Martial arts, Gateway to LIFTING – How can I make strength training more enjoyable

bolo yeung muscular

Q: I would like to engage more strength training, but it’s very difficult. I do not enjoy any kind of physical activity, whether it be walking, jogging, sports, cardio, cleaning, dancing, just none of it.

I have tried just going through the pain and motions before, but I just end up very sore and at least 8 wasted weeks with no results. I have tried weights, resistance bands, body weight, nothing but bad experiences there. I’ve tried lifting weights while watching television, it doesn’t distract me well enough to be effective.

Trouble is I just do not enjoy it, but if I don’t do any kind of weight lifting I’ll find myself so weak I’d be unable to square off against a chicken. I’m trying not to be a quitter or impatient, yet I’m not sure how to be successful.

***EDIT*** I probably should have mentioned I don’t have any buddies. Yes, sad.

This person is specifically asking about strength training, so I will discuss this assuming that he meant “weight training”.

I have to admit, I am not really sure how to answer this question. Why? Because he admits that he REALLY, TRULLY needs to train, but he is being bothered by lack of FUN?

But worry not, because I will not give you any crap today like:

“Just play some music” or “just bring a friend with you”, etc.

I am going to cut the chase here and say “DON’T TRAIN”

Seriously don’t! Give yourself a favour and just don’t train, but also don’t reap the benefits.

Why? Because if fun is the priority I wouldn’t be training

Do you think the greatest strength athletes trained because they think its fun? Hell NO!

But these people somehow derive pleasure from training in itself regardless.

In the end, the question you should be asking to yourself is NOT how can you make strength training fun but this one instead:

Which is MORE fun?

Strength Training…


Being UNABLE to square off against a chicken?

Because you see, I started training my body because I just got tired of being weak and being picked on. I used to be a GEEK who would always get bullied in school. But when I started training (martial arts to be exact), I transformed myself and no one wants to be in trouble with me anymore.

Has that training been enjoyable? For me it was – but getting my ass kicked on a day to day basis was part of that fun; and since I didn’t join into any Mac-Dojo, I was in it for the real deal which means you will really get beat up. Would that be fun for someone else? Maybe yes, maybe no.

From there training has basically been a part of my life. You see, martial arts kinda have that effect of turning you into training machine; has it turned me into a masochist? I don’t know for sure, but since then I have learned to train to push my body to the limits.

Fast forward today from when I used to be bullied, now whenever I say that I fear walking the streets at night because I might get mugged, people laugh – they say I look even more dangerous than any thug – although I really don’t like walking around in some dark alleys in fear of my safety, people still think it doesn’t make sense that I do OFF COURSE I do take that as a compliment!

“You Look even more dangerous than any thug”

– people around me (to me)

Training my body literally changed the way I look and the way that other people see me. It made my life safer and it has stopped would be aggressors or muggers from taking me as a target (off course they would be wise to choose an easy-looking victim).

Here’s a photo of me – JUST KIDDING! That’s Bolo Yeung:

bolo yeung muscular


Now I don’t actively practice in our dojo anymore but these days I love lifting weights more than anything else. Why I chose lifting is not because it’s “fun” but because it delivers results that I desire – if done correctly.

Let me introduce this guy, our Master, Ramon Abejero – haven’t seen the guy in a decade. All the other jins are already competing internationally by now:

Now if I were to choose which is more enjoyable: getting beat up because I look weak and easy to beat, or training my body with seemingly repetitive sets of moves which are sure to cause pain the next morning? (don’t get me wrong! I always fight back, but off course fighting back is not enough if you cannot even knock out someone because you’re so weak)

I don’t know about you but it ain’t fun getting beat up! Nor is inviting a lot of fights for that matter – looking weak will invite more fights into your life than if you look tough; so even if you CAN beat all those bad guys who come to you, it will still suck compared to just scaring even half of these people away by looking intimidating.

  1. It ain’t fun that people want to take advantage of you because you look weak!

  2. And it ain’t fun to become so weak that even a chicken could beat you!

Those are the things that you should consider instead of thinking about “is my training FUN enough?”.

