Usually, when people hear the word addicted that have images of cigarettes and drugs pop into their head but in my opinion not all addictions are bad. You can be addicted to something that is good and beneficial for you. You can be addicted to meditating, increasing your net worth, fitness, learning, giving or really anything. This is a topic that is argued in the philosophical world as to whether any addiction can be positive and what makes something a habit vs an addiction vs a compulsion. If you do something repeatedly to change your current state, have with drawls if you are unable to do it and will do at the expense of other important things I say it is an addiction. If that word makes you uncomfortable then just think dedication or healthy habit from here on out.
In my opinion lifting weights is one of the absolute easiest things in the world to get addicted to. I have been pretty well hooked for right at 10 years now. People have always asked me how I stay so consistent and I always tell them at this point I’m so addicted to working out that not going is what would be hard. Theresa went from having never lifted a weight outside of her body pump class to now consistently lifting every week for the past 4 years or so. The thing that makes anything addictive is the “high”, dopamine, that you get from doing it. And, if you do it right your body is going to be pumped full of the stuff.
How To Get Addicted To Lifting
- Pick A Good Gym That Is Convenient – This will probably be the hardest part so you need to think this one through. Don’t just go for the first gym that pops up on your google search with posters of overly sweaty photoshopped fitness models. The main thing will be location. I think first thing in the morning is the absolute best time for your average nine to five worker. I have always said there are no excuses at 5:00 am to miss but a thousand things can happen during a day at work to derail you. So pick a gym that is ideally really close to your home or at least somewhere on the way to work. Now if you are super committed you could build yourself a badass home gym but that is a fairly big investment for someone who isn’t already lifting regularly.
- Follow a Basic Strength Training Plan – If you have never worked out or at least never consistently worked out with weights you need to pick just a super basic plan to follow for your first few months. After you have a few months to a year of basic training you can start experimenting. The best book on how to perform the lifts, what equipment you need and just basic gym knowledge is Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. However, the diet advice is terrible so do NOT follow any of his recommendations or you will get fat. I did. The program is okay for the first couple months put you will quickly want to change as just adding 5 pounds every day doesn’t work very long. The Greyskull Linear Progression program is much better for making long-term progress and not killing yourself.
- Keep a Log Book For Every Workout – One of the things that brings people great happiness and joy is making progress. Keeping that log book is a way to look back and see just how far you’ve come. You are going to be so proud of yourself the first time you hit some of those milestone lifts like one push up, one chin up, a 135lb squat or deadlift. It doesn’t matter that there are some people lifting triple what you are, what matters is that you have been showing up every day and busting your ass and have made some tremendous progress. Whenever you have a bad workout (which will happen) just go back and look at where you were three months ago and realize that even on my best day three months ago I couldn’t have even thought about doing what I did today. People that have failed to get addicted to weight training but went to the gym regularly likely failed because they weren’t making progress. Just doing the same circuit of machines or the same aerobics class every week isn’t going to give you results. You need a good basic strength program (step 2) and the willingness to push yourself.
- Take Some Before Pictures or Videos – This goes along the same lines as step 3 about tracking progress. You are going to be changing your body and putting on a lot of muscle in that first six months to a year. I know you probably hate the idea of getting in your bikini or shirtless for some HD photos of yourself but when you take those “after” pictures 3 months later you are going to amazed at the difference. Muscle is the key to changing the way you look. Diet and cardio can help you to lose weight but without some muscle mass you are just going to look like a smaller version of your old self. And ladies please listen, you will not get “bulky” or “manly” looking you will get hot. Any woman that you have ever seen and thought I would never want to get that big is probably on steroids. Also, it isn’t a runaway train. If you ever get to a point where you feel like you have enough muscle then just stay there and don’t keep adding weight and reps every week and I promise you won’t add muscle. However, I have never personally known any woman who didn’t get addicted to getting stronger and didn’t want to keep going.
- Experiment – After 6 months following your program that you picked in step 2 you have earned the right to experiment a bit. There are hundreds of great programs out there and while some are better than others if you find one you like then go for it. Be careful not to fall for the “get jacked in 4 weeks with my super blasting muscle pumping ultimate program for just 3 easy payments of $33.99”. Those type of infomercial type programs are almost always useless and are at least a huge waste of money. You can also transition into a specific category like powerlifting, strongman, CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, or bodybuilding. Go with whatever you like the most. No right or wrong choices here.
- Surround Yourself With Like Minded Individuals – There is a ton of amazing information out there for free and millions of people of all abilities who are working out and trying to improve themselves. Find those people to motivate you and share stories with. Strike up a quick conversation with someone you admire at the gym (just do it at the beginning or end of the workout). Start talking to that coworker who is always drinking protein shakes and eating chicken. Follow people on social media who you can relate to and be inspired by. Most people in this community are super friendly and love talking. Again, just not in between their sets.
Follow these steps and stay at it for 6 months to a year and you will soon find yourself addicted to the iron. I worked out off and on for a couple years but once I picked a program to follow to and started a log book it all changed for me. Once you get addicted to it you will make time for it instead of hoping to find time for it.
Now be warned that once you get hooked you will occasionally be drawn to your workout even though a rest day would probably be in order. I have worked out in a power outage with a headlamp on, I have gone to the gym despite being up all night curled up on the couch with a stomach bug, I consistently would go to the gym in college on crutches and have my friends bring dumbells to me, I have broken into a gym to workout that wasn’t open when it was supposed to be. Last year I missed one workout at that was while we were in the hospital while Brooke was being born. If I was ever found stranded on a deserted island and rescue boat came along they would find a bamboo squat rack beside my hut.
Are you addicted to lifting?
What got you hooked when starting out?