An intro to my blogs and what you can expect (I promise I’ll get to the point, just keep reading):
The significance of the Gym in someones life can be valued quite differently depending on the experiences, familiarity with, success, enjoyment, and social considerations that come into play for the individual in question. Although no one person considers it identically, some common themes are:
- “Cause society says I have to”: no lies there; fitness in 2014 has just continued to increase in popularity, and there is no doubt in my mind this trend will continue for years to come with the greater emphasis on preventative lifestyle changes to keep your health in check. Too many years, especially in North America, we rejected taking care of our bodies physically, and instead took care to fulfill our desire for instant gratification through various toxic, but delicious, concoctions of fat, sugar and salt. Now there has been a shift to preventing morbidities such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among others, through healthy diet and exercise. We are constantly bombarded with reminders to get 30minutes of some sort of exercise a day and to eat a healthy balanced diet to maintain our health. Ah yes, now even the faintest of heart will occasionally switch up their jeans for spandex and loafers for sneakers, all because everyone seems to be saying “you have to” and in a moment of guilt, an uncharacteristic trip is taken to the gym. On the brightside, now you deserve that beer you were going to have later.
- “the bro-daters”: you’re have a crazy demanding schedule, in school or at work, so once in a while when you get a spare moment you feel like hitting the gym. Ah, but your best-bro wants to hang out… You haven’t seen him in forever, but you haven’t gone to the gym either. You decide to hang out with your friend and ask him what he wants to do. He replies “I dunno, what do you want to do?”. You dishonestly say that you really don’t have anything really, you cleared your schedule just for him- his choice. He responds he did the same. This continues back and forth for about 20 minutes of texts. Finally you have an apiphany; both of you are boring and are so busy you don’t really know what else to do, you also realize that your friend has been giving suspiciously vague answers… you then notice that if his texts weren’t in a different color on your phone, you would have thought you wrote them…. You realize: the perfect bro date…. at the gym. You go, spot each other, check out some hot chicks that you illusion yourself to thinking that you have a chance with them… probably get rejected since they’re grossed out by two sweaty dudes that have been grunting extra loud to seem awesome and manly while they lift. The best time at the gym you’ve ever had: with your best-bro, on your bro-date gym day.
- “Maybe I’ll meet somebody”: This can extend to many degrees of relationships. You get the gym fanatics seeking other gym fanatics, the pretty people seeking other pretty people, the lonely student that has time for nothing else but school and the occasional run who only wants to meet a friend. For those who go to the gym to network and build relationships, there are many variations of the sentence: I am a _____ seeking a _____ at the gym. Just do those of us not in your category a favor, and for the love of god, DON’T talk to the rest of us when we have our headphones in and are avoiding eye contact with you at all costs. Honestly, this means that we don’t want in on your activity. Go back to that center bench I’ve been waiting for and keep having your 30 minute conversation with the ridiculously hot girl that is somehow ridiculously toned in spite of the fact she only comes to the gym to wear her new yoga clothes, and duh, grab a smoothy… but that’s a different category…
- “I come to the gym looking like I stepped off the cover of Vogue magazine, the Spandex Edition, and leave looking (and smelling) the exact same way”: Sounds silly right? Not jokes, these people exist. I’d say there’s 1 girl like this for every 50 people at the gym. She’s not shredded like a true gym rat but in fact has been genetically gifted to never have to actually do anything and stay slender and looking awesome indefinitely in any outfit she should choose. She normally comes in with her “sporty chic” outfit and perfectly applied make-up. Her hair is sometimes down in loose curls or thrown up into a crown-voluminous, silky pin-straight ponytail. This girl nearly always walks in with her phone, and usually heads to the treadmill or elliptical for a 15 minute slow pace cardio session without breaking a sweat. She then will go over to the weight area pick up a dumbell or two, do a set of 15x 7.5lb bicep curls (you don’t want to go to heavy or you’ll get bulky!), then do a set of lightweight squats (gotta keep the legs toned!). After this gruelling session, she’ll usually snap a few selfies in the mirror, post them to instagram, location tagged at the gym with “wow, I really worked it out at the gym today *flexy arm emoticon* #killeditbitches #fitness4life….” She’ll then head out to the changeroom where she’ll take a few more selfies in the changeroom mirrorto capture the perfect shot while her shirt is hiked up, booty shorts engaged, and posing with a flexing arm. She’ll then usually post something like “Check out my pipes! The gym sure pays off #tolookyourbestgiveyourbest #strongissexy”.
- “I’m going to do a competition…. Maybe?” These people are an interesting breed. usually 10-20lbs over their ideal weight, but not obese by any means. Normally this person is a 20-25year old girl who just completed post-secondary and realized the consequences that 4 years of nothing but Subway, beer, Alphagetties, (more beer) and pizza has had on your pre-university body. He/She decides to do a competition, like one of those bikini/physique bodybuilding competitions that one of their friends did. They enter in a show and become the most dedicated people at the gym, there every morning and night. They eat sleep and breathe the gym, all of their facebook and instagram posts have something to do with how much they lifted, and motivational quotes with awesome pictures of fit people. about 15% of this breed makes it to the stage. Often at 6 weeks after starting the remainder of these people get sucked into some sort of black-hole and you never see them at the gym again. This is one of the gym’s great unsolved mysteries.
