submitted 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) by [email protected] to c/adhd

Hey guys, I'm looking for a sport to do because I'm super skinny and I'd like to gain at least a bit of muscle. I've done cycling and bouldering in the past, but neither made me any less skinny.
The problem with sports is it's very hard to do any sort of exercise with ADHD because beyond giving you no stimulation, it gives you negative stimulation, like when doing the plank. What's more, it usually requires a ton of logistic prep/going somewhere, which itself is boring and becomes a barrier.
One thing I can see motivating me is doing it with other people (I enjoy chilling with people and having banter), but for that I might as well go to a pub/society where there's no pesky ball I have to kick around. Team sports like football never really appealed to me for some reason anyway.
Has anyone had success making sports fun?

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[-] [email protected] 27 points 2 months ago

Bouldering is good for building muscle, so I think your problem is you need to eat more. You can work out all day, but you'll stay skinny if you don't eat.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

What kind of things should I be eating? I think I eat a lot of carbs (bread, rice, lentils, bulgur, porridge, etc), does it have to be a lot of meat?

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

You don't have to eat meat, but you need to get enough protein, at least .7 g per lb of body weight but preferably around 1g. More than 1.5g is overkill. It helps to divide your protein goals by the number of meals you have and try to hit a per meal goal. There's no need to count calories or weigh your food or anything if that scares you, but it is good to look at serving sizes and protein content to get a rough idea.

You can try eating more beans and tofu. Bean pasta is a good hack. Seitan is really simple to make, especially if you've got a stand mixer and instant pot. You may want to consider getting some protein powder if you're struggling to get enough through food. You can add avocado and cocoa or nut butter and banana to protein shakes for some extra calories.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

Ahh I see, yeah I might try some protein powder. I've been struggling to gain muscle as a vegan. I eat a ton of beans and tofu but even so they only have like 10-20g of protein per 100g (nuts are also in the 10s), which means I'd need to eat like 500g of them to get what I need. But if the protein powder doesnt help it really must be due to insufficient muscle load I guess?

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

Well you also need to be eating at a calorie surplus of a few hundred extra calories per day, but that will ideally happen naturally if you focus on adding more protein to your existing diet. If you're going the protein powder route, you'll probably want to have it as an extra meal rather than a meal substitute. If you still struggle, you may need to track your calories to help you adapt.

YouTube can be a good source for some high protein vegan meal ideas. If you can do soy, TVP is a good option. If you can do gluten, chickmeat/seitan is good.

[-] [email protected] 14 points 2 months ago

I've tried many things, one thing that worked for me being calisthenics - following the programs on r/bodyweightfitness on Spez's Lemmy.

The reason it worked for me is because working from home, there were zero logistics, I could finish working (from my bedroom), and take my t-shirt and jeans off and start working out in literally 30 seconds. The programs also had enough variety in terms of different exercises to keep me entertained.

Now I work out with my partner (who is also on the spectrum, to make things more complicated). What has been working for us is doing some activities we like; on Mondays he has flamenco class so I go swimming, which I love - him going to his class is a good enough cue to kick my brain into "let's do things" mode. Then we added Yoga on Wednesdays (the hard, "sweaty" type with lots of bodyweight type exercises to keep myself motivated). We both like it, and we take turns choosing a video to follow, so there's incentive and novelty to do things. Once that's fully embedded in a routine, we'll add something else, let's say gym on Thursdays. My strategy is to go for the maximum variety we can so I don't get bored, and add things gradually so it becomes a de facto part of my routine and my brain doesn't get to question the fact that Mondays are swimming pool day.

It's been working well for a couple of months, and I suspect it will work well until there's a major life change that derails all of this, but then I'm hoping I can re-plan the strategy.

Also to add about the specifics of swimming for ADHD: it might sound boring but no matter your level, if you push yourself hard you can leave yourself absolutely knackered in 40 minutes. I can get in a really good workout by the time boredom kicks in. Plus I count the laps I'm doing, I try to keep a mental count of what the percentage of my goal for the day that is... And that keeps my mind busy enough that I can't think about other things that maybe would sound more exciting.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

I second the /r/bodyweightfitness recommended routine (for muscle mass). You can do it with minimal equipment home alone, which is minimal activation energy, and you can watch or listen to something at the same time, which gives you a reward while doing the unrewarding activity.

