doing.
Similarly, if your gym is a half an hour drive out of your way or is in a place that you don't feel comfortable in (either because of the member population or the focus of the atmosphere) you will likely find yourself dreading going as well.
Another thing you can do so that your workouts become more fun is either find a workout partner (if you enjoy the group type of experience) or find a solo activity that you can do alone (if you are looking to exercise as a way to give you some alone time and be with your thoughts).
People who are not using exercise as a time to get away and be by themselves often benefit very much from finding a workout buddy. This person will help them stay committed to going as they will be counting on them to be there and even if the person isn't particularly looking forward to their workout, they will likely look forward to seeing that person and will still have an enjoyable experience none the less.
A final way to make your workouts more fun is to create little mini-goals and rewards for yourself. It should be noted here though that it's best to use rewards that aren't too materialistic and offer some sort of added pleasure to yourself for your hard work.
For example, after you reach one of your smaller goals, treat yourself to a massage or a weekend away at a cabin in the mountains. Or make a small bet with your workout buddy that whoever shows up to the gym the most will pay for supper at the end of the month.
Although this is placing the motivation a little more on the extrinsic side, it shouldn't be too harmful as it is associated with some other intrinsic motivation (having a relaxing dinner with a friend) and since it is only based on smaller sub-goals you should still have your main goal, which hopefully is intrinsically determined, that you are working towards.
Pump Yourself Up!!
So now that you've figured out how to make your workout fun, how can you pump yourself up for it? Different people will have different strategies.
One method that is very popular among many gym goers is music. There is nothing like some good fast dance music, or some heavy 'angry' music to get you ready to give it your all; both listening to music before you go and during can prove to be very efficient.
I know many runners who swear by their music and say they could never keep going if it wasn't for their trusty mp3 players. The same principle applies to the weight lifters.
These people often seem to prefer the heavier type of music as it almost increases their 'anger' in a sense which translates to them lifting heavier in an effort to release this anger.
Like I said above though, everyone will have personal preferences here and for some classical music may be the key to a great workout. Experimenting and finding what gets you ready to go is what's important.
Another way to pump yourself up for a good workout is watch a video or look at pictures of your role model (or what you are trying to accomplish by working out).
For example, if you are an athlete and are working out to improve your game, watching your favorite athlete perform might give you that extra little motivation and really help you see what you are working towards here. It will give you that drive to give a little extra in everything you do in hopes of one day reaching this status.
Likewise, if you are weight lifter and are hoping to achieve a particular physique, having pictures of what you hope to accomplish in your room or locker at the gym may help to serve as a motivator to remind you of why you are doing this and help you look forward to going once again.
As I said above though, while focusing on working out to change your looks is a great motivator, it's important to also concentrate on how it will help you on a higher level, such as bring down your resting heart rate and reducing your chances of diabetes and high blood pressure (for cardio training) and make you stronger and less resistant to diseases such as osteoporosis (on the resistance training side of things).
Realizing these long term 'hidden' benefits will go along way as well to helping you to stay pumped about riding the bike for that last 10 minutes or pushing through your final exercise.
Another way to pump yourself up for a workout, although it is one you would normally not think of, is with food. If you are not properly fueled for your workout, you will likely find you have no energy and have a hard time just getting excited about going to the gym, let alone mustering enough energy to actually do a workout.
Ensuring that you are efficiently nourished beforehand will make sure your energy levels are at their peak and will make you much more excited with the thought of being there.
A final way to pump yourself up before going to the gym is to quickly make a list of 5-10 reasons why you are doing what you're doing and what you hope to accomplish in that particular workout session. This will serve to keep you focused and looking forward to achieving your goals.
For Printable Goal Setting Check List Click Here.
While no specific workout can really be considered more fun than another as everyone has a personal preference when it comes to what they find enjoyable, changing up your program on a regular basis will go a long way to reducing staleness and burnout.
When you are doing the same thing over and over again, not only will you become bored in record time, you will likely plateau and will stop seeing results as well. So varying your intensity, number of sets, reps, and exercises will all help towards making your workout fun again and keeping you excited about the gym.
Another way particular workouts can help make exercising more enjoyable is challenging yourself with something you've never done before but have always wanted to try.
Maybe you've always admired rock climbers but have been too scared of doing it for fear of looking funny or lack of knowledge.
Look into an introductory class that specializes in teaching beginners the basics. You would be surprised at how doing a completely new activity will challenge you like never before. You may become aware of muscles that you never even knew you had.
Even for those who have always been dedicated to the aerobics machines and lifting weights, trying out a yoga class could really open your eyes to a new kind of training. Trying to hold some of those positions will target muscles that you aren't used to working and will definitely prove to challenge your balance.
