Posts Tagged ‘gym’

I don’t care about having a sixpack.

I can hear you already, “You, sir, are a damned liar.” Listen, I’ll admit that at one point having a sixpack topped my priority list and I wanted it bad. I examined every article, picture, and shred of information I could get my grubby hands on that might get me closer to the supposed Holiest of Fitness Grails. Lately, though, that goal has lost some of it’s luster.

My first clue that I wanted something different was during a pickup game of flag football with some friends. It was the first time I had stepped on a field to actually play a (somewhat) organized sport in years. We picked teams schoolyard style; two captains each picking players until everyone’s got a place to go. Even growing up the fat kid I was coordinated enough to not be picked last; the middle of the pack is generally where I fall and the same held true this time.

For someone who has never been the fastest at anything, nobody was more shocked than I when I happened to be just that. The looks of confusion and shock on my friends faces as I blew by them was more satisfying than it should have been. I know that it’s not really a big deal and that I’m being childish. Except it’s also awesome, so I’m not going to apologize.

My second clue came during a workout not that long ago where I did something I hadn’t really been devoting any real effort to achieving. Having said that, I know this will offend a few people. I pulled 405lbs on a deadlift. I’m not saying that it was easy or that it’s a super impressive number; powerlifters are giggling at me right now. What I am saying is that I didn’t realize how awesome it feels to be strong. Doing something that you know for a fact you were incapable of doing a few weeks ago is one of the purest forms of self satisfaction I’ve yet to come across.

Now, I lay all of that out there and I can still hear the skeptical response, “Yeah, yeah. But you’re gonna tell me you don’t want to look good?”

What, you think I want to look like a bag of ass? No. If anyone tells you that they don’t care at all, even a little bit, about how they look I want you to punch them right in the kisser and steal their peanut butter.

The good news is that I have refocused my training and eating for performance. I’ve touched on little ways I’ve done this nutritionally before, like when I figured out my body desperately needed carbs to recover from the workouts I was doing. Also, I never worked out just to make my mirror muscles bigger. Most everything I do and have done is about being able to perform my job better, which still holds true. The difference is that I measured my progress more by how I looked than by how I performed. That has changed.

I’m not going to throw around buzz phrases similar to, “train like an athlete.” That could mean so many things to so many different people. Maybe you want to be a sprinter, a powerlifter, or just a parent that is able to keep up with their kids on the playground. Work towards those goals because the “looking good” part comes with the territory.

Granted, that assertion comes soley from my experience. I’m not trying to fit some six-pack-mold anymore, but by focusing more on those other things that make me happy I’m starting to look better anyway. I’m starting to see that definition that I always wanted but it’s not my endgame anymore, which is fantastic news when I really stop to think about it.

I mean, seriously, once I achieved my goal of a six pack…what would I do? Lose it just to get it again? That makes zero sense. No, instead I have goals that will last me a lifetime. I can always get faster and stronger, I can’t very well get more six pack.




At least that’s what I like to imagine my followers are saying, because it baffles me that people actually read my blog.  So, to begin with, thank you folks for internet stalking me.  It’s truly an oddly gratifying experience.

Moving on, this double feature was brought on the other day when my sister dropped a knowledge bomb on me.  I’m not all that shocked by this considering she’s the “good child”.

You know the type; went to college to learn college things, got her masters in those college things, and now teaches college things to new college going people.  A vicious cycle, if you ask me, and one much better suited to her.

Because this:

It's just not my thing.

It’s just not my thing.

Luckily, she had my fitness endeavors at the forefront of her mind when making these decisions because she majored in something related to exercise physiology and subsequently has become my main source for questions.  A decent perk if you absolutely must put up with another sibling.

She also makes killer banana bread.  Hint sis, it is Christmas time.

In my never ending quest for improvement, I started looking into tracking my caloric intake which eventually led to me to a whole bunch of articles about these things called Macros, leading to a very important question.

WTF is a macro?

The answer is that macro is short for Macro-nutrient which refers to the three main things we eat; protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  All of which are completely necessary to having a healthy human body.

Just for the sake of answering the question, there are also Micro-nutrients which refer to the stuff you might get out of a daily vitamin.  Also very necessary.

