Friday, April 24, 2015

7 Life Lessons The Gym Taught Me

    For anyone who has been in the gym for over a decade it's a lot like a good relationship, it's beyond physical attraction now and you are there for something deeper, and hopefully there for the long run. I started training in my parent's basement in Brooklyn in 1996, that was no doubt the initial attraction, but my first step into Empire Fitness in Brooklyn was where the love truly began. Anyway, it's been now 18 years in the gym, so at my age now, that means more time in my life has been spent in the gym, than out of the gym. The obvious thing to do in the gym is lift weights, get in shape etc, but after 18 years it's a lot more than that to me, in no particular order, these are some of the best things the gym has taught me, not about working out necessarily but about life.

  1. The Only Way To Truly Be Good At Something Is By Doing It

    In the almost two decades I've been in the gym I've seen this time and time again, the guys who read every single workout book, join every online forum, and read about every single diet or supplement. While they are reading about doing it another guy is in the gym doing it. I'm not saying reading training programs and diet is not crucial to being in shape. But doing something is far more better than reading about doing it. I struggled with Spanish for many years in High School, it wasn't until I applied the gym to language that I realized why I was bad at Spanish... I was studying it, and not using it. Today I actually get Spanish pay at my job, I'm also fluent in Italian, and Russian, and work to get to A1 (conversational level) for any international trip where I feel English isn't going to cut it. I'm in no way a genius, the gym taught me though that there is only so much you can learn from a book, being there will always get you further.
  2. There Is Shortcuts To Get To Anywhere That Is Worth Going

    You want to bench 315 pounds or make $1,000,000 it's the same process. There's no easy way to get there. Sure some guys win the lottery and make a million, and some guys win the genetic lottery and bench 315. But for the vast majority of us it's gonna take hard ass work, and in the beginning it's gonna suck! Do you think I was happy when I finally maxed a 95lb bench press and 95lb dead lift? No, I knew it sucked, and knew I needed to work up more, this is common sense, but yet for the real world people think they can get anywhere by catching their big break. The gym taught me that this is bull shit. It taught me I'd have to start at the bottom and earn my way to the top, it taught me that there will be up's and down's, some Mondays you will be the biggest you want to be, and other Monday's you have to sit back and re-evaluate your strategy on how to get to wherever it is, or to whatever you want in life.
  3. Sacrifice For The Short Run Can Be Success In The Long Run


    You want to lose weight right? Lean meats, veggies, no simple sugars, strategic your carbs, strategic fluids, strategic supplements. Life is no different, as much as I'd love to buy a brand new Armani watch today with the extra cash I got, it's a lot more important to me to actually go to Italy then to have the Italian watch. Whether it's giving up a cheesecake dessert or an impulse purchase, looking to the future is something I always need to think about. The cheesecake will still be there when summer is over and it's time for a cheat meal, and so will the watch when I get back from Italy.
  4. Everything Can Be Built In Pieces


        How did I do the human flag? I realized that to just go out and try to do a horizontal hand stand on a street sign wasn't gonna happen, but by building up small movements, I could piece them all together for a big movement. I'm not gonna lie, firefighting and personal training has given me a great life, but my dream house isn't exactly there, but rather than get disappointed by what I don't have, I realize it can be built in pieces, got the pool remodeled last year, and maybe get some landscaping this year, just like the gym, it may take time, but I have to enjoy the small pieces I build in the meantime.
  5. Your Diet Is Truly A Reflection Who You Are

        This doesn't just show in the gym, it shows in everything you do. I'm talking about both sides here. Remember that cheesecake from earlier? Well if you are eating it everyday it's not because you love cheesecake, you've got bigger issues. And going on the other extreme, if you are into fitness and well in shape, unless you are a pro athlete, pro model, or aspiring to be and have a genuine chance, if it's your son/daughter's birthday, have a damn piece of cake, if your friend is down and needs someone to talk to, have a damn beer with him. It's not gonna kill you. Diet reflects our self control, our discipline, and our self value. But it also shows how we value others.
  6. You May Never Get Where You Truly Want To Be In Life

         I started in the gym in the 90's, about ten years in, I took a look at my idol Ronnie Coleman, and sort of figured out, hmmmm..... I'm probably not going to get to that level. It could be my diet, my training, my level of commitment, supplements/drugs, etc. But at some point, I had to stop blaming things, and honestly accept that based on my life style, and my genetics, that I wasn't going to ever be at Ronnie Coleman's level. I'd love to be a multi-millionaire and own a military style hummer, along with a Maserati, and a house overlooking the coast of New Zealand, but at some point you have to be realistic and accept that you may never get to certain places, but at the same time, you must learn to love what you have. I love my gym, I love benching, I love working up to a planche push up right now, riding my bike, feeling the pump etc. I may never be 300 pounds of muscle, and that's ok. I may never have all the things I want in life, but for what I do have I am totally grateful.
  7. Enjoy Your Life While You Still Can

         One of the biggest motivations in life for me is the oldest guys I see at the gym, that are still in shape, still lifting, and still happy. I see people at the end of their ropes depressed in their 20's with so much life ahead, and yet somehow I see guys in their 60's that are damn well aware that they are well into the 2nd half of their life if not the last third, and are okay with that. Time is too short to worry too much. The gym has shown me that... Nothing can replace time, if something is going to take away my time, be that money, a girlfriend, work, etc, it better be damn worth it. We don't have much time on this Earth, life is fleeting, and to not make the most of the time we do have is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves. Each day we wake up is a gift, never take that for granted.


    Feel free to email me with any questions!

    Twitter: FitnessGround0

    Arizona Fitness at Inbox dot com

    This article is solely opinion of the author and written for entertainment purposes only.
    Consult a doctor or medical professional before beginning any fitness, diet, or weight training program.


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