I was recently talking with a client about this after she listened to a podcast about exercise and the interviewer was talking to the director of a very reputable fitness facility.
The client asks me: "Do you know one of the most important things for long-term adherence to exercise?"
Client: "Yeah! (she then goes on to explain the details of what was discussed on the podcast)
Fun is rarely discussed, but it should be.
I've known this for quite some time, but didn't have a full appreciation for it until a few years back when a client was struggling with making it to the gym.
Now, this client is Supermom to me. She has a full-time job, a business with her husband, and at the time all 3 of her kids were 6 years old and under. I had no idea how she managed to do it all.
I could tell she was a bit apprehensive about telling me why she was having a hard time getting in, but then she just spilled the beans and let it out.
"Mike, I hate my program. It's boring. It's not fun."
I always have a scientific rationale for each program and even scientific reason for implementation for exercises/lifts and why I program what I do, but "fun" had never been a part of the equation. It was just a pleasant add-on if a client really enjoyed their program.
So I pushed my ego aside and asked, "okay, what would make your programs more fun?"
That lead to a deeper discussion and better understanding of what would help with adherence with coming into the gym. Now my job was to blend "fun" with rationale behind the program. Luckily for both of us, I was able to do both and the client did a great job with getting into the gym 2-3x per week after that for years to come (until the pandemic hit).
I'm mindful of "fun" whenever I program to this day and that varies for the client. I have to be able to blend both fun and beneficial with minimal risk. Some clients I don't have to as mindful of "fun" or "fun" might look different to them than the next person.
"Fun" may not bring you the best results in the short-term, but if it leads to long-term adherence then we just created a new behavior. The desired results, although they will likely take longer to achieve, will happen and be accompanied by a lifetime of health benefits along with a healthy lifestyle.