Anyways, we all know that this isn’t really my shtick.  I don’t write this blog to wax poetic about scientific things that I barely understand.  Sure, I’ve taught myself a lot about tracking my caloric/macronutrient intake and it seems to work for me, but the real purpose of this post is my sister’s aforementioned knowledge bomb, probably to her complete displeasure.

“Here’s the issue: you can number crunch all you like, however your body will act the way it naturally does regardless of all the “perfect” ratio numbers I could throw at you.”


While out of context, you might compare me to Indiana Jones in search of the golden ratio of macro’s I should be eating (which I totally would never do because there is no way I could compare to him….unless, you know, you wanted to) I really wasn’t.  I was just asking for her help since she’s all educated and junk.

Regardless, her statement got me thinking.  There is definitely such a thing as obsessing too much over the little things when it comes to fitness.  For instance, I casually track my intake.  Seriously.  I don’t freak out when my numbers vary a bit from day to day because I’m not a figure competitor or bodybuilder, nor do I plan to be.  For that, you are welcome.

I think this over-thinking can ultimately lead to over-complication and, subsequently, not achieving your fitness goals or even giving up altogether.  I’ve mentioned in the past that people should “trust the process.”  Don’t you just love ubiquitous statements that tell you absolutely nothing?

That’s my bad, I’m gonna clear it up right now.

All you have to do to be healthy is:

  1.  Eat good/healthy food.  Whole foods.  Vegetables.  Fruit.  Skip the fast food.
  2.  Exercise.  Be active.  Workout at the gym.  Go for a walk.  Don’t sit on the couch or in your        office chair all day.
  3.  Repeat.  Keep going.  Commit to a better lifestyle.  Don’t give up or let an “off” day lead               you to quitting.

Anything that becomes more complex than that is completely unnecessary.  The KISS principle applies to being healthy.

Keep it Simple Shithead.  (In my defense, that’s how my Dad used to say it to me.  I guess you could substitute “Stupid” in there.  To each his own.)

So, trust the process and don’t over-complicate things.

Oh, and sis, seriously… the banana bread.


You all are in for a treat because this week’s post is basically derived entirely from Jim Carrey’s movie Yes Man.  Which can mean only one thing; the gratuitous use of pictures from Jim Carrey flicks.

Prepare yourself.


As usual, a little background is in order.  This week I accomplished a goal that I didn’t even know I wanted.  I ran the Glo Run Washington DC 5k with some friends.

It.  Was.  Awesome.

Let me first say that I don’t really enjoy running.  I have to “practice” running, if you will, because it’s not something that I’m naturally good at.  That being said, because I do it somewhat regularly, I’ve gotten decent at it.  When my buddy said he had an extra ticket for this 5k and asked if I wanted to go I said, “Sure, why not?”

This is out of character for me.  I used to be the guy that would find any reason to not do something that I either had no interest in or that, Morgan Freeman forbid, might even challenge me.

          “I can’t because…of… things.  Things I have to do that aren’t that…,”

          “You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!”

           “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!!” followed by a stomping of feet and a childlike tantrum.

All of these would be suitable methods for me to avoid things.  Lately, though, I’ve been trying a new tact.

Saying, “Yes.”  Turns out it actually works pretty well.

Shocker, I know.

I’ve been pushed, pulled, and straight up dropped out of my comfort zone so many times in the last year I can’t even count them all.  The cool thing is that it usually seems to pay off in some fashion.

In the case of the 5k, I wasn’t so sure.  Most of my training right now focuses on high intensity interval training and not distance running, so I was a little apprehensive about how I was going to do.  Not to mention that a little over a year ago I would have scoffed at the very idea of running a single mile, let alone 3.1.

The .1 matters people… don’t judge me.

So, at the race I started off slow to let my muscles warm up.  I was feeling pretty good, “This ain’t so bad,” I’m thinking.  Then I look around and I have completely left my group behind… or have they left me behind?!  Nope, they’re back there taking selfies (you know who you are, and you know it’s true).  Then I start to realize I’m passing people and—what is this black magic?!—I’m not getting tired?!


Because I was going to pass up an opportunity to put Morgan Freeman in my blog? Nay.

They said I couldn’t fit Morgan Freeman into my blog twice in one post.  BOOM.

Or…. Not?

Maybe, my work has been paying off.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m actually in shape.

Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I’ve finished with a time of 26:13.  That ain’t lightning, I know that, but for me to have run even one sub 9 minute mile a year ago would have been nothing less than a pipe dream.  I had just run 3.1.  YES, 3 POINT 1.


