Leaving My Ego At The Door
There’s something about collapsing in a heap after 5 press ups, about a metre away from someone curling 35kg dumbbells, that teaches you humility.
I often take myself far too seriously but the gym is working wonders for the chip on my shoulder, if not my actual shoulders…
I joined a gym for the first time about 5 months ago. Like many people, the prospect had always been intimidating. While far from unfit, I’ve never been especially body confident. I’ve always hidden behind cardio while being frustrated with my physique. Long ago, I accepted that I was tall and skinny.
I didn’t really think that my body was in my control.
Most people are primarily concerned with being more aesthetically attractive. Who wouldn’t want to enhance themselves in that department?
For me, joining a gym was just as much about developing functional strength. A sole instance of being overlooked when it came to moving something heavy was enough to make me feel emasculated.
There’s a lot more at stake for me in the gym than physical gains.
Getting Smart and humble
Until recently, I was consistently going to the gym 2-3 times a week and giving myself a pat on the back for doing so. After the first 3 months, I saw marginal progress. I put on half a stone but probably mainly through eating more.
In hindsight, I was spending far too long per session and hitting a random mixture of body parts. I didn’t know what I was doing. My form was bad and I simply wasn’t hitting enough reps and sets. Never once did I wake up sore the next day.
That should have been my warning sign.
Repeatedly advised by gym-going friends to structure my workouts, I ignored all their efforts to help me because it seemed too complicated to get my head around.
If only I had listened, I would have had a significant headstart now.
After long last, I finally gave in three weekends ago.
Fortunately, one of my friends qualified as a personal trainer over the summer and completed an incredible body transformation in the process too. One afternoon chatting with him was enough to light a fire under my arse. I knew he was someone I could swallow my pride around and learn from.
We went to the gym the very next day with a drawn up workout in hand.
He’s generously given up his time twice since to walk me through follow-up workouts. I now have a structured gameplan for gyming every other day, with a better understanding of nutrition and supplements too.
I’m lifting less, correcting my form and working A LOT harder. The burn feels great.
Owning the Gym Lifestyle
Everyone knows exercise is good for you. I feel great heading home after a session. I’m starting to embrace my soreness the following day with gratification too.
But I also love the gym for a different reason:
I absolutely love learning.
The gym represents an area that 6 months ago I truly knew nothing about. Not to mention nutrition and, more generally, health and fitness.
It’s refreshing to be a complete beginner at something again. Too many of us stay within our comfort zones and spheres of confidence.
Now I feel that I’m slowly getting educated. There’s an overwhelming amount to learn, with everyone having different preferences and opinions, but it’s immensely satisfying to start to understand and make informed decisions.
More than that, for perhaps the first time, I feel in control of my body. It feels sort of detached from me and something I can master and improve upon.
That’s no small thing.
Now I’m confident walking into that gym. Everything and everyone seems less intimidating. Once upon a time, I thought gym-goers were a different breed, a macho club I would never be a part of. That’s all changed.
Seeing results won’t happen overnight and I have everything ahead of me (fingers crossed for those so-called “noob gains”). Luckily, I’m a “big picture” kind of guy that can deploy a lot of patience when I put my mind to it.
You know, I think I might actually stick at this.
Christmas is my short-ish term target to see tangible results. I’m quietly hopeful my new routine will have an impact on my physique, and beyond that, who knows.
Here’s to a healthier and even happier future me.