Many people find a workout routine or certain exercise within it, if not the concept of working out itself, boring. So for them, the activity in question feels like a burden. In fact, right alongside time constraints, price considerations, and feelings of looking silly and embarrassed as they do the WTF-worthy things that they do, exercise boredom is one of the main reasons people give for throwing in the towel.
I don’t know, but that’s probably because they’re on the elliptical every day for 3 hours or are still using the same weight training program they were using when they were riding the bench on their high school football team 20 years ago. Fuck, I’d want to blow my brains out all over the gym mirror walls too!
But let’s imagine that you’re slightly smarter than that.
What are you to do?
Not working out clearly isn’t the solution because you kinda sorta need to in order to have a banging body. And switching routines or exercises every few days to spice things up isn’t the answer either because that too isn’t how you make your body bangable.
So if working out is boring and you shouldn’t ease the torture by radically changing things up or simply not working out, then what are you to do?
You could listen to music or an audiobook. But you probably already do that and still find it not enough to get you through your grueling set of dumbbell kickbacks. But whatever, at least you now have a soundtrack for the blowing out of your brains!
You could work out with a training partner. But that requires your people-hating ass finding someone whose presence you can stand. On top of that, once you find someone you don’t want to murder, their schedule has to sync with yours. And if it doesn’t, there’ll be days where you’ll be working out by yourself in absolute boredom.
You could take a group exercise class. But they mostly suck because there’s no periodization and progressive overload, which are the principles responsible for taking your body from people saying “WTF is that” to “I wanna F that”. Even more, there’s no individual attention paid to you and your crappy form because the instructor has, I don’t know, a classful of other motherfuckers to deal with. Oh yeah, let’s not also forget that you’re a people-hater and would have to be in close proximity to a shitload of people. You’ve already made the sacrifice of taking your anti-social ass to the gym because, hell, there’ll be enough open space so it won’t feel like people are crowding you, but being trapped in a room with other people on all sides of you? That’s where the buck stops!
So what are you to do about exercise boredom?!
How do you make working out more entertaining?
Eureka, I got it!
The answer is you don’t do shit.
Yeah, you don’t do shit.
Why? Because it doesn’t matter if an exercise or routine is boring. What matters is if it’s effective.
That’s how it is with almost everything in life. It’s not any different with fitness, although people mistakenly think it is.
I. Do It For The Culture
While working out is central to my being, I don’t do it for the sake of enjoying myself. I don’t think anyone on my level or beyond does. Stepping under a bar with hundreds of pounds of weight, for example, and experiencing the pain associated with muscle damage for rep after rep isn’t exactly “fun”. Neither is gasping for breath during a 30-second break before doing it all over again. I can think of a million more entertaining ways to spend my time.
If it’s not fun, then why do it?
Why do it?!
WHY DO IT?!?!
Ummmmmm…because those of us who are immersed in physical culture, who lift seriously, do it in pursuit of perfection. We’re mostly chasing the ever-elusive dream of sculpting the perfect physique. We have a goal in mind, and we aim to do whatever we have to do to reach that goal.
In that context, and assuming that you have a college degree (you, have a college degree? I know, it’s a stretch…but play along), my doing straight bar curls to get 20-inch biceps is the same as your doing coursework to get you towards your goal of getting that liberal arts degree in, let’s say, communications.
I’m sure you found your school workload tedious — unless you’re some kinda sadist — but you did it nonetheless because of where it was supposed to bring you in life. It’s the exact same thing with people like me, except what we’re sacrificing our own personal enjoyment for is a nice body rather than a good career as an intrepid journalist — a career that the economy can’t provide because of technology’s impact in making newspapers obsolete and the public’s willingness to become an idiocracy, all of which now has you bussing tables at Red Lobster and drowning in student debt out the wazoo.
II. Unhappy Hour
Too many are under the impression that changing their body SHOULDN’T be a chore, as if it’s supposed to be shits and giggles. This is in part thanks to Jazzercise fitness programs, Zumba classes, the Sean Ts of the world hawking their Dance Party DVDs, and magazine covers saying stupid shit that pieces fitness and fun together in hopes of catching your eye while you wait with your one bleepin’ item in the only supermarket checkout lane that’s open while the cashier waits for the stock boy to return from his pleasure walk with a price check on a package of Sooper Dooper Choco-Chip Crunch that the person in front of you says is “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” (it isn’t because the sale only applies to Sooper Dooper Chock O’Chip Crunch…the fine print gets ya every time!).
To the contrary, anything that will have your body seeing results should have you NOT looking forward to your workout like it’s the latest overhyped release in the Star Wars saga. While fitness doesn’t have to be torture, what you do to burn fat, build muscle, increase strength, shouldn’t be a hell of a good time either. It should be tough and stimulating because what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
That’s the difference between exercise and training.
If you want fun, exercise…but don’t expect anything else.
Do those one-legged overhead squats on a stability ball balanced on a needle that’s propped on a tightrope high above the open mouth of an erupting volcano.
Now that’s FUN!!!
Yeah, do that and have all the fun you want if all you’re concerned about is getting a good sweat, burning calories, feeling a pump, waking up sore the next day, or just need something to get your heart rate up so you don’t die of cardiac arrest and whoever you’re survived by discovers your cake crush porn stash.
But if you want results, train…and quit talking about your being bored, as if you’re a five-year old who needs constant stimulation.*
*On that accord, for example, you would change out those dumbbell kickbacks. But wait, didn’t I say not to switch exercises?! Well, yeah. Don’t switch exercises every session that calls for the training of X body part. However, because this shit is all about doing what’s effective, you can swap out an exercise such as dumbbell kickbacks for another exercise not because kickbacks are excruciatingly boring to do, but because the recruitment of the triceps is almost nonexistent because there isn’t constant tension placed on them throughout the entire range of motion.