Can Supplements Help?
One of the most popular supplements people take before working out is
caffeine. Taken in moderate doses shortly before working out, can offer you the benefits of having added energy and helped to get you more 'pumped' up as well.
Some of the common
fat burners on the market will also aid in helping to give you more energy so you can workout with more intensity for a longer period of time.
They will give you that extra boost when you just don't feel like going to the gym and would look more like that guy who is dragging himself there that we discussed in the first part of this article.
Proper post-workout supplementation, such as a good
protein powder can also make your workouts more enjoyable as these will help your recovery ability so you will feel better for your next workout sooner.
No one likes going to the gym when they are still sore and feel like they are still suffering from their last trip to the gym, so taking the time to ensure you are using the proper supplements to get the most from your workouts and your bodies natural rebuilding processes will go a long way to making your time in the gym more rewarding.
For those with joint issues, taking Glucosamine and MSM will help lubricate the joints and will allow you to workout with less pain. Again, working out in pain is never fun, so using supplements to remove this issue for you will totally change your attitude about working out.
I have to admit, I don't always look forward to going to the gym. I'm a regular morning exerciser and when I'm lying in the bed, the thought of running 3 miles or trying to work up enough strength to lift as heavy of weights as possible is rather daunting.
However, I know that I have never regretted working out and after it's finished I will always feel better than if I had skipped it. Just knowing how I feel after I'm done is usually enough to get me out of bed and into the gym on those days when I'm particularly not in the mood.
Most of the time though, I look forward to challenging myself to see what new levels I can reach with my fitness. I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to physically be able to workout and just imagine how miserable I would be if I couldn't. That in itself almost always makes me look forward to going.
You never know what happens in life, people get injured or sick everyday, and cannot workout for months at a time, and sometimes are permanently forced out of the gym. I recently suffered a stress fracture and could not run for a good month (which is something I love to do).
It was during this time that I really realized how important this is to me and how hard it would be to live without it. I'll never forget the feeling I had when I was able to run again after the injury and was pain free. I was reminded all over again why I run in the first place.
So to answer this question, what makes working out enjoyable for me is the knowledge that I can. Not everyone can push their bodies the way many of us do and won't ever experience the feeling of a really great workout. I don't ever want to take this experience, I can provide myself, for granted.
So if you're currently dreading your next session in the gym, look at where your motivation is. If you are not doing it for yourself for some internal higher reason, you may want to rethink your goals and find something that is meaningful to you. Next, look into the ways you can make your workouts more enjoyable and get yourself pumped up for the gym.
Finally, take a look at the popular supplements out there that may make your time in the gym a more pleasurable experience. After taking all of these factors into consideration, I'm sure your dread will dissipate and you will forget why you were complaining about working out in the first place!
3rd Place - bubba g
Putting The Fun Back Into Training - Different Strokes
Everyone is different. These differences are what make the world interesting, and exciting. Just imagine how boring it would be if everybody was exactly alike. There would be nothing to talk about, or discuss because everyone would feel, and think the same way.
These different traits and personalities however make some people less suited for working out. Not everyone is into bodybuilding, or powerlifting but everyone is looking to maintain, or improve their health. Exercise along with eating a healthy diet is the best preventative medicine in the world for a whole host of different ailments.
In this article I will go over some ways to make working out fun again, or maybe for some of you fun for the first time.
Some people, myself included, love to workout. I have to force myself to take days off, and if I am sick or injured it kills me that I am not able to lift. I rarely miss workouts, and if I do I make up for it the next day.
People like me are motivated to workout by a lot of different things whether it be training to improve athletic ability in a particular sport, or to improve their appearance, or simply because they love to workout, and push their muscles to their limits.
Some people lift but do it because they feel like they have to, or because their doctor told them to, or to drop a few pounds, etc. Regardless of what the reason, they are not working out because they enjoy it and it shows.
These are the people you see in the gym who do a set of 10 with a weight they could probably do for 50 reps, then they head over to the water cooler for a drink and to strike up a ten minute conversation with another person who doesn't want to be there. Finally heading back to do their next set.
What Makes These Two People Different?
I think nearly everyone dreams of being fit, and having a great looking body. However, Dreams won't take inches from your waist or add inches to your biceps. Dreams are fantasy, goals are a reality. The minute you take action to achieve something you dream of is when your dream instead becomes a goal.
I think the difference is that the people who are working out, and enjoying it are the people who are working at achieving their goals, while the ones who are going to the gym because they feel they must are the dreamers who think simply showing up at the gym, and going through the motions will give them good results.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Lackluster workouts and diet will yield lackluster results, while great workouts along with a proper diet will give you great results.