The takeaway here is that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to achieve this if I had said no.  It was an impulse decision that took two seconds to make and, had I gone the other way, it could have been a missed opportunity.  I wouldn’t be learning what I’m learning in the gym if I told my buddy, “Nope, I’ve never done that so I don’t want to try.”   I wouldn’t be where I’m at now if I hadn’t said, “Yeah, I’ll make a change and I’ll go 100%.”

I mentioned in the last post that I seem to jump into things with both feet, occasionally without looking; I think I should clarify that this is a newly learned behavior.  Certainly, more measured approaches have their time and place, but I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve just gotta go with your gut, take the leap, and see what happens.

Don’t be afraid to jump.



In the not so distant past, I wrote an article about listening to your body.  I, being completely biased, think it’s pretty good and has some decent info.

So I promptly ignored it.

I didn’t ignore what my body needed nutritionally; nay, t’was not nearly so subtle.  My body chose to alert me to my stupidity through pain, and lots of it.

Luckily it wasn’t an injury, it was due to me changing up my routine (again).  I started working out with another friend and our plan for that week essentially scorched all of the accessory muscles that I had been ignoring.  These muscles do not take scorn lightly, but I figured, “Meh, I’ll be fine.  Push forward”.

I was wrong (again), which is a trend of mine.

I woke up one day in a state of pure fire the likes of which can only be compared to that of ten thousand burning suns.  All.  Over.  My.  Body.


I didn’t do a damn thing that day.  On one side, this was okay because it was my scheduled rest day.  On the other however, it could have been avoided.  I know myself well enough to know that it would have taken an injury for me to rest before my rest day, which is stupid.  I also know that, after my two rest days, I felt absolutely fine.  The problem is that I was pushing the outside edge of the envelope.

I like pushing myself, its part of why I’ve succeeded and, I think, a necessity for anyone to be successful at anything.  I also like knowing my limits; this gave me some new insight as to what those are and what things I need to work on.

The lesson I’m walking away with, though, is that I came really close to pushing it a bit too far and hurting myself, which would have been a huge setback for me.

Lots of people, including myself, will tell you that your mind will give out long before your body does.  Even believing that, there is a fine line between when you should push yourself because you are capable of more and when you should rest because your body needs time to recover.

For most people who are hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, this isn’t going to be an issue.  If you are just starting out and haven’t done much in the way of exercise, you’re going to feel those initial workouts a little bit more than someone who has been at it for a while.

I wish I had some definite piece of advice for when you should push yourself versus when you should rest, but I don’t.  All I can do is leave you with the ubiquitous, “Listen To Your Body” mantra.

And hope that you learn from my mistakes (again).


I’m for serious. It’s telling you a whole bunch of stuff and, if you’re anything like me, you probably aren’t listening nearly as much as you should. Much like when you don’t finish the “honey do” list — fellas I’m looking at you; if you don’t listen, you’re gonna have a bad time.

So, onward to the background:

I had been doing my HIIT/turbulence routine for a few months and decided that it was time to change it up. My doctor had told me losing weight is no longer my problem and that I just needed to lose the excess fat.

This, my dear friends, is wonderful news. This means that I can start lifting the way I want to; which is to say really heavy. My goal so far was, “lose weight” my goal now is “get jacked”. What I want to do is put on quality lean muscle without the fat. I’ll continue to burn fat during this period, but it’s more of a bi-product of the muscle building. What I hadn’t fully anticipated, though, was that I would need to alter my strategy in the kitchen just as much as my strategy in the gym.

Oh sure, in theory I knew I needed to change a few things, but I didn’t think I would be able to feel a difference and that I would just eat more of the good stuff that I had been eating.

Never have I been so wrong.

I came out of the gym on the first day of my new routine ready to fall over, feeling like I was gonna vomit. I went home and splayed out on the couch feeling miserable for myself. About 20 minutes into my self hate, I sat up and said “a sweet potato sounds delicious.”

I do not know why I said this, but I listened. I took my miserable ass to the kitchen and grabbed a sweet potato I had already baked, heated it up, and I nom nom nom’d the hell out of it.


It was like Popeye and spinach. I felt awesome. Then the lightbulb went off over my head and I felt like an awesome idiot.

My body had essentially been consuming itself because of the intense workout I had done. It NEEDED fuel, in this case, it needed carbs.