Okay, now before I wrap up this post, I WILL leave you with a very important suggestion that is in my most humble opinion, the ONLY thing that can help you know.

And then again this will NOT be your generic advice like “Play some music”, “bring a training partner with you” etc – yes those things will help you, ONLY if you already like strength training IN THE FIRST PLACE!

So for you, here’s the only suggestion that I think can at least make you start “liking” to train:

Take up Martial arts 

For me this is the best solution. Before taking up strength training (or lifting weights in general) I really don’t know if I would even be bothered to lift a single dumbbell off the floor. Maybe I would be just like you whose having problems committing to any type of physical activity just because it’s not “enjoyable”.

You see, if you simply cannot do something for the reason that it’s not fun for you – then that means that doing it
“it’s just not you”

  • You are simply NOT that person who trains
  • You are simply not yet that type who would give it his all in the weight room and derive pleasure from it.
  • At least not “yet”

It is my belief and experience that one cannot be persuaded to do things that are simply not natural to them. He could but it will be very difficult for him to commit

It’s going to be the same like if I would “try” to “enjoy” doing Zumba workouts, or if you want to make me train in a high end health “club” or “spa” socializing with all those soccer mommy socialites! YUCK

Why? Because doing all of those things is simply not “me”. It’s not that there’s something innately wrong with joining a high-end gym or dong some dance sessions; I simply cannot do any of those with a straight face unless it’s meant as a joke.

I will not derive any sort of PLEASURE or fun, whatsoever from doing any of those, simply because it’s just NOT ME!

So you see, it’s very simple and straightforward; no rocket science or anything – if you cannot do something, it’s just not “You”

So what you need to do now is to form the new “you”; the new you who will enjoy strength training, the new you who will not mind busting his ass in the weight room, and the new you who will finally derive pleasure from training his body in whatever shape or form.

That is why we chose martial arts as it will be your perfect GATEWAY to hard-core training because martial arts will address your immediate concern of forming your core discipline. Martial arts will serve as a means to your desired end of being able to square off with a chicken – after taking up martial arts you will have the confidence of defending yourself with honour even from a thousand-pound bull!

Martial arts will not only help you become that person that we talked about above but in the process, it will actually solve your concerns already – it will make you strong in mind and body and in spirit. You will gain the necessary discipline and will make you live the life of a warrior – IF you take it by heart.

Now seriously, do you think anyone would pick on someone like Daiju Takase? Plus obviously he lifts weights!

daiju takase lifts


You will also learn how to defend yourself like what we said “with honour”. That means you will become stronger but at the same time you will most likely get into less real fights simply because you will get to live that code of honor that martial arts is known to teach men, especially to the ones who started early and young.

People will actually think twice before picking on you simply because you radiate that aura of self-respect and you carry yourself with dignity. Now how’s that for being able to square off against a chicken?

Anyways, I don’t think you will have any trouble committing yourself to martial arts training since it is done with meeting your specific goals in mind and off course training in martial arts is hardcore and holistic it is not like lifting wherein you will work on sets and reps. I actually feel that martial arts practice is very enjoyable on its own right.

Furthermore martial arts is not simply a “sport” or a “workout” it’s a “way of living”. You won’t simply attend sessions for the “burn” or to break a sweat; you participate in the classes because you are living the “life” and you are actively changing the way you are; the way you exist. For that reason martial arts should be doable and enjoyable to anyone – especially to those who have a reason to do it.

Now what type of martial arts do I recommend? Anything will be good! As long as you don’t attend any lame Mac-Dojos! IF you do, sorry but you will not foster anything that we talked about above. How will you identify a Mac-Dojo? Read this to find out.

Later on your Spartan-life will demand you to take up some form of strength training and conditioning; as of that point your actions would have a concrete purpose thus you will get to attain both your combat and strength goals.

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.

You might end up doing strength training exclusively for the sake of your art and condition your body in accordance to your needs in combat or competition. You could also jump to purely lifting weights altogether after your experience taught you how to enjoy conditioning. Whichever the case will be, I am sure you will have changed your life and yourself for the best. At that point I hope you will stop by and say hi. Until then, eat your DAMN EGGS, people!

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