Keeping It Fun
It is important for people to enjoy exercising because they are way more likely to stick with it if they are having fun while doing it. This is not always easy because to "workout" is to work out of your comfort zone. So I guess the million dollar question is how do you have fun while pushing yourself past the point of comfort?
Odds are you've already done it hundreds of times. For example the first full court basketball game of the season between you, and your friends. Your heart felt like it was going to beat out of your chest, your lungs felt like they were on fire, the only thing that burned more than your lungs were your muscles from the lactic acid build up.
You were far from in your comfort zone, but you had the most fun you had in a long time. That is only one example but there are many. So now you see it is possible to have fun when you are uncomfortable.
Here are a few things you can do to make your time at the gym more enjoyable, and productive.
Keep A Log Book
A log book is a must for anyone who is on a workout program. Not only is it a great way to track your progress and make sure you are improving. A log book gives you something to aim for because it is your goal to improve from week to week. It can be fun trying to "beat the log book" as a lot of people call it.
This gives you a small week to week goal to add 5 pounds to an exercise, or a couple more reps at a particular weight and can seem a lot less overwhelming than people's ultimate goals of, for example, losing 40 lbs., or putting on 40 lbs. of muscle.
I often say to myself while working out "got to beat the book". I find that this helps me to focus, as well as it keeps me in a positive mood.
Working out with a partner is a great way to add enjoyment to your workouts. There are lots of reasons why it is a good idea to get a workout partner. For starters you have a spotter with you at all times.
This is a great asset because you will no longer have to rely on a stranger at the gym to spot you which can be scary because if the person who spots you doesn't know what they are doing they could cause you to get injured which will really take the fun out of the gym for a while.
A little friendly competition between you and your partner is a great motivator. It's also nice to have somebody to talk to in between exercises.
If you are married, or have a girlfriend it can be great for your relationship to go to the gym together.
You will be improving your appearance for one another, and it is a great common bond to have.
Music can add fun to your workout, and keep you amped up from start to finish. MP3 players are a great invention, and are much better suited for use while working out than the old bulky walkman radio/tape players, or portable CD players.
They don't skip, they can hold thousands of songs, the batteries last much longer, and they are so small you forget you have them on. If you workout at home a nice stereo system is an excellent addition to your workout room, and is a very worth while investment.
Switch Things Up
Changing your workout often is a good way to keep things fun. A stale routine is not only boring; it is not good for gains either. Your muscles will adapt very quickly to workouts, so you should change your routine up to keep them guessing.
You can switch things up by changing exercises, changing rep ranges, time under tension, time between sets etc.
Nothing is more satisfying than breaking out the measuring tape at the end of the month, and seeing that you have lost an inch off your waist, or added some size to your quads, or arms, or chest etc.
Keeping track of your measurements and body fat percentage can be a lot of fun as well and like the log book it gives you short range goals. Knowing that you are going to take measurements motivates you because you do not want to see at the end of the month that you didn't improve.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating right makes you feel so much better than when you eat junk foods. A lot of people drink sodas all day, eat ice-cream a few times a week, eat tons of processed food, loads of fatty, sugary snacks, and bacon; the list goes on.
Then they wonder why they feel like crap, and don't want to workout or have no energy once they get to the gym which makes their workouts unbearable.
The first step some people should make even before starting a workout program is to improve their unhealthy diets. They will find that it makes a world of difference in their overall mood and energy levels. This will not only make their workout bearable it will make them fun.
This obviously only applies to people who smoke, but I thought I would mention it since I know so many people who workout and also smoke. Many times I have seen people get two steps out of the gym and they are lighting up a cigarette on the way to their car. That used to be me.
I smoked from the time I was in my early teens until just over two years ago.
I thought I felt fine when I was smoking, I never coughed, I felt good, I would get winded when doing strenuous activities but since I started smoking at such an early age I thought it was normal, or I figured it was because I was not in great cardiovascular shape.
The truth of the matter was that smoking was greatly affecting my health. When I first quit I went through a couple months were I was really making great gains in the gym, better than any supplement I have ever taken. In a few months time I noticed that I didn't get winded nearly as easily, and when I did get winded I would get my breath back much quicker.
I have much more energy, and stamina now than I did when I was in my early 20's. I would much rather spend my money on supplements that will improve my health than to pay all that money for something that will deteriorate it. I quit by taking my cooking timer that I use to keep track of how long I am taking between sets in the gym, and quitting one hour at a time. At the end of an hour I would say to myself,
Before I knew it I didn't need the timer anymore. It was much easier to quit than I thought it was going to be. Here is a link to a site that has a lot of information on quitting, and has free downloads of quit counters that tell you how long you have quit for, how much money you saved, how many cigarettes you would have smoked if you didn't quit etc. Quit Smoking!