For me, it works perfectly.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

This is great advice, it's pretty much the same approach I've had to do.

Anything involving leaving the house is basically impossible for me due to required activation energy and associated anxiety. Investing in a good treadmill was one of the best decisions I ever made. Got one with a shelf built in for a phone/tablet so I can watch videos while I run. I know that type of exercise is not what was asked for, but the same principle applies to body weight exercises or free-weight training you can do if you buy a set of weights:

  • Make it something you can do from home to minimise startup friction
  • Set up a way to stimulate yourself while working out
  • Make the exercise program varied and bite-sized so you just have to focus on finishing the current exercise instead of starting to think about how long time is remaining on the program (which is why I run intervals on the treadmill).
[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

The tablet shelf on your treadmill is a genius idea! Yeah that's exactly the sort of simulation that I can see helping me exercise

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 weeks ago

Thanks for this advice, I will check out /r/bodyweightfitness. I used to go swimming for an hour a week for 5 years in a row when I was younger, although I still stayed skinny (except for the muscles in my back). It makes me think the problem must be more with my calorie intake than with my exercise...

[-] [email protected] 13 points 2 months ago

Do a strong lifts 5x5 program.

Focus on your body through the entire repetition and make the next one better.

The numbers going up on your lift value will be the game until your body starts showing you the score also.

I say this as a on the spectrum adhd man

[-] [email protected] 12 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

How do you overcome the gratification hurdle of stopping scrolling to go and focus on your muscles hurting?

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

The StrongLifts 5x5 app I use has a timer between sets, I do my set then sit and scroll and then it dings at me to do the next.

Lather rinse repeat until I’m done, it takes no time at all and I still get plenty of scrolling in lol

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago

Ahh that sounds like a good idea

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Treat the rest as a dedicated, specifically-timed "thing to do" instead of just "time I need to kill until I pick this weight up again."

Timers are helpful, as people mentioned, but stretching, evaluating how that last set went/ how next set needs to go, changing weights, and walking around to catch your breath are great ways to stay mostly on track.

And if you check Twitter after switching songs or something? That's fine. Working out slowly > not working out, so unless you're annoying other gymgoers with 20-min squat-rack scroll sessions , I wouldn't sweat a mental lapse.

EDIT: Ope, I think I misread your comment to mean "between sets" and not just "going to the gym," my b.

It HAS to be a habit. Go to the gym because it's novel and you want to try it out, then try your damnedest to make it a routine. Make it feel weird to not work out. If you fall off the wagon, try again.

If neurotypicals fail to be consistent (see every New Year's resolution), you can give yourself enough grace to stumble, too.

[-] TempermentalAnomaly 3 points 2 months ago

Don't bring your phone for the first few weeks. There's something physiologically gratifying about lifting heavy.

And your muscles don't really "hurt" during or immediately after completing a set. They are stressed, but you should recover after a few minutes to do your working sets. Eventually, you'll be out of gas and your muscles won't be able to coordinate a lift, but you're sort of going for that. And then a day or two later, if you lifted to too much, you have some muscle soreness. That always sucked for me.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Set a timer? Whether you ignore it or not is another issue, but I was more likely to stick to rest times with a timer than without

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

Strong lifts. The built in timer is great. Just don't look at anything else on your phone. I put on Audible and just lift.

[-] Acamon 2 points 2 months ago

Yeah, furthest I ever fit with a fitness program is 5x5. It's such a small amount of individual activities, they're always challenging because of the increasing weights, and it feels like there's a really clear goal that you're moving towards (not just 'go to they gym until your fit').

Focusing on getting the movement right kept me fully occupied during the actual rep and there's only a few different exercises each day so it didn't take too long. For getting started, I would just do a intense bounce / dance around the room to warm myself up (I had weights at home so I didn't need to worry about getting the gym or other people seeing me). With warm and focused reps and a bit of a cool down, I could generally do the whole thing in under 45 minutes, so even if I had spent the day lazing around I could often trick myself into "shit, it's almost six and I need to meet the guys in an hour, I guess I'll just quickly rush through my reps" (and then I would be late of course, but that's normal). A workout buddy would be the other ideal for accountability / motivation.

