Saturday, May 14, 2016

Work it! (part 5)

In this fifth post of my workout series (the rest of the series is here: 1 2 3 4 6) I will share with you some gym tips. I’m not an expert myself but for a person who has 15 years of gym experience, I think I’m somewhat qualified to dole out some workout advice.

First you need to have a reason why you want to work out. This sounds obvious but it’s a very important part of any fitness goal. Once you have a reason, you can always come back to it when you feel unmotivated or too lethargic to stick to your routine. Personally I started going to the gym to pull myself out of low self-esteem when I accepted the superficial fact that gays only like fit and muscular guys. Hence to survive in the gay dating scene (and I was desperate to get attached at that time) I had no choice but to hit the gym and get some muscles. When I started to see results and the compliments rolled in, the motivation to work out grew. It’s important to surround yourself with people who love you and shower you with praises. Like I always say, I’d rather be a narcissist than a self-hater. However the body improvements have plateaued a long time ago and now I’m just repeating the same routine over and over again to maintain what I think is the ideal build for me. I’m a disciplined person but I’m also human (i.e. lazy) so I’m not willing to put in that extra effort to get that minimal improvement. Also I am not too tall so I really shouldn’t get too muscular as being proportioned is very important to me.

Another very important tip when it comes to maintaining motivation is to choose a gym as close to your home as possible, preferably within walking distance. If that’s not possible, choose one that’s on your way to or from work. I prefer to work out before work as that lifts your energy level for the rest of the day. Also you’ll have more flexibility to work longer hours if required and not have to worry about having to go to the gym. The bottom line is you have to give yourself as little reason as possible to not work out. When you’re at the gym, make your routine as varied as possible so that you can choose a different machine or use free weights for instance and still work the same muscle when a particular station is occupied. A varied routine also targets different muscle areas and makes working out less boring. If you’re starting a routine, it’s good to track the weight that you lift and the number of reps you do so that you can make appropriate increases as you get stronger. If you’re trying to lose weight, tracking your weight and body fat percentage regularly is a must. I used to do it daily and some people think that’s over-the-top (I now do it twice a week).

You also have to be honest with yourself when it comes to your fitness goals. If you know you’re not going to stick to a routine or go to the gym, stop paying your gym membership and end the contract. Having people sign up to a gym membership and then have them not using the gym is one of the key ways gyms make money. Do not delude yourself thinking that somehow you’ll get fitter just by having a gym you can use when you want to. You have to get your ass down and work out for real to see improvements! There are many body-weight exercises you can do without going to a gym and you can also go for a jog outside if you want some cardio. Having a gym membership is not mandatory to get fit. Another way to save money would be to freeze your membership and pay a lower fee every time you’re not going to use the gym for a while. Ever since my Papua New Guinea stints started, I’ve frozen my membership for 23 fortnights and that has saved me almost $800.

What I have mentioned in this post is simply extracted from my personal experience and might not be applicable to you. At the end of the day your fitness journey is something very personal and any advice you read or get from other people should always be taken in with a pinch of salt. Let me conclude by offering another piece of advice. There’s always going to be people in the gym who look better than you and you shouldn’t be comparing yourself with them especially when that makes you feel inferior. Working out in the gym should make you feel better about yourself and not the opposite. Remember that you’re already better than most people if you work out regularly so stop being unfair to yourself.

Now that we’re done with words, we can finally move on to the videos. The two clips in this post feature abs and back. Enjoy!



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