Becoming a Gym Stud(ette), Part 1
If you want to be a gym stud or studdette, follow along with the journey that turned me into an awesome manly-man.
Page 2 of 2
Motivation Phase: Hedonism
First, I chose a gym with natural light, so I feel good being there. It has a sauna, which becomes my after-workout reward — a key to my stick-to-it success. Most importantly, it’s near a college. That means it's full of 20-year-olds with perfect bodies, who were depressed and upset that they had gained 1/10" in waistline between the ages of 16 and 20.
This gave me two sources of motivation. First, Schadenfreude — taking pleasure in the misfortune of others — where I can listen seriously to their insecurities, thinking, “You child! You haven’t even fully gotten through puberty, yet. Just wait until gravity strikes. Then come to me for sympathy. Bwah hah hah hah hah!”
And lust. My old gym was inhabited by Joan Rivers’ friends who couldn’t afford plastic surgery. I thought “someday, that will be me,” and was continually reminded that my body will someday decay into death and disease. My new gym is inhabited by Jake, Chris, Pat, and Sean. Physically perfect body-builders, gymnasts, and trainers. Greg is doing Turkish Get-Ups, with a dumbbell that weighs as much as I did in college. I think, “someday that will be me (doing the lifting, not being the barbell).” And in a supreme act of role-reversal, at least for now, I serve the valuable function of reminding them that their body will someday decay into death and disease.
In the 1980s, which we shall pretend I’m too young to remember, George Michael in WHAM! wore a shirt that said “Choose Life!” When choosing your gym, “Choose lust.” It will get you in there and start you working.
Motivation Trick: Trainer
I also hired a trainer. A fit trainer with blond hair and blue eyes named “Shanti,” which means “Peace” in Sanskrit. Yeah, right. I’d cry “I can’t do one more rep,” and Shanti would say — through that beautiful blond hair and angelic blue eyes — “Don’t be a wuss. Do one more rep or I’ll drop a weight on your head.” Shanti has since grown a beard and now looks rather like a Demon from Heck, reminding me that Lucifer also started as an angel, too.
So that's pure motivation. Get a trainer, at least at the beginning to get you going. Knowing someone’s waiting for you, you’ll show up and you’ll push past your limits. Or else.
Results Trick: Track In-Between Workouts
But you can make demands, too. Have your trainer create a workout routine for the days between your meetings. If your trainer says “use your judgment” or “just mix and match,” get a new trainer. You want a specific list of exercises, repetitions, and weights you can follow verbatim.
Now make sure you’re improving on every trip to the gym, between your trainer meetings. Shanti gave me strict instructions: “Every time you come in, add weight, even if it’s just 2.5 pounds. Or do more reps.” He made a workout sheet to track it. I printed the tracking sheet in a little booklet that fits in my pocket, so it’s always with me during my workout and I'm accountable for it.
At first, I read my tracking sheet to see how far I’ve come. What was my weight and rep count last time I came in? It took me a while to learn the advanced, manly-man way to use a tracking sheet. Look and ask, “if this is what I’ve done, how much can I stretch myself today?” Then set today’s stretch goal and get going.
Bumping your numbers on every trip is a way to know you’re pushing your edge. Respect your edge! Sometimes you’ll plateau on an exercise. Don’t injure yourself. Stay safe and listen to your body!
We’ve started the journey. We committed to the goal. We picked a gym based on lust, for motivation. We hired a trainer, even if just once or twice, to put together a good regime for us and for accountability. We are using a tracking sheet, and bumping our weight or reps on every trip. Next episode, we’ll go into overdrive and discover that motivation changes over time, in better and more amazing ways.
I'm Stever Robbins. I help high achievers accelerate or change careers. If you want to know more, visit http://www.SteverRobbins.com.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
Trainer image courtesy of Shutterstock.com