Sunday, February 23, 2014


I have witnessed a confusing trend in the world of lifting these days, one in which trainees speak of how much they love to train.  I hear of how people love to squat, or love to deadlift, or love to clean, and in general, just love to train.

I don't understand this.

Would you care to explain it?

Training should not be loved, it should be despised.  It should be offensive to us to train.  In general, we should hate to train.

Why?  Because love will cloud the mind, while hate will focus it.  When we are in love, we are forgiving, when we hate, we are merciless.  We freely and willfully associate with those that we love, while we distance ourselves from those we hate.

Allow me to expand the metaphor here.  We must keep in mind at all times that training is a means to an end, not the end itself.  However, those who have decided to love the means are in turn no longer pursuing the end, but pursuing the means purely for the sake of pursuing the means.  We must love results, not training, and we must hate training, not results.

Those that love their training are those that are willing to engage in non-beneficial training purely for the sake of being able to train.  They will continue to follow non-successful strategies due to the oath of love they have sworn to their training, for they are full of forgiveness and empathy.  Those that hate their training will only engage in the bare minimal amount of training necessary in order to accomplish their goals, because like a truly dedicated person, one is willing to endure what they hate in order to acquire what they love.

No one loves taking medicine, everyone loves feeling better.  No one is drinking cough syrup for the flavor, but for the benefit of being able to stop coughing.  Your training and goals should mirror the same relationship.

"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" probably killed a lot of diabetics

On the subject of relationships, to continue to expand the metaphor, when we love someone, we tend to see past their flaws and accept them for who/what they are.  When we hate someone, their flaws are magnified, and the only features we focus on.  Your training needs the same critical eye of the latter, where you view it as purely a flawed object.  With this view, you are no longer married to pet movements, such that you do not NEED to squat, or deadlift.  You are using your training only as a means to achieve your goal, and movements only have value as a means to accomplish this end.  Anything not helping your meet your goal is of no value, and will be cast aside.

This isn't romance, this is a toxic relationship that you know you shouldn't be in but you keep coming back to it because you're addicted to the outcome.  

Just when I think I'm out...

We don't love training, we love results, and we endure training.


  1. Man, this is the first time I've disagreed with one of your articles. On a very macho level this resonates with me, the same way I'm titillated when the little psychos in a Warhammer strategy game roar "HATE IS OUR FUEL" as I command them to kill something, but realistically, I love the physical process of training knowing I'm trying to attain an ultimate goal that I love even more. I love both, and still try to be as critical as possible.

  2. By the way, this is all still a very helpful idea when going through hard times in life and I don't feel like training or eating. I DEFINITELY think of it this way in such periods, so maybe it's about how literal one takes it.

    1. It absolutely is about being literal with this. This is another one of my articles arguing about the need of precise language. In the above, you mention that you love the physical process KNOWING you are trying to obtain the ultimate goal, which is why I would say that is a love of meeting a goal, exactly what I am advocating. Had it been the case that you loved the process regardless of knowing that you were meeting your goal, that would oppose what I am speaking to.

      This piece is definitely going to rub some folks the wrong way, but I think upon deeper reflection, most folks are going to agree with the message.

  3. I see what you're saying. No, if getting stronger wasn't a thing then I probably wouldn't want to squat up and down with no point to it. I'm not sure you can divorce the result of something from it and then conclude that therefore we hate it - e.g. I don't hate good food just because it's the taste I'm really all about that the food merely results in.

    1. You are exactly right about our inability to divorce/dissect pretty much anything in life without context. This is purely academic, similar to what Descartes attempted in proving his own existence, or Hume did when attempting to determine free will. However, I find the framing in this manner valuable, simply because it provides a vector for thinking.

      I used to think that I HAD to squat and deadlift in a program, and that is because I lost sight of the fact that my goal was to get stronger. Yes, my assumption was that doing those things WOULD get me stronger, but I needed to focus more on the fact that I needed to do whatever was necessary to get bigger and stronger, rather than always do the things that I thought would work.