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How to Make Your Workout Routine as Addictive as Facebook

by Dejan Antic | Follow Dejan on Twitter

Facebook BuffHere’s a statistic for ya.

Every day, more than 728 million users login to Facebook. And on average, each login session lasts for about 20 minutes.

Now imagine if 728 million people spent 20 minutes every day, building a better body … the world would be a much healthier place.

But how come that Facebook is so addictive?

My guess is that Mark Zuckerberg is an evil genius, who’s hard at work, to make Facebook as addictive as possible. Top secret labs, mad scientists, cutting edge addiction research—they got the cash for it, so why not put it to good use.

But wouldn’t it be cool, if we could somehow use the same principles that make Facebook so addictive, in our own workout routines in order to achieve the same effect?

I’ve spent a ton of time lately, trying to figure out how to do just that. But now, I think, I might have finally cracked the code.

It’s time to show you, how to make your workout routine as addictive as Facebook.

Read on.

The Problem With Most Workout Routines

I’ve got a couple of friends, who every now and then, embark on a quest to build a better body.

Funny enough, they always seem to do that, when summer’s just around the corner or when they’re trying to get back into the dating game. But that’s cool and all, because as long as they’re working on themselves, all reasons are legit.

Anyway, before they hit the gym, they usually want me to go through their workout routines. You know, just to give them a few pointers here and there. Here’s how the conversation usually unfolds:

Friend: Check this, I found this X workout routine on the internet [goes into a long and exhausting description of his workout routine].

Me: [I give him a few pointers to make the routine more effective].

Friend: So, you think I’ll be able to gain muscle mass with this workout routine?

Me: Sure. I mean, if you’re going to stick to it, then you’re going to gain muscle mass for sure.

After our conversation is over, they’re so thrilled about lifting weights, that they can’t wait for their first workout. But unfortunately, their initial zest is very short-lived.

After following the routine for a couple of weeks, they grew tired of it and thus, decided to either A) try a new workout routine (routine hopping, which is a big no-no) or B) stop working out altogether.

Once the novelty of a workout routine wears off, people are fast to seek out new routines or even worse, they stop working out altogether. And by doing this, they never really get to milk a routine dry of its gains.

And to be honest, it’s not really their fault for not following through.

You see, the problem with most workout routines is that they’re too rigid. With every exercise, set and rep already planned in advance, there’s little to no room left for fun and experimentation—two crucial elements for long-term consistency.

With that being said, your workout routine needs to be designed in such a way, so that it helps you make the habit of working out a lasting thing.

But how can you do that?

Simple, just make your workouts addictive.

How to Make Your Workout Routine as Addictive as Facebook

Why are we so hooked to Facebook?

Is it because Facebook makes us feel more connected with others? Maybe it’s because it quenches our thirst for new information? Or could it be, that Facebook is the perfect forum for our egos?

While all of the reasons above might be true, they all have one thing in common, and that’s …

A dopamine moleculeDopamine.

Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It’s released within our brains during pleasurable activities, such as eating, sex, exercising, checking Facebook, and it motivates us to seek out more of those activities. Every notification alert, every like on your status update, triggers a gush of dopamine, which helps you reinforce the habit of checking your Facebook.

And just like Facebook, physical exercise can also make your body release a gush of dopamine and endorphins. These neurotransmitters will decrease pain and increase euphoric feelings, which in turn, will create a positive feedback loop associated with exercise. This will help you instil the habit of working out consistently, guaranteed.

So you want to get as much neurotransmitters released during your workouts as possible. And what better way to do that, than to emulate Facebook.

There are five key principles that will allow you to make your workout routine as addictive as possible. Here they are, in order of importance.

1. Must deliver results

For a workout routine to be sustainable over the long-term, it needs to have room for fun and experimentation, yet at the same time, it needs to focus on building a solid foundation. The solid foundation is the bread and butter of your workout routine, which will drive most of your physical development. It primarily consists of multi-joint exercises, which require movement in two or more joints to complete the lift

Examples of compound exercises that give you the most bang for your buck:

  • deadlift
  • squat
  • kettlebell swings
  • chin-up
  • dips

2. Must be fun to do

In order to keep your workout routine interesting, you need to spice things up from time to time. This is where your creative side gets to shine as you get to try activities you always wanted to do, but never got time or the courage to do them. Stuff like:

  • hiking
  • jogging
  • parkour
  • martial arts
  • fitness challenges

The purpose for such activities is twofold. On one hand, you keep things interesting by doing new stuff, while on the other hand, you help speed up the recovery process. By being active, you’re supplying your muscles with fresh blood that’s full of nutrients and oxygen—two things crucial for a faster recovery.

3. Must be easy to get started

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Building new habits from scratch can be quite tricky, since not all habits are created equal. While simple healthy habits can take up to five measly days to reach automaticity, which is just a fancy word for saying doing something without consciously thinking about it, more complex habits, like working out, can even take up to 200+ days to reach automaticity.

Start with a really simple workout routine and as time goes by, add more stuff to it. This will allow you to avoid overwhelm and take action. Taking action builds momentum, which helps you cut the adoption curve of a habit drastically.