Since then, I’ve done a suitable amount of research into what I need to do to fuel my body correctly for my new goals. I feel a million times better after my workouts and I’m seeing genuine progress.

A few things I’ve learned:

1) Your body needs fuel, this I knew from losing weight. Carbs, Fat, Protein. Your goals decide how much of each. When your goals change, however, your fuel needs to adjust as well.

2) Pre-workout meals and Post-workout meals. Timing is everything and everyone is different, but for me these variables can be the difference between an average workout and mind- blowing workout.

3) Track your macronutrients. Carbs, Fat, Protein. I’m not saying you need to weigh your food or obsess over every little number. Just have an idea of what your putting into your body so that when you need to make changes you have a stepping off point.

So, take a look at your goals and really try and pay attention to how you’re feeling. You’re body knows exactly what it needs, all you have to do is listen.


Your Goal, Your Rules.

Posted: September 23, 2013 in diet, fitness, health
Tags: , , , , ,

Over the last few days I’ve had some interesting run-ins with various articles and, in most hypocritical fashion, I think they’re full of it.

I’m only mentioning this because there’s a chance that if you read my blog you also read other fitness related things on the interwebz and if you read what I did, well, things got uncomfortable.

These particular sources of frustration pointed at two of the most glaring problems that people attempting to be healthy run into, at least in my eyes.  The worst part is that, once again, they come from the fitness community itself.

1) Telling you that your way, in regards to how you eat, is wrong because they feel their way is better.

2) You’re goals are unrealistic (because I can’t reach them so you shouldn’t either.)

The first is the easiest to address seeing as I’ve already touched on it in an earlier post.  Moral of the story: just make good choices.  There’s plenty of information out there on how to eat healthy. If you feel good about how you’re eating don’t let someone else knock you down because they do it differently.

The second point, however, is where the real source of my frustration lies.

Your goals are your goals.  If your goal is to be absolutely shredded, jacked, and have a six-pack then DO IT.  If your goal is to drop a few pounds and just be a little healthier then DO IT.  If your goal is to run a marathon then DO IT.  If your goal is to eat a box of Krispy Kreme’s then DO IT… but maybe only once.


There’s a pattern here.

Whatever your goal is, you need to figure out how to reach it.  For the person (aka me) who wants the first goal I listed up there, they are going to have to make much different choices than the person who wants to drop a couple of pounds and keep it off.  The same goes for the person with the goal of running a marathon.  When you set an actual goal, not just a theoretical “wouldn’t it be cool if” thing, but a real life “I’m gonna do this” thing; when you do that, you have already started the process of figuring out what you need to do to get there.

Generally, what “you need to do” involves making a whole bunch of smaller goals that work toward your overarching goal.  Take me for instance; yep, I sure do want a six-pack.  However, I am realistic enough to know that I’m not going to get it overnight or even in the immediate future.  What I do know, though, is that to get there from here I need to work my ass off and eat right.  So I AM.  I make lifestyle choices that get me closer to my goal every day.  I have milestones that let me know that I am, in fact, making progress toward my bigger goal.

Besides, I’m lazy at heart and since this goal is fairly long-term I won’t have to come up with a new one anytime soon.

The problem is when someone questions your goal.

“Is that realistic?  Like, do you actually think you can do it?”

The next time I hear that, somebody is getting judo chopped and I don’t even know what that actually is.


 Really, though.  I will.

There is a more civilized answer, though, and it is a resounding, “YES”.  So: set your goal. achieve your goal, tell everyone else to screw off.


I’m disgusted with myself.

Nay, more than that, I’m disappointed in myself.

Now that I’ve brought you back to the worst thing your parents could ever say to you, I’ll clue you in to the source of my misery.

I’ve become a morning person.

I know.   I’m nauseous just writing it.  Some of you understand my shock, but some of you don’t.  So, why is this revelation so awful?


Because childhood.

There was a day when sleeping half the day away was on my To-Do List, when sleeping in made my day a success, when sleeping in was considered productive in my book.

My dirty little secret?  I like it.

These days, I go to bed excited that I have an alarm set for sometime before 6 (depends on the day) to get me up and to the gym.  I wake up on my off-shift days when I could be sleeping in and go do physical activity.

My 13-year-old self would kick my ass right now for even suggesting such blasphemy.