Many would say "fun cardio" is an oxymoron, and cardio can definitely be boring, and anything but fun. But like anything else it's what you make of it.
Most people think of cardio as jumping on a treadmill, or stationary bike, a stair climber and mindlessly jogging, pedaling, or climbing away for 45 minutes only to end up where they started off.
Cardio can be any activity that gets your heart pumping so use your imagination. Go to the park and practice your lay-ups on the basketball court for an hour, play tennis for an hour, go for a hike, chase your kids around the backyard for an hour, jump on your bike and go for a ride, or take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Anyone of these is a great cardiovascular workout.
Improving your cardiovascular health is one of the things that gives you an overall feeling of well being, and I would recommend it to anyone whether they are bulking up and trying to add some muscle or if they are trying to burn some fat. If you are bulking just make sure to make up for the calories you burn in your diet.
Getting Pumped Up
This is a crucial part of the workout. This is where you get yourself mentally prepared and psyched up to complete the tasks at hand. Your mental attitude is everything, without positive thoughts you are doomed because you will feel hopeless.
If, before your workouts, you are thinking "This sucks! I have to go to the gym.", don't bother going. The only thing you'll accomplish once you get there will be getting in the way of people who are serious about improving their physiques.
Here are a few things I do that I find get me amped up and exited about lifting, and keep me focused on what I want to accomplish in my workout.
Look At My Logbook
I find that looking at the numbers I have to beat is a good way to get myself pumped up. I look at it a few times throughout the day. I will start to visualize myself lifting my goal weight, or hitting my goal for reps.
Music puts me in a great mood before I workout. As well as keeping me in a good mood while I workout. I like to listen to really aggressive metal because I feel it helps with my lifting. I can't get into moving heavy weights around while listening to Dave Matthews. But everyone is different and you should listen to whatever works for you.
Warming up for me is not only important for raising my core temperature, and preparing my muscles for my workout, it also serves as a time where I mentally prepare. I like to jump on the treadmill or the stationary bike for 7 - 10 minutes. While I think about what I need to get done or what goals I want to accomplish in my workout.
Look In The Mirror
A great way to get motivated is to look at yourself and see what you need to work on. You may also want to admire what you have already accomplished. Whether you like what you see or not it can be an effective tool. If you like what you see it will keep you going, if you don't like what you see it will motivate you to change your appearance.
This is my favorite way to get seriously pumped up. I crank up the tunes, and pound the crap out of my heavy bag for about 5 minutes, it's great stress relief, it gets your heart pumping, and it really energizes you.
Some Fun Routines
Here are a few good routines I made up that will produce great results. They might take a while to get used to but once you get into them and start seeing results you will start to enjoy the exercises that you hate. I used to absolutely hate squats and deadlifts but now they are my favorite two exercises because of the awesome results I have received from doing them.
Workout # 1
This is a great 3 day split for people who are only able to workout 3 days a week. I have Monday, Wednesdays, and Friday written but it can be completed on other days, just as long as there is a day in between workouts.
- Deadlifts - 3 sets of 8
- Bent Rows - 3 sets of 10
- Reg Grip Lat Pull Downs - 2 sets of 10
- Underhand Grip Pull Downs - 2 sets of 10
- Hammer Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Straight Bar Curls - 3 sets of 10
Reg & Rev Wrist Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Rear Raises - 3 sets of 12
- Side Raises - 3 sets of 12
- Military Press - 3 sets of 10
- Dumbbell Shrug - 4 sets of 12
- Weighted Crunches - 3 sets of 10
- Hanging Knee Raises - 3 sets of 10
- ATG (A$$ To Grass) Squats - 3 sets of 12
- Front Squats - 3 sets of 12
- SLDLs (Stiff-Leg Deadlift) - 3 sets of 10
- Leg Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Incline Bench Press - 3 sets of 10
- Weighted Chest Dips - 3 sets of 10
- Close Grip Bench Press - 3 sets of 10
- Skull Crushers - 3 sets of 10
- Calf Raises - 3 sets of 20
Monday - Back, Biceps & Forearms
Wednesdays - Delts, Traps & Abs
Friday - Legs, Chest & Triceps
This is a 4 day a week routine I made up for those that have more time to go to the gym. I feel it hits each body part more thoroughly because you have less body parts to hit each day.