So my recommendation … start in phases.

Phase 1 (duration: 2 weeks)

Example: Jump rope and/or light bodyweight exercises done every day. All about building momentum.

Phase 2 (duration: 3 months)

Example: Join a gym, start practicing multi-joint lifts. Go to the gym three to four times per week, but still be active every day on your non-gym days.

Phase 3 (duration: indefinite)

Example: Hardcore base workouts and being active every day.

4. Must be social

Who says that working out should be done in solitude?

The day I started working out with a training partner, is the day my progress and motivation to exercise went through the roof.

A motivated training partner won’t allow you to skip workouts and at the same time, he/she will help you push yourself to the limit.

So, where to get a training partner?

Ask someone from your peer group, if they’d like to start working out with you. Most people are dabbling with the decision to work out for years so they just need the right person to help them pull the trigger.

If you lack the friends who are willing to start working out with you, than use Facebook to your advantage. Just post a status update and ask people if someone would be willing to go on a journey of physical transformation with you.

And even if Facebook fails you, no need to worry. Go to the gym for long enough and I’m sure, you’ll be able to find yourself a training partner.

5. Must respect your wants

Your workout routine should focus on building a solid foundation, but at the same time, it should also respect your wants.

I wasted years thinking that squats will make my arms big. That’s why I never did any kind of direct arm work. By following the advice of the so-called experts, my arms didn’t grow by a measly inch in all of those years. It’s only after I’ve finally started doing direct arm work, which is what I really wanted, that my arms started to grow.

So, I give you permission to:

  • Work on your chest, if you want to do so.
  • Work on building sleeve ripping arms, if you want to do so.
  • Work on building your quads, if you want to do so.

But make no mistake, building a solid foundation of strength, should still be your number one focus.

Here’s what to do next …

I know that your head might be probably full of information right now, so in order to make this article as actionable as possible, I want to give you the main takeaway, so here it is …

Start building momentum today. Any action is better than no action, so I’d encourage you to get out of your chair, right now, and do as many air squats as possible. Perform a set of air squats—or any other bodyweight exercise you like—every single day, for the next two weeks, and watch your momentum grow.

And here are two more things you can do:

  • Leave a comment below and let us know if you have another cool idea that will help people make their workouts more addictive.
  • Once you build enough momentum and you feel ready to take your training to the next level, make sure to check out my premium course called The Ultimate Muscle Building Blueprint. Everything you need to know to go from flabby to sexy in record time.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Oskar @ SkinnyFatTransformation.com

“I wasted years thinking that squats will make my arms big. That’s why I never did any kind of direct arm work. By following the advice of the so-called experts, my arms didn’t grow by a measly inch in all of those years. It’s only after I’ve finally started doing direct arm work, which is what I really wanted, that my arms started to grow.”

Exactly, I’ve been in the same position. Did heavy compound for 3 years and my arms barely changed in size. Then, I started doing close grip chin ups, and isolation exercises and my arms grew more in a few months than they did in the previous 3 years.

Also, good point on doing enjoyable activities on the side. I will get my training done no matter what, but it’s so much more fun when I mix it up with other activities. Currently, I’m doing 3 days of yoga every week in addition to my regular training.

Keep up the good work Dejan, looking forward to more articles!

– Oskar

Reply

Dejan

Thanks for commenting Oskar!

I was also thinking about starting yoga, since I need to bring my stress levels down and to aid the recovery process. How’s youga working out for you mate?

Man, my arms grew more in the past few months of doing daily training (some days I trained even two times per day) than in the past few YEARS of doing just heavy compounds. Glad to hear I’m not the only one to experience good gains from “overtraining”. :)

Reply

Ludvig Sunström

Interesting points and I really like the Facebook comparison. Great example!

Also like how you incorporated dopamine into it!

I think one of the reasons why I’ve never struggled with consistency in terms of hitting the gym, is because I got myself properly addicted to it. I started out meditating/listening to good music (usually trance), and drinking strong pre-workout shakes. It’s impossible not to feel awesome when you do that and then hit the gym.

Of course, those preworkout shakes aren’t the least healthy. And they often contain powerful drugs and chemicals. And I had to pay the price for that later by ruining my stomach. But heck, it was worth it because it helped build very strong positive mental association to working out in my brain.

I think I’ve written about it before, but it’s a great universal principle that applies to anything you’d want to learn. Not just working out.

Reply

Dejan

Thank you Ludvig! :)

I agree with you on this one (I should have mentioned this in the article). By having a pre-workout ritual, you’ll greatly increase your chances of developing a solid habit of working out. I also get the biggest motivation boost, by listening to motivational music and daydreaming that I’m a Super Saiyan (haha, I’m a nerd I know). The music that gets me fired up is something in the lines of Crazy Horse by Black Label Society.

Pre-workout shakes are just a pile of marketing hogwash imo. The best pre-workout supplement is caffeine, it costs you almost nothing and it actually works.

And I really admire your attitude towards learning and life in general… always try to make the most out of every situation, either good or bad.

Reply

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