[-] phoneymouse 1 points 2 months ago

I support the idea of weight lifting, but think 5x5 is too much actually. I prefer the Starting Strength program. 3x5 is enough to show results without overtraining. I found 5x5 to be really time consuming, which becomes a drag on motivation to keep working out. Also, you can overtrain and injure yourself.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 2 months ago

Have you tried action sports like paintball or airsoft? They're tons of fun, get the adrenaline and dopamine flowing, and provide both cardio and a solid core workout.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

Also look into fencing or the SCA. Doing armored combat in the SCA is something like HIIT, did wonders for muscle building for me without ever lifting weights.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

That's true, they sure sound fun. I guess they dont give you much muscle though, right?

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

My personal fitness results would disagree, but your mileage may vary. In a day at the airsoft field I spend about 6 hours running with a few kilos of gear and whipping around a yard/meter of gun weighing 6~8 kilos, maybe 15-20 lbs. Just shouldering a gun for a half hour takes a lot more muscle and stamina than one might expect, and aiming around uses a lot of abdominal, back, and oblique muscle. Meanwhile your legs get a colossal workout running between rooms, squatting up and down to dodge, take positions, fire out of windows, etc.

I've been playing regularly, a few times a month, for about 2 years now and while I've definitely gotten in much better shape because of it, at the end of a particularly intense day I still get jelly legs and full body muscle fatigue.

If you're interested most fields offer gear rentals so you can try it out and see how it works for you without having to make a big investment in your own stuff.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

Hey that doesn't sound bad! I've actually been wanting to try Airsoft too!

[-] [email protected] 7 points 2 months ago

I've actually found weightlifting to be surprisingly satisfying. I really enjoy it because I get to compete against myself, and tracking the weights & reps gives me a very clear sense of progress. Weightlifting (and some low intensity cardio options) also allows me to do plenty of scrolling during my workout if I want to. The trick for me has been to find something that I can make a routine, and whenever I lose my routine, I work to build it incrementally. I'm actually really struggling right now because my gym made some changes that led me to cancel my membership, but having a physical location to go to seems to be a key factor for me.

Anyway, when I've needed to rebuild my routine in the past, step 1 was walking to the gym, but not going inside, and just walking back home. Since that entire process took about 30 minutes, it wasn't too difficult to squeeze in if I overslept. Step 2 meant I had to actually enter the gym and do something. Usually it was just walking on a treadmill for up to 30 minutes, depending on how much time I had available. From there, I'd start adding some time in the weight room and increasing the intensity of my cardio time (running or stairs), and eventually I'd work myself up to an hour of weights plus 30 minutes of running.

Since I've cancelled my gym membership, I'm really struggling to stick to a routine. Going to a certain location at the same time every day seems to be important in keeping me focused. One thing I did find that I'm hoping will motivate me is a running meetup. They have routes of varying difficulties, and often grab a beer together after, so I'm currently trying to build enough stamina to feel confident participating in their easiest runs, and hoping I'll eventually feel confident in their more challenging runs too. If running isn't your thing, I'm sure there's other groups for activities that you would enjoy.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

I would like to introduce you to the game of chess on ice: curling.
The sport that everybody watches for a week during the winter Olympics, perhaps not realizing that it is extremely accessible and easy to get in to depending on where you live and your proximity to the nearest club.

Games are played with two teams of 4, with each player delivering 2 rocks per end (inning/frame) for a total of 16 rocks. While one player is delivering, the next two players on the same team act as sweepers and will judge the speed of the rock as it moves and relay that information to the skip; the team captain and fourth member of the team. The skip's job is to call the shots as well as watch the rock as it moves down the sheet and emphatically tell the sweepers if they need to sweep or not. The two skips also get to throw the final 4 rocks of the end which are often key to determine scoring. The last rock thrown is called the "hammer" and is a major advantage. The hammer is given to the team that did not score the previous end.

Scoring is determined by how many rocks your team has closest to the center of the "house" (the coloured rings) which is the scoring area. Each rock is worth one point no matter where in the house it sits, as long as there are no rocks from the opposing team that are closer to the center.