- Underhand Bent Rows - 2 sets of 10
- Overhand Bent Rows - 2 sets of 10
- Lat Pull Downs - 3 sets of 10
- 45 Degree Shrugs - 3 sets of 10
- Reverse Grip Bench Press - 2 sets of 10
- Close Grip Bench Press - 2 sets of 10
- One Arm Reverse Grip Tricep Pull Downs - 2 sets of 10 (Ex- Shown With Both Hands)
- Military Press - 3 sets of 10
- Rear Raises - 2 sets of 12-15
- Side Raises - 2 sets of 12-15
- Shrugs - 4 sets of 10
- Armpit Raises - 3 sets of 10
- ATG Squats - 2 sets of 15
- Partial Squats - 2 sets of 15
- Front Squats - 2 sets of 15
- Leg Extensions - 2 sets of 12
- EZ Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Close Grip EZ-Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Incline Bench Press - 2 sets of 10
- Flat Bench Press - 2 sets of 10
- Decline Bench Press - 2 sets of 10
- SLDLs - 3 sets of 10
- Leg Curls - 3 sets of 10
Monday - Back & Triceps
Tuesday - Delts & Traps
Thursday - Quads & Biceps
Friday - Chest, & Hams
This is a 6 day a week routine I made up that is great for people who don't like to spend a long time in the gym. Try to complete the workout in as little time possible (under 45 minutes is best) Not a split for beginners but it is a good change of pace for those who are used to a 3 or 4 day a week split.
- Yates Rows... 3 sets of 10
- Bent Rows - 3 sets of 10
- T-Bar Rows - 3 sets of 10
- Pullups - 4 sets of 10
- Reverse Grip Bench Press - 3 sets of 10
- Close Grip Bench Press - 3 sets of 10
- Skull Crushers - 3 sets of 10
- Wrist Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Reverse Wrist Curls - 3 sets of 10
- Dumbbell Military Press - 3 sets of 12
- Rear Laterals - 3 sets of 12
- Side Laterals - 3 sets of 12
- Dumbbell Shrugs - 3 sets of 12
- Behind The Back Shrugs - 3 sets of 12
- ATG Squats - 4 sets of 12
- Leg Press - 4 sets of 12
- Leg Extensions - 3 sets of 12
- Front Squats - 3 sets of 12
- Incline Bench Press - 3 sets of 10
- Flat Bench Press - 3 sets of 10
- Incline Flyes - 3 sets of 10
- Decline Flyes - 3 sets of 10
- Straight Bar Curls - 3 sets of 10
- EZ Bar Preacher Curls - 3 sets of 10
- SLDLs - 4 sets of 12
- Leg Curls - 4 sets of 12
This is a demanding but fun routine and you wont overtrain working out 6 days a week if you keep the workouts short, take plenty of vitamin P (protein), eat your veggies, and get plenty of sleep. I also took great pains to make sure that you will not be indirectly training body parts you hit in the following days workout as much as possible.
Monday - Back
Tuesday - Triceps & Forearms
Wednesday - Delts & Traps
Thursday - Quads
Friday - Chest
Saturday - Biceps & Hams
Your mood, or your mind set as I mentioned earlier are crucial to the quality, and the enjoyment of your workout. Some supplements can really get you charged up and give you the energy you need to get you through your routine. Lifting weights is demanding on your body so it needs all the help it can get.
Supplements provide this help. Some supplements are taken every day as part of a healthy supplement regimen, and others are taken only shortly before working out to give you that extra boost to power you through your workouts. Here are some of the more effective ones.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Creatine Ethyl Ester is a great improvement over creatine monohydrate for many reasons. One of the reasons: it's superior because it absorbs much more efficiently into the muscle which is where you want it so the dosage is smaller. Another reason is it doesn't cause the bloat that creatine monohydrate causes. It will increase your strength, and stamina almost overnight.
CEE also makes your muscles fuller, and increases your pumps. All of which can increase your enjoyment in the gym. One more great thing about CEE is the price. This supplement is, in my opinion, has the best value of any supplement out there. So not only is it one of the most effective supplements on the market, it is also one of the cheapest.
This is one of the supplements that you take 30 to 45 minutes before your workout. On non-lifting days you want to keep your muscles saturated with creatine so you take it first thing in the morning. CEE has a bit of a strong taste and can be a bit much for some people to take.
CEE comes in powder or pill form. If you think that the powder might be too much then capsules would probably be your best bet.
Kre-Alkalyn is another option.
This one has similar results to CEE but it comes in capsules. It is buffered creatine which is again much more efficient at getting into the muscle than creatine monohydrate. You will want to take one or the other but not both at the same time (CEE/Kre-Alkalyn).