Despite the betrayal to my inner child, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love the fact that by the time everyone else is starting their day the hardest part of mine is already over.

The benefits I’ve noticed waking up early and getting to the gym really do outweigh the benefits of sleeping in.  I’m more productive the rest of the day, I have more energy the rest of the day, and the endorphins that I’ve got flowing through me make me much happier than the average Northern Virginian (granted, that’s not saying much.)

Besides those obvious improvements, the most surprising benefit to starting out early is actually my improved sleep habits.  I generally go to bed at a decent hour, I fall asleep, and I stay asleep.  Of course, my current night shift schedule tends to wreak havoc on my circadian rhythm no matter what I do but this certainly helps me on my off days.

Now, I fully understand that everyone’s different and everyone does certain things better at certain times.  No big, if you’re the afternoon/evening gym goer then keep on doing your thing.

I used to be the afternoon gym goer and I changed for two reasons.  First, my workout partner liked the mornings.  Second, my gym is way too damn crowded in the afternoon and as much as I like people, I sometimes kind of can’t stand them.

Okay, really, I just don’t like fighting for equipment at the gym.

That your last set?”

“Yes.  But I am going to sit here and text my girlfriend for the next ten minutes.”

I’m not the only person who feels this way, (obscure reference time!) drummer Martin Atkins’ piece of advice for being successful is, “Get the fuck out of bed.”

Eloquent, elegant, and classy.

If that doesn’t do it for you, take it from a former late sleeper; you might actually like being a morning person.  Give it a shot, worst case scenario you just flip the pillow to cool side and go back to sleep.


Which is exactly why you should get a workout partner.


Of course, the gym doesn’t have to miserable.  Personally, I love going to the gym and look forward to it. I’d be lying, though, if I said there weren’t days when I needed some motivation to actually peel myself from my incredibly comfortable bed and drag my sorry butt to the gym.

Even if the gym isn’t your thing it’s always good to have someone to keep you on track.  I don’t care if you just like to go for a walk in the evenings, having someone text you, “Ready for our walk?” will get you off the couch on those nights you’d rather watch Friends and Seinfeld re-runs.

That is a thing, right? No?  Yeah, I don’t watch those either…

For those of us that do go to the gym, you cannot tell me you haven’t been tempted to cut off a rep or two on that last killer set.  First of all, don’t cheat your sets and reps.  Second, we’ve all been there.  It’s a whole lot harder to sell yourself short when your buddy is the one doing the counting.  It’s also much easier to deal with pain and fatigue when you aren’t doing it on your own.

My workout partner and I pretty much hit the gym together all the time, but there are days when our schedules just don’t match up.  On those days, whoever finishes the workout first seems to throw down the gauntlet to the other via text.

“Knocked out 20 reps at 500 on legs!”

“I hate you.  Challenge accepted.”

It’s not something we plan, but it does make us each push harder when the other isn’t there.

My buddy and his wife have to be the greatest example of workout partners I’ve ever met.  They are in the gym like clockwork every day at 0600 and hit it hard for at least an hour.  Is she anywhere near his level of physical strength?  Nope, but that doesn’t stop her from kicking ass on her sets and pushing him to constantly improve.  Likewise, he pushes her to give her best every set and doesn’t care at all that she’s not pushing the same weight he is.

Frankly, if she was pushing the same weight, it would be the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen.

This brings me to my final point, and really I’m just pointing to a past post.  It’s not about finding a workout partner who lifts what you lift, runs as far or as fast as you run, or even has the exact same goals as you.  It’s about finding someone who pushes you past where you were yesterday and helps hold you accountable to your goals.


So far with Relentless, I’ve focused on fairly non- tangible ideas.  While those have their place, I figured it would be worth it to put some practical stuff in here as well.  This post specifically is about my current workout routine.   I do plan on adding another page to the blog about the different workouts I do and, eventually, I also plan to put one up that has some healthy recipes on it that I use.

First off, I’m no cross fitter.  I’ve encountered some elitist attitudes among cross fitters (which, to be fair, also exist in standard gyms) and I feel no need to pay the price of a year’s membership at my gym for one month at a cross fit gym to do workouts that are easily looked up on the internet.  That being said, I know some awesome people who love cross fit, so do you’re thing if that’s what you enjoy.

Sorry, can't resist poking a little fun.  I'll make fun of my fellow gym rats soon enough, don't you worry.