- “I compete and I want you to know it”: I shamefully have to admit that I do exhibit the tendencies of the people in this category. You may belong in this category if you find that you: post more pictures of your running shoes on instagram than your face (which will never be in one of your gym photo’s… no one wants to see that sweaty blotchy, thing they call a face), you often have countdowns to the next competition, you will gain and lose 30lbs in 2 months depending on if you’re “bulking” or “cutting”, secretly know that “bulking” is a term that bodybuilders tell people to sound like they’re on track and hardcore when really it’s code for uncontrolled overindulgence in ALL of the foods in ridiculous quantities because you “might never be able to eat it again”.
- “I’m actually a secret ninja or black ops and am at your facility for training”-Dude. This guy is pretty distinct. He has 2 main behaviours that distinguished him
Obviously this is not an all inclusive list. There are still the Suburban Class Goers, the New Years Resolutioners, the Legit Athletes, the ‘hardcore I just go to the gym ’cause ya’ person, the stretcher, the only Heavy Lifter, the Cardiobunny, the Guy who follows you and asks how many sets that you have left at every machine you stop at, The Steroid Junkie,The One who doesn’t actually have an iPod, but wears headphones to avoid any and all conversation, and the Self-Proclaimed Personal Trainer However, next time you’re at your gym or fitness center, take a look around. See if you can spot some of these people. Have fun people watching and categorizing while you’re doing steady-state cardio; it’s a great way to kill time.
However, amusing as the above may be it is not the purpose of this Blog post. The purpose of this post is to stop each person that is reading this and implore them to reflect. Think about the people that you categorized; now remove yourself from your body and reflect on your behaviours. Who are you, what category do you resemble?? Don’t stop there. take your evidence put it aside and then do some internal self-reflection. Despite your outward behaviours, your internal motivations may be entirely different than you may be projecting. Slow down and identify your true internal relationship with fitness, and the goals that you hope to eventually accomplish. If it helps write it down like so:
1.What do I think I look like from the outside: ( exp] “if I have to”, “the selfie beauty queen”, “The competitor”, “the going to be a competitor” etc)
2.Why do I go to the gym, what are the motivating factors that drive me to go for a “work-out”: (exp] social interaction, stress relief, enjoyment, maintain looks/weight, health improvement/maintenance)
3.What is/are my goal(s): (exp] competition/athletic event/marathon, personal performance, Health improvement benchmarks[lowering cholesterol, bloodpressure, blood glucose control], maintain general health)
4.What are the barriers that prevent me from going (if any): (exp] social commitments and associated imposed barriers, time restrictions, distance, money, interest/lack of, intimidation)
5.What personal/social/career (etc) related sacrifices do I expect/have I made to achieve my goals: (exp] not eating certain foods you enjoy, missing social events, absence of the social aspect of eating a meal with family/friends because of meal plan restrictions, missing other elective activities because you had to “go to the gym”, personal relationship impact [details?])
6.Were the sacrifices unavoidable? What can be done to avoid these sacrifices?: (exp] gym schedule, meal planning, communication in relationships, event planning, ‘cheat meal’ allowances)
My challenge for you is to write down your answers, and then look at them again in one month. In the mean time write new answers to compare to your old ones. By encouraging development of your own conscious awareness of these concepts I hope, that in conjunction with my future blog entries, that they will help you:
A) BALANCE your life
B) Achieve your goals with reasonable expectations and timeline
C) Enjoy your journey to your goals
D) Improve your health
E) Improve your happiness and wellbeing
F) Improve your cognitive performance
G) Help you along the way with my experience, my own fitness training, personal training certification, development of self-awareness, and knowledge of the human body. I will share with you invaluable fitness pearls that I have learned, effective strategies to accomplish your goals and improve your life, coping methods/managing expectations for training/diet (in numerous capacities), and ways to mitigate the negative effects of any sacrifices you are required to make, and equip you with the tools to acquire optimal net gains of the positive outcomes.
You don’t have to talk to me, you don’t have to follow me, you don’t have to even know who I am. However, if the information that I include in this blog helps you towards success in your fitness endeavours in any small way, I will have accomplished my goal. However, this is not to say that you shouldn’t feel free to contact me through any of the methods on this blog, bodybuilding.com (West318) or other linked social media. In fact, I encourage you to shoot me a message. Are there things that I’ve said that are helpful? Is there a topic that you would like to know more about? Is there a specific diet/goal/plan that you would like to undertake but don’t know where to start?
Let me know!
I will be more than happy to answer your questions or do an entire entry on the subject if it is a topic that could be helpful for many. One day I hope to have a “Ask Serena the Health, Fitness, and Wellbeing (HFW) Guru”.
Thanks for sticking with me through this long entry! Please keep checking back for my weekly specific topic discussions and/or fitness logs.
Be Strong, Succeed, and Become the One They All Fear