I just wanted to include all of the different new forms of creatine. I have also spoken to many people who have used both (at different time). Some have told me that Creatine Ethyl Ester gave them better results while others have said Kre-Alkalyn gave them better results. Give them both a try and see which one works better for you.
Caffeine is another supplement that can really give you that jolt you need to get amped up about the workout. Caffeine is a natural central nervous system stimulant that increases your energy, alertness, and improves your mood. It is an inexpensive supplement that is very effective.
This is not the same as the caffeine that's in your coffee it is caffeine anhydrous and is much more potent. I would highly recommend anyone give it a try. Take it a couple hours before you exercise, and start at one tablet and work your way up to the maximum dosage. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others.
Green tea is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory in addition to being a super antioxidant. The anti-inflammatory properties are effective at relieving pain from working out, and keeping all of your muscles, joints, and tendons feeling great. This is again a fairly cheap supplement that is well worth the cost.
Flax Seed Oil
Flax seed oil is not only an excellent source of
EFA's (essential fatty acids) and lignens, it is also very effective at lubricating your joints which makes working out much less painful. Less pain means more enjoyment. It is not fun working out when all of your joints are aching.
Powerlifters are wise to this and many will take 3 tablespoons a day. I have been doing that for a while now and my joints have never felt better. It takes a few weeks before you feel a difference but it is definitely a worthwhile supplement to take.
Glucosamine is a supplement that has been shown to be effective at healing connective tissue, and lubricating your joints, and is another great supplement for improving your comfort level while working out. It is much easier to enjoy yourself when you're not in pain.
Other Joint Health Supplements
Other great supplements that support joint health are
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and
Chondroitin. There are quite a few products that combine all three of these supplements for total joint health.
- Natural Joint Relief
- Sedona Labs' Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM
They all work in different ways and have a synergistic effect when combined. Here are a couple of those products:
As I stated earlier in this article I love working out. I get a great sense of accomplishment when I change the way my body looks, and feels. Working out is an awesome way to release tension, improve your appearance, your health, your confidence, your quality of life in general.
I take great pride in knowing that I am in better shape than the vast majority of the population. I have better strength and endurance now than I did when I was 18 years old, and I owe it all to working out. I quit smoking because I felt it was hindering my gains. This is why I can also attribute my love of bodybuilding to the fact that it helped me quit smoking.
There are not many things in life that are enjoyable, and good for you. To me bodybuilding and exercising are a couple of those things. I would encourage anyone who reads this article to give some of the things I mentioned a shot and make their time in the gym more productive, and fun.
3rd Place - ho_124 (Tie)
Making Your Workout Enjoyable & Intense
There are many people at the gym who you see many times a year who haven't made any significant gains, or times when you yourself have felt that you have low energy levels and could barely finish your workout. But why? That is simply because they do not prepare properly or because they do not workout properly.
In order to have a proper workout, many factors such as sleep, diet and timing of the workout are important. It may also be because their negative workout habits, which include socializing during their workout and taking too much time between sets, are not focused or do not go to complete failure or training without variety. As a result, they do not achieve any results and sometimes when you train with low energy levels or are not focused, you yourself cannot feel any pain in the muscle the next day.
There are actually very few people (about 20%) in my gym who have made significantly large gains. Here is a visual of two people that have made the largest gains in my gym:
They stand out and are different from the rest because they enter the gym pumped with a partner and you know from the look on their face that they are serious. They are training to complete failure, scream, breathe hard when pumping iron, and are in the gym after you and out before you leave. They are consistent and encourage each other to put on more weight. These people are the ones that others and myself look up to.
Making Your Workout Enjoyable
Having an enjoyable workout is very important to making the most gains as possible. This enjoyable workout depends on many factors before you workout such as diet, supplementation, sleep, and timing of your workout. They all influence how much energy you will have as well as the mood you are in. There are also many important routines and tendencies that people should or shouldn't do to have a fun workout such as:
Factors Before A Workout
Ensure that you fuel yourself up for the workout ahead. Although the meal before your workout is the most important don't forget that all meals throughout the day will also contribute to the amount of energy your body will have before a workout.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy during your workout. Without them your glycogen levels would be low, therefore your energy levels would also be low. The meal before your workout should consist of moderate to high GI carbs for a quick release of energy as well as moderate to low GI carbs for sustained energy levels at the end of your workout.
For example eating a fruit as well as some pasta. All other meals should have relatively low GI carbs. Essential fats such as fish oil and flax oil are also important in maintaining healthy levels of testosterone which lead to your energy levels in the gym. A pre-workout meal is important because it spares muscle breakdown, maintains nitrogen levels, and builds the muscle back when you are working out.