As a "front-end" player, ie. the first or second thrower, your job will be to set up the beginning of the end by placing early rocks in front of the house called "guards" that are used to protect rocks thrown later on used for scoring. Front end players need to be very athletic and have careful control over their heart rate. Sweeping a rock effectively is a lot more strenuous than it looks and requires balance, strength, dexterity and focus. You need to be able to judge how fast the rock moving and where it might come to a stop while simultaneously putting your entire body weight onto the head of your broom while also moving down a sheet of ice at a jogging pace without falling down. You need to be able to switch from this burst of effort into being calm and collected in order to take your turn when delivering your next rock. Front end players will need to sweep 6 rocks every end.

"Back-end" players are the third and fourth players on the team. While the third does still need to sweep 4 rocks every end, the skip does not do any sweeping unless necessary, usually in the house. These players are generally the more tactical and precise of the team, able to figure out a strategy that allows either a score of multiple points, or even to try and steal points from the opponent when they have the hammer.

Curling is generally considered to be a social sport. Competition at the club level is not taken too seriously and most people are there just to have a good time. Depending on your local customs, you can expect to join your opponents after the game for a round of drinks.

I find it to be fairly ADHD friendly, when it's my turn to throw as a front-end player I'm keyed in and focused for 60 seconds or so and then I can sort of zone out while it's my opponent's turn, and then when it's my turn to sweep I find it a great way to burn off those calories. My heart rate easily reaches 120-130 a few times per game.
I would not however want to skip a team. Having to keep my mind in the game the entire time while watching every single person making shots and trying to figure out the correct next move is mentally exhausting and better left to others. Unless maybe that's your thing, but games usually go on for 90-120 minutes.

[-] eclipse 4 points 2 months ago

I have never understood curling to this day. I'm still not sure I do but I'd like to thank you for this amazing explanation.

[-] jasep 6 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

I'm biased because I love it, but disc golf is a great sport to chill and play with buddies (assuming you can get them into it too). It has a low cost for entry - a few beginner discs won't cost much, and lots of courses are either free to play or cheap for a round. It won't make you a muscleman or anything, but it can build some arm, shoulder, and core strength if you play enough.

[-] Langehund 2 points 2 months ago

Was going to suggest it. It’s a skill based exercise that is made up of skinny guys at the top. It’s great because of the barrier to entry and the surprising depth with disc selection, shot shaping and all the fun things to deep dive into.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 2 months ago

Aerobic exercise will pretty much never make you less skinny. So any sport that involves a lot of running is never gonna help you bulk up

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago

Oh I see. What sort of exercise isn't aerobic?

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

The other kind is strength exercise. This includes stuff like weightlifting and arm wrestling.

[-] ampedwolfman 5 points 2 months ago

It's a little expensive to get started doing, but backpacking is awesome. My favorite time is when I've got dinner in the pot, my hammock is all set up, I'm hitting my THC pen, and relaxing. The views are usually really nice too if you're in a nice area or are willing to drive a few hours from your home. Campsites/Park entrance is pretty cheap and your gear should last. If you do all your shopping online it should look like this.

Tent: ~$75 Shoes: ~$50-75 Backpack: ~$50-$75 Hammock (if you decide this over a tent): $40ish If you go hammock you want to get either a wool blanket and an underquilt which will be $50-$80 or you could just get a sleeping bag which will vary in price based on how awesome of a bag you need. You're also going to want a bug net for the hammock. Get one that zips shut vertically. It can be a pain to get into the hammock with your phone, a meal, your blankets, and whatever else when you have no free hands and no head space. I think mine was like $15. I would also suggest one that has some sort of internal support frame. Mosquitos love me and I'm open tore up on one of my arms and one of my legs as they will bite me through the bug net and my hammock. They make sprays to keep them off your gear that last for long periods of time but I haven't tested them. A water bladder: $20 You could get a filtration system, I carry like 5 liters of water. It gets really heavy. And a jet boil: $20-$30

There are other misc things I would suggest packing to. Medical supplies (band aids, ace bandage, some sting ointment, Advil/Tylenol, common stuff that should be around your house)

The rest is just food. Meals that don't need to be refrigerated and if possible use some of your water. Soups are good if it gets cold at night. Take some vegetables and some bouillon cubes. Even some dry noodles and make a meat free chicken noodle soup. Or canned tuna and rice. I try to stay away from the dehydrated premade meals because there's a ton of sodium in them, they are pretty expensive, and most don't taste that great.

