You’re off to the gym. You’ve eaten, picked out your clothes, your music and consulted social media with its near legion of motivational pics and often impossibly high standards to psyche yourself up for the impending workout/onslaught. It’s on, bro! Let’s do this!
Only once you get there, sometimes you don’t want to be there. The heart-pumping motivation and music on the drive to the gym seems to have left once you scan in and head toward the gym floor. “Well, I’m here, might as well make the most of it,” you say under your breathe to summon some semblance of a spark of motivation.
What they don’t tell you can seem complicated, but need not be. Largely, at the gym, you’re on your own. A scary realization, but then again, perhaps not. After all, it is you and you alone that is responsible for your physique. And since you’ve entered this fun playground in which you have near limitless tools at your disposal to hone yourself in the best way you see fit, why not make the most of it and its unwritten rules?
1. REST – As long as you need. Sometimes they try to rush you. Pay them no mind. Proper gym etiquette is to allow others to work in, but never let them speed up your recovery time. Proceed when ready.
2. FOCUS ON GOALS – “How much you bench?” Does it matter? Are you a power-lifter or bodybuilder? Are you more concerned with how much you can lift or how much you look like you can lift? One rep maximums can often be akin to muscle tears. Skip the max and put the max smarts into your workouts for long-term gains.
3. DO YOU – As in work with the exercises you like. That doesn’t mean perform the easiest movements, it means if you do not like bent-over lateral raises because maybe they strain your back and you’d prefer them on an incline bench, then you go right ahead.
4. WEAR YOU – As in wear what you’re comfortable to work out in. If what you wear is not necessarily flattering, then use that as further motivation. Remember, we go to the gym to look good out of it.
5. FIND THE JOY – Not every day will be a great or even good workout. There are days you won’t want to be there and days you wish you weren’t there, but nary a day will come where after a workout you wish you hadn’t gone there. Don’t force it, but if you can get to the gym, generally you can make the best of it and get something positive from the experience. And if you can’t make it that day, well that is okay also.
HOLLIS LANCE LIEBMAN has been a fitness magazine editor, national bodybuilding champion, and author. He is a published physique photographer and has served as a bodybuilding and fitness competition judge. Hollis has worked with some of Hollywood’s elite, earning rave reviews. Visit his web site, www.holliswashere.com, for fitness tips and complete training programs.