Make sure you have enough sleep the night before a workout or else you will be tired during your workout meaning minimal gains. Be sure to have at least 8 hours of sleep and at maximum 10-11 hours since I find that you feel really lazy if you sleep longer than that. Sleep is very important because it is when your growth hormone is at its highest.
Timing Of Your Workout
The timing of your workout is very important to have an enjoyable workout. For example, if you are not a morning person, don't workout in the morning or else you will just have a horrible workout and you won't make as many gains. Make sure you workout about 2 hours after your last meal.
I find that working out in the afternoon, 2 hours after lunch is the best time for me since I have the most energy at that time. Just make sure you do not workout at night because many people tend to be restless when they try to sleep. Also try not to workout at rush hour time in the gym when everyone is working out. You may be waiting in line to use equipment and that is not good.
Make sure you don't drag out your workouts too long or you will feel drained. As time passes, especially after 30 minutes, glycogen stores and testosterone levels significantly drop.
A good way to train is to do a 1:1 ratio of rest and work. I like to keep my workouts to about 45 minutes and wear a watch to keep time of my rest. Do not train for longer than 1 hour or you could over train which will lead to less energy and need for a longer recovery.
Have A Goal
A goal will give you incentive and a desire to work hard to achieve the results you want. You can even bet with another partner who will get larger arms in 6 months by measuring them or have a before and after picture to see who made more gains.
Having a goal your serious about making will automatically make you work hard.
Trying To Make Your Workout Fun
Get a workout partner who will train with you. You can also discuss supplementation, different exercises and prevent each other from making mistakes.
A workout partner is definitely one of the top five keys in making your workout more enjoyable. Having music going is definitely great, especially if you are in a home gym. Music gets you motivated and also gets you into a good mood.
Keep socializing to a minimum during your workout. Before or after a workout is an okay time to socialize with your gym buddies. Cardio is also a great time to socialize with others.
Overtraining is a deadly enemy. It can take what you have earned completely away. Try not to train for more than 5-6 times a week and if you're just starting, train every other day.
Make sure you have at least one rest day a week. Over training will lead to less enjoyable workouts as well as decreased results. You can tell if you are over training if your weight or reps is consistently decreasing.
Variety Of Training
It is great to have a different variety of exercises and ways of completing them. Doing the same old exercise for too long will get old and boring. Variety will ensure that there are no plateaus and keep gains flowing. Make sure you change up your workout program every 1-3 months depending on when you plateau.
You can change your workout by changing the exercises up, incorporating a proper amount of free weights:machines, and the way you do the exercise. There are usually 3 basic ways of doing an exercise, moving the weight up and down at a moderate pace, moving the weight up really fast and down really slow, or you can have someone press down on your rep while you are lifting up (or the reverse of that).
Pump, Failure & Pain
Working out to complete failure will ensure that I am making gains in the gym. A lot of times I try to lift the weight up one more time even though I know I cannot do it.
Sometimes I actually am able to get it up again. This will actually give me a good muscle pump and make me feel huge. A good workout should make your muscles ache from the lactic acid. I know if my muscles aren't hurting the next day I have done something wrong, such as taking too much rest.
Getting yourself pumped before your workout is important, but more importantly you must stay pumped throughout your workout. There are many different ways you can you can do it but it mostly comes from the mind and environment. Here are some ways you can get really pumped up:
Have A Partner
A partner will encourage you to lift more weight as well as do more reps. Your partner will increase your intensity levels and force you to maximum failure every time because he can spot you.
Having someone to spot you is important in keeping yourself pumped because if your benching alone you might be afraid to go to your max since you might drop the weight on yourself.
This way you know you can push to your max without being afraid of looking stupid or hurting yourself. If you are afraid of doing an exercise then you're not exactly pumped.
Your partner will be someone who will keep you pumped through the whole workout and make sure you don't slack off. This is especially great if you are doing 1 rep maximums.
Mental toughness is definitely an important key to keeping pumped. Every bodybuilder must have it or he/she will fail. You must believe in yourself that you can do it and always believe you can do one more rep... even if you can't.
Tell yourself that this workout will get me bigger, better and stronger if I work hard.
Relaxation & Massages
Keep your body and muscles relaxed before your workout. All athletes always get into a pumped but also relaxed mode before they play their sport. Massages also help greatly.
Although it may not seem like it, if you have a proper massage, your body will be in an oasis toxins will be released from the muscles. Massages are unreal before your increase the weight or bust plateaus.
Put the energy of the music into your lift. Music is a great for keeping you motivated and pumped throughout your whole workout.