Most importantly, if you decide to pick up the hobby, please be safe when doing so. Start with short hikes, make sure that you have a compass that doesn't need Internet to function (don't rely on your phone) have print outs of your map, and let people know where you're going. If you go to an official park, talk with the people at the front office before embarking. They will know of any deviations on the trail, good places to get fresh water that you can filter/boil if need be, any problem areas in the trail, and most interestingly, what trails have the best views and will fit your skill level of hiking.

I can send you links to what I've purchased as well as a short review of my gear as well.

[-] zralok 5 points 2 months ago

Jiu-jitsu has been pretty good for me. I get into a really calm/flow state while practicing it.

It’s something I recommend everyone to try :)

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[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

The only two sports that were lame for me because of the lack of stimulation were baseball and soccer. I liked basketball and hockey and tennis and racquetball. There were others I would have played had there been programs for, too. Like bowling and billiards (though these are questionable as "sports").

This is just for playing of course. I can't stand watching sports, even the ones I like playing. It just makes me antsy and wanna play! I've always kinda gravitated towards games, though. Sports are games, and my ADHD brain latches onto the game part and can ignore all the other parts that are boring or don't interest me.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)


Something about being 1v1 with an opponent and facing them in the closest sport to simulated combat other than a martial art just causes me to immediately hyperfocus during a bout. Probably the only time I’ve ever felt that ADHD is a strength.

Also in fencing being skinny is a super duper great advantage.

It’s fucking exhausting tho, a 2 minute bout will absolutely wipe u out at first, both muscularly and cardiovascularly.

You’ll be incentivized to lift and do sprints to improve your technique.

Practicing parries and ripostes is also anything but boring, with each repetition you really feel the intricacy of each motion and it’s never ever boring since you can just imagine your doing it against an opponent

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago

And fencing gyms are rather social environments, nothing like trying to stab someone with a blunt foil to make a friend

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago

Woah this is a great idea! You're right, having an active opponent must keep you on your toes and I can totally see the focus in that being captivating. This really does seem like a good ADHD sport.

[-] bassomitron 2 points 2 months ago

How expensive is fencing to get into? I.e. average lessons cost, membership fees, etc?

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Depends, cheaper for kids, for adults usually around the price of a nicer rock climbing gym or like a premium ish gym (cheaper than someplace like equinox, pricier than somewhere like crunch)

Tournaments super pricy but optional

Equipment is dumb expensive but most places will let u rent or borrow and you need to use shitty equipment anyways till u know what u like. Then u usually get it piece by piece. But once u get it, it’ll last ur entire life unless ur like an athlete lol.

It’s solo equipment only usually so u don’t need to worry about things like organizing a pitch or getting nets and goals and whatever, everyone brings their own stuff and the gym provides whatever else would be needed

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 months ago

You into tennis?

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 months ago

Can only offer you three points, 1 nope sports really are boring, 2 you mention planking, I'm no gym dweller but if you need more muscle, planking is the opposite of what you need to do, lift heavy things, short reps, high protien diet. 3 motorcycle racing, specfically silly stuff like moped enduro, the amount of fun and helpful people you'll meet in the pits is crazy.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

Oh I see. What is the common denominator between exercoses that will give me muscle? Never considered motorcycle racing! Does that give you muscle too!?

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

Offroad racing will, mostly because you fall over a lot, then you gotta pick up the bike again, mostly I reccomend it for the like minded-ness of bike riders. if you're interested don't feel the need for fast bikes, flat out at 50mph with friends is the best.

As for building mass, plenty of stuff online, but it boils down to heavy weights, short reps (5 or so) do that set about 3 times, focus on shoulders, back and legs, eat a ridcously amount of protein.

[-] CannedCairn 1 points 2 months ago

I for one, really love table tennis. Games are short, points are short, and there's a lot of things to think about all the time.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 months ago

I love tabke tennis too! I don't think it would help me much with muscle though...

[-] Witchfire 1 points 2 months ago

Look into flow arts! It's basically adult performance grade fidget toys, and there's a LOT of props to pick from. I myself am a big fan of contact staff.

this post was submitted on 08 Mar 2024
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