So, it’s been a while since I last posted something… I got to thinking about things that would be nice to blog about. Since I’m at work and I have some idle time, I’m going to continue on a fitness streak and post something gym-related. This is going to be a kind of continuation of my previous blog post, and will be about the things I learned while in the gym.
First, I would like to let you know that most of the lessons here are already things that have been posted in other websites and forums. I’ll just add my own personal commentary on each of them. Here we go:
- Motivation gets you started, discipline keeps you going. Of course everyone needs some motivation. I used to start every gym day by searching for motivational pictures online to get me excited about the gym. I didn’t start out loving the gym so witty phrases and cool pictures were a big part of why I felt the need to go. But motivation runs out. When your source of motivation has long burned out, discipline and habit is what will keep you chugging. I’m not saying to throw away motivation; even I still find time to search for things to motivate me. But if/when it fails, you can always fall back to discipline. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to do it.
- Just get yourself to the gym. In line with the previous point, there are days when I’m ready to go to the gym, but a voice in my head keeps saying “You went to the gym yesterday, a rest day today won’t hurt,” or “You don’t feel like it, maybe just go tomorrow.” Sure, I can follow that voice, but what I do is tell myself that I just need to step into the gym, and the rest will follow. The moment I’m in the gym, the little voice will disappear. Because once I’m at the gym, there’s no other distraction from the work out I’m about to do. No one ever says to themselves that they regretted going to the gym today.
- Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done. This one is a little trickier because it depends on how your body actually feels. To put it bluntly, you go to the gym to destroy your body safely. Find a program that is suitable for you and stick with it. Don’t stop halfway because you feel tired. Most likely, the problem is mental; your mind is telling you that you’re tired but your body can still work through it. The trick to developing discipline is to constantly push yourself through uncomfortable situations. But don’t forget to listen to your body as well. If you don’t think you can do the next set properly, then don’t be afraid to lower the weight or rep count.
- Don’t lift with your ego. Always focus on your form first before upping the weight. Yes, I used to be that guy and now I’m frowning on those guys. Don’t be the guy who loads all the big-ass plates on a machine and only does 1/4 reps. Make sure you’re doing the exercise correctly and don’t worry about lifting big immediately. You will get there, plus the heavier you lift with proper form, the more respect you’ll gain. And remember, if you’re cheating your workout, you’re only cheating yourself.
- You can’t out-train a bad diet. This is the learning that most people overlook, including me. Going to the gym and thinking you can eat the same or even eat more because you’re now more active than before won’t let you achieve results unless you’re a genetic god. Some people say that getting to your goals needs 20% exercise and 80% diet. I don’t know where that came from but based on my experience, diet played a huge part in my overall improvement. Changing my food intake helped me change my body appearance in mere months, compared to me working out for a couple of years and eating the same, with no results to show.
- Fitness (exercise and diet) is a lifestyle change, not a seasonal fad. Unless you’re only ever aiming to look good every summer season, don’t look at fitness as having a deadline. If you look at fitness as making permanent changes in your life to make yourself better, you’re more likely to stick with it. But if you only see fitness as something temporary, you’re more likely to quit. It’s easier to stay on track than to start all over again.
- Don’t try to change everything at once. Start small and work your way up. With the previous point being said, don’t try to change to much in your life at the start. Start with one aspect in your life, and once you got that down, move on to the next. Remember, you have limited motivation so you can’t multitask everything. For example, discipline your gym schedule and program first, then focus on your diet next. Remember, every journey is composed of single steps, so focus on making every step a good one and you will eventually get there.
- Be better than who you were yesterday. Sure, it’s okay to have some role models to look up to, but don’t get too consumed by wanting to be just like them because you won’t. The only person you need to measure up to is yourself. Everyone has different bodies and circumstances so you can’t really compare them. But you are you yesterday and you are you tomorrow, so focus on improving yourself. You don’t need to beat that big guy who can squat 700lbs to prove your strength, but you do have to beat your previous personal best so that you can see that you are improving. Your biggest rival is yourself, so go and beat that muffucka.
- Consistency is key. Practice doesn’t make perfect, it builds a habit. And a habit (not a vice) done correctly and improved over time will result in perfection. I’m still new to this fitness thing (one year of lifting), but I have learned a lot because I chose to be consistent. Many times have I gone to the gym only a few times and stopped, but now I am seeing results that I wouldn’t have seen if I got discouraged or lazy and stopped working out. So even if you’re just starting out or already an expert, just keep going. We’re all gonna make it.
- Poop before leg day. Just trust me on this one. If your workout program for the day has squats and/or deadlifts or any variation thereof, and your tummy is far from empty, I beg you to take a pre-workout poop. You’ll feel all kinds of better.
I think I’ve rambled on long enough. If there’s any more I can think of, then you’ll see it on a future post. These have been my gym learnings and I hope you learned a thing or two as well.