Should we Train for Progress? Or For Fun? – Group Post

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This week’s question: Should we Train for Progress? Or For Fun?


When I first started climbing I was a huge grade chaser. If a route wasn’t graded yet, I wouldn’t even want to climb it! The problem with chasing progress is it will inevitably slow down or even stop. If all you care about is progress, you’ll eventually be forced to quit when your love disappears. This is why it’s uber important to have a love for the activity in its simplicity. Today I would say that I mainly climb for fun. Seeing progress is merely a by-product of my love for the sport!

I would tell the reader to ask yourself this question: Why Do I Climb?

If the main reason is “to see progress” or “to get attention” I would like to challenge you to contemplate mentally changing that reason. Focus on enjoying yourself more. You might be missing out on a lot of fun! Once you let go of those insecurities, you might find that you see even MORE progress! A love for the sport can fuel you to train harder than a fear of failure ever can.

That’s something I’m personally learning every day!


I think it’s important to raise the question of why we do the things we do.  Falling into patterns that cause us to do things just because that’s how we do things can lead to a vicious cycle that prevents us from getting farther than we otherwise would.  Although I love climbing, and hiking, and enjoying the outdoors, the question of “why?” is an important one.  So when Casen suggested that we think about why we climb I felt compelled to take this question seriously!

There was a catch though…the question is dichotomized!  Do we climb for fun, or to see progress!  My primary stance is that gains and fun are both symptoms of climbing…positive healthy symptoms, but symptoms none-the-less.  They are also symbiotic.  Climbing is fun, which causes me to do it more, and the more I do it, the more gains I make, the more gains I make, the more there is to climb, and the more there is to climb, the more fun I have.  Can climbing gains and climbing fun be separated?  At least theoretically they can.  Suppose the question was “if you could never make any gains while climbing, would it still be fun?”  I think it would be!  The connections we make with others, the connections we make with nature are all part of the equation as well, and so certainly with zero (climbing) gains, climbing would still be fun!  If we flip the question around again to ask “if you could never have any fun, but you work hard and make great gains would you do it?”  I suppose this is possible…most definitely not something I would sign up for though.  As far as climbing goes, all the gains in the world would be pointless if I weren’t able to have fun (clearly this point is limited to certain aspects of life, if somehow I could make great gains in curing a disease, but would be limited in the amount of fun I would have, then I would still be motivated to do it).

So, although I don’t climb primarily to have fun if that symptom were miraculously “cured” I’d like to think I’d hang up my rope for good!

(You can find my primary reasons for climbing HERE)


This week Casen asked us a pretty good question about climbing. Is climbing more progress driven or do we happen to just find joy in climbing. And for me a climber with years under my belt I started off climbing because it was something fun to do with my dad as well as in the Scouts.

But as I got older I realized there was way more to climbing than I thought. Bouldering being one of them, and so as I progress into the community I find myself pushing myself even at sometimes when it is not fun for me.

After having seizures and not being able to climb for close to a year I would say I now climb to improve my skills and make sure I never fall off the wagon again.


I climb because it helps me to disconnect. I would like to say that I also do it to track
some form of progress, but because my periods of climbing are intermittent, every time I get back at it feels like starting all over again. Therefore, I have opted to focus merely on the fun/therapeutical aspect of it.

I have to admit that going back and forth with my progress frustrated me and made me feel worthless. Whenever I stepped inside of the gym I unconsciously started to compare myself to others and it was becoming a toxic thing to do.

Everyone excels in many different ways and that is the beauty of the discipline (and many others!). I focus on having fun and sharing the passion, I feed off of others’ energy and love for the sport.

Let us know; why do you climb? Do you think it’s important to have a deep love for the sport? Or can you get by with the habitual pursuit of progress? A combination of both?

Thanks for reading!




11 Replies to “Should we Train for Progress? Or For Fun? – Group Post”

  1. I don’t climb, but…my first reaction is my answer to a question posed to me: “Why do you ride?” My answer: “Reasons? I don’t got no reasons. I don’t need no reasons. I don’t got to show you no stinking reasons!” (From The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for those who don’t recall – the response was to “Show us your badges.”)
    To put it another way: is the question “why?” as in, “what is the justification for this action?” Or is it, “for what purpose?” Two totally different questions.
    To put it another way: you asked why we climb, but also why we train – two totally different questions. I use the word train to mean “work to gain mastery”. Whether that means mastering a technique (gaining ability) or mastering myself (acting from a place of integrity and from the source of an ability or technique), the act of training is purpose-driven.
    I train for different reasons from why I ride. Right now, I am training to be able to ride my bike across the country, I follow a plan in order to do that. On the other hand, I am not riding across the country in order to get to Boston. Boston just happens to be at the end of the road, and I don’t know how to ride across an ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the best reason (only reason?) to do anything is for fun. Ironically, when I moved here from CA, I consulted the Bible. This is important because I’m not a religious person (in that sense). But I had the question a lot of retirees have which is, “What’s the point?” so I stuck my thumb in the Bible and it said on that spot that the purpose of life is enjoyment and to serve God. I thought, “Wow. I don’t know any relgions that lead with THAT idea.”

    But it definitely answered my question. I think what we do for love and as a result of external motivation has the most integrity. When I climbed (bouldering only) it was truly for the pleasure of my hands on the rock and the view (sometimes nothing special) from the top.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It is a geometry term where two planes come together at an angle. In rock climbing it means two rock faces meet at an angle, usually somewhere near a right angle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t climb but I hike long distances, because I love moving my body in the wilderness for days on end. To be able to do that at my age, I have to train. Training is part of feeling good about my body and letting myself have experiences I can’t have if I don’t train for it. Like someone else commented the two questions are not separate they are intertwined.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. I want to get more into climbing. I love all types of fitness and constantly challenge myself. Switching it up is key. Climbing is a great workout. I started working out to get healthier overall but now it’s about pushing my body to the limit. Being able to do things like leap and climb and be really strong is a throw back to how humans lived for most of history. Being sedentary is such a bore! Climbing is exciting and a challenge and those are reasons I like it and want to do more of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Benefits to beyond the muscles. Other benefits such as building traits like determination and discipline are great. So, training for progress with a fun approach is best. 💪☺

    Liked by 1 person

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