Becoming a Gym Stud(ette), Part 2
Use the power of gluttony, sloth, and community as key motivators to get in shape.
This is Stever Robbins. Welcome to the Get-it-Done Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More. In Part 1 of this episode, you joined me as I started working with trainer Shanti once a week to get back into shape. Today, in Part II, we’ll discover that the road to rockhard abs — and I’m not quite there yet — has many additional but productive phases - like lust, vanity, gluttony and community!
Make Workouts Priority #1
I really wanted to get in to see Shanti...but had trouble forcing myself to go inbetween meetings. There were always more important things to do, like watch Breaking Bad and surf Facebook. So I decided: the gym is top priority, every single day. That way, there’s no decision involved. I’m awake and conscious? It’s time to go to the gym. Priority #1 means if my schmoopie invites me out for an spontaneous evening of dinner, movies, and romance, and I haven’t worked out yet, I say “Not tonight, my little pumpkin. I have to go to the gym.” You can imagine how well this goes over. So, in the future, I make sure to get my gym trip done by 7 p.m. so I have flexibility later. But yes, I’ve actually turned down nookie in favor of going to the gym. Nookie now means later I’ll return to my eggplant-shaped-mass. Gym now means more nookie later. That's because the gym increases both your hotness and your sex drive.
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I know what you’re thinking. “Stever isn’t being reasonable; I can’t just turn my life upside down forever. Hand me the bon-bons.” NO BON-BONs.
It will make it easier to make the gym #1 by making it temporary. Set a limit. Make the gym #1, but only for six weeks. Then, and only then, consider a shift. But make your limit at least six weeks, because that will get you to the next stage of motivation: vanity!
Motivation Stage: Vanity
I’d been working out for about eight weeks. I looked in the mirror and noticed a weird gap between my arms and my torso when I stood with my arms relaxed at my side. At first I thought it was cancer. Then I realized that I had lost fat in my torso, gained muscles in my lats, and was developing a body shape I’d never had before. The Workouts Were Working!
This increased my motivation! I was becoming my own object of lust. Every morning since, I admire myself in the mirror each morning. You probably do that already. But for me, this was uncharted territory. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…OMG, is that a deltoid?!?!?”
Change takes time, so most days I notice no difference. I just proclaim, “Trust the process. Keep going in and, by summer, you will no longer be an inspiring reminder of morttality for the beautiful gym people, you will be a beautiful gym person! Bonus: You’ll be able to go shirtless and look great.” Lust was the booster rocket that carried me through the first two months until vanity could take over. Well, vanity and the anticipation of more lust this summer.
Self-esteem Note: Measure What Counts
There was one problem: my weight went up! WHAT??? Well, that happens when you lose fat and gain muscle. BAM! Who knew? I thought my goal was weight loss, but no, it’s waist loss. Know your goal, and use the right measure. Not pounds, but circumference.
Since the start of the Vanity Phase, I now trust the process, and use process measures. I track the number of times per week I go to the gym, the intensity, and the exercise repetitions. As long as the numbers are increasing each week, my body is getting studlier.
Motivation Stage: Schlump
So now it's time to stay motivated, to keep these changes going. I'm finding motivation for my new processes in some strange places. For example, why did it seem that my clothes looked bad? This all started because my dry cleaner shrunk everything. Then they stretched everything! My underwear and pants kept falling down, and not in an attractively choreographed Marky Mark way. More in an “Excuse me, sir, this is an eating establishment. We’ve called the police” way.
Yes, you guessed it. My pants kept falling down because they were too big for the new me! A recent dinner companion commented on how schlumpy my clothes were. I just grinned and thought, “you have no idea.”
Now every time my pants fall down, I feel great! And I’ve purchased a belt, to stay out of jail.
Motivation Stage: Gluttony
The other nice thing about a belt is that it can be loosened after I eat. And eat, I do. My latest trainer Steve (I try different trainers and different training styles) has said, “If you want to lose waistline, eat more!” Huh? It turns out that when you’re working out a lot, building muscle gives you a higher resting metabolism that, in turn, burns fat. How awesome is that??? My diet must include enough to fuel my resting metabolism, the calories I burn during today’s workout, and the muscle growth that will come from the workout.
These have to be healthy calories, but that’s fine. You’ll be hungry enough to eat anything, and your body will adapt to prefer healthy foods over icky foods. There’s plenty of tasty, healthy food in the world. Gluttony caused this whole problem in the first place, and now it becomes the reward! The universe is fair and just!
Motivation Stage: Community
And finally, there’s the most powerful motivator of all: community. At the gym, you always have an opening line, “I’ll bet you can’t bench press that with me doing a handstand on the barbell.” Now my gym friends include 15 different Pats, 5 Seans, and one Joe, Sam, Aaron, Colin, Greg, Kirsten, and Lissa. (Isn’t it odd that all but the last 4 have gender-neutral names?) We all work out, so we talk about it. We encourage each other, we trade tips, and we provide accountability. I work out because I don’t want to let them down. I’m a sucker for peer pressure, and at my gym, the peers are all about fitness.
Remember: Set the gym as your #1 priority for long enough to move through lust, vanity, gluttony, and community to make the gym an integral part of your life. Save up for a new wardrobe, and be prepared to discover a whole new community of people. And muscles.
I'm Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. 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!