Choosing A Gym
Joining a gym with hardcore lifters will definitely get you pumped to do what they are doing and to inspire you to lift with great intensity.
Always try to lift heavier when you feel you are ready (always challenge yourself); when you are pushing yourself to the max on the last few reps you get an adrenaline rush and naturally get hyped up. You can also challenge yourself do complete harder exercises.
Compete With Someone
Try to get more reps than your training partner, and even put some money on it.
Set goals so you have to work hard to get to it, when you set goals you know your going somewhere and you will be hyped up before each workout to reach this goal.
| For Example
Make it a goal to get your bench to a certain weight or to be bigger than your competition.
If you set a goal and you're serious about reaching it then you won't be bored. You can also look at a picture of your favorite bodybuilder or look at the biggest guy in the gym and say to yourself that I'm going to get bigger than that guy.
Having Fun With Exercises
If you follow these guidelines any exercise can be fun. I find that when I can really concentrate the muscles that I am working out I can really have fun. This is usually for my chest and back. Some of my favorite exercises are different variations of:
- Bent-over barbell rows
- Cable crunches
- Declined skull crushers
- Cable flyes
- Wrist roller
I love these exercises because I can really feel my muscles burn afterwords. Sometimes I like to superset between two exercises and I really feel tired and good. Just changing up stuff and trying out new challenging new exercises is the best.
Supplementation can definitely help you maintain focus throughout your workout. They may even stimulate and give you increased energy levels for your workout, as well as burn fat.
Here are some of the supplements you should try:
- Met-Rx Amped
- BSN NO-Xplode
- Dymatize Xpand
These are all great if you like NO2 supplements, as well as a mild energy booster.
- Ephedrine HCL + Caffeine
- VPX redline
- San Tight
These are all good fat burners and also help give you pretty high energy levels.
SciVation NeuroStim is a great supplement that gives you energy and keeps you're focused on your workout.
ZMA or Tribulus supplements are great for keeping testosterone levels high and gains in the gym high.
Other Supplements I Believe Are Good
I workout because I will enjoy my results in the gym. I know I have to work hard to get them. I have figures that I look up to as well as inspirations from other people that keep me working hard.
One of the best and most hard working people I know is Bill Grant. His inspirational video series, although short, is great. Check out the video called babyboomers in particular. Bill Grant who is almost 59 is still lifting intensely and making great progress.
Review Of Other Articles
Or "Why Wasn't Mine Picked?"
- Good organization.
- Good ideas.
- Poor grammar.
- Little details. Although the writer had some good ideas, they could have expanded on them. More time could have been spent on motivation. Explaining what makes people motivated, or some reasons people may naturally be motivated (like they implied).
There were good ideas in this article, but they aren't fully developed. It is also important to review the article for grammar mistakes.
- Creative and original.
- Some valid points.
- Less information. Although this article was written as a story/play, it seems some of the writing wasn't directly related to the question.
This article/play was a creative idea, but other articles seem to have more direct information to the reader. While this story made some valid points (and was somewhat descriptive as a story), wasn't really as descriptive as some of the information in other articles.
- Overall good grammar.
- Easy to understand.
- Limited information. When discussing how to make working out enjoyable, or how to get pumped up before a workout, their information was short and limited. Other articles supplied more ideas and insight.
- Little detail. Discussing supplements, or how to get pumped for a workout, they never put much time into giving detailed advice. More detail could have been put into creating a fun workout routine.
This article was written well, but limited with information and detail. Reading some of the winners would be a good way of getting ideas to improve the article.
- Good information.
- Very poor grammar. There were numerous problems with grammar. There are problems with commas and periods. There were many run-on sentences. This grammar can sometimes make it harder for the reader.
This article had good information, but it seems that the writer might not be 100% familiar with the English language. Poor grammar makes the articles very hard to edit.
- Good organization.
- Poor grammar. There were numerous grammar mistakes throughout the article.
- Ideas resembled most of the other articles. Nothing too original or different separating this article from others.
The writer should definitely run their article through a spell-check and review it for grammar mistakes.
- Uses references.
- Good information.
- References problem. When ran through anti-plagiarism 33 words in the article match that from this page. They are "which constitutes 60% of male body weight and 55% of female body weight - is eliminated through perspiration, defecation and mainly by urination; and its levels in our body need to be immediately replenished." This should have either been quoted, or at least noted with a number and referenced at the end.
- Could have provided more information regarding fun exercises and workouts.
This article was very good, but it had some small flaws. Overall, without the reference problem, this article was one of the best runner-ups, and has the best chance for improvement.