Sorry, can’t resist poking a little fun. I’ll make fun of my fellow gym rats soon enough, don’t you worry.

I tend to do more traditional lifting in the gym; it’s what I was taught, it’s what I enjoy. Since I’m still currently in a cutting phase I’ve been incorporating some circuit training to keep my heart rate elevated, fear not fellow gym goers, my circuits don’t take up more than one piece of equipment at a time.

I like to split my muscle groups up, currently those splits are:

-Legs and shoulders.

-Back and biceps.

-Chest and triceps.

On any given day I start with cardio on the treadmill.  I’m not going for insane here, nor is it even about distance.  I jog for 20 minutes.  Whatever the fastest pace is that I can do and reach 20 minutes, I do.  I’ve noticed that this has drawn my focus away from distance and turned it towards endurance.  Consequently, this has allowed me to increase my speed and endurance at the same time without sweating the details that the digital treadmills like to inundate you with.

Tip: Cover up the readout of the treadmill with your towel once you get it all set up, that way you aren’t stressing over the numbers. 

After that, I pick two workouts per muscle group.  I pretty much go with whatever me and my partner are feeling for that day.  I know, “How do you get into a proper routine by not doing the same workouts for weeks at a time?”  I hear what your saying and when it comes to the goal of putting on muscle mass I completely agree with being more regimented in which lifts I perform.  The purpose of this particular style of workout, for me, is to burn fat and not lose a lot of muscle mass while doing it.

For this example we’ll go with Chest and Triceps.


Sorry it’s small (zing!), sometimes WordPress defeats me, click on it to enlarge it

What this shows is that between each set of every exercise I do 30 seconds of jump rope and 30 seconds of some abs exercise.  When it comes to abs I tend to mix it up and do something different between each different exercise i.e. decline sit ups, flutter kicks, leg raises, etc.

You don’t have to jump rope.  If a treadmill is convenient you can run for 30 seconds, if a bench is nearby you can do step ups.  The goal is to keep the heart-rate elevated throughout the entire workout rather than rest between each set.  Now, it may seem counter-intuitive, but I think you’ll find that you recover from the actual weight lifting portion faster with these intervals.  I would say that it has something to do with increased blood-flow but then I’d be talking way above my pay-grade, for all I know it’s all in my head.

Also, while the goal is to keep the pulse elevated that does NOT mean it’s time to compromise form on the lift for speed.  That’s what the intervals of cardio and ab work are for.  When I get to the lift portion of the circuit, I slow down and control my movements.

While not the main goal, I’ve seen decent gains in strength by doing workouts like these, but my overall cardio level and my core strength have gone up by leaps and bounds while also causing my fat levels to drop.  My gym partner and I are only continuing this for about another week, which will bring us up to 4 weeks total on this plan before we switch to a program designed to build more lean muscle mass.

Sadly, it isn’t over yet.  To finish up this workout, me and my partner head to the weight machine area of our gym to squeeze out any last bits of effort we’ve got.   We finish up with three rounds of the following exercises done in another circuit fashion, one exercise after the other:

-Standing Calves Raise

-Machine Biceps Preacher Curl

-Triceps Dips

-Another core ab exercise, preferably one we haven’t hit yet

I’m sure that there are other better workouts to accomplish what I’ve written here, but my workout buddy showed me this routine and it kicked my ass.  Naturally, I enjoyed that and decided to keep it up.  By all means, search the internet and talk to your friends to find a workout that accomplishes the goals you have in mind.


It’s dumb.

I talk to plenty of people who don’t want to go to the gym because they “aren’t in shape.”  Pardon me, but don’t gyms exist to get us and keep us in shape?  Unfortunately, I was the exact same way.

Because, on the inside, we’re all just a bunch of high school kids who don’t want to be made fun of.

I worked out for almost a year at a tiny gym at my firehouse before I joined an actual gym.  While this served my needs, I could have made at least the same progress at a regular gym, but probably more.  I didn’t because I was embarrassed to be seen in a gym out of shape and weak.

If I could go back and change anything about what I’ve done, I would join a gym the second I started getting healthy and I would OWN THAT SHIT.

People want to waste their time at the gym judging you? Let them, because you aren’t stopping.  In a couple of months they’ll be the ones crying in a corner with no changes to their body while a beastly and in shape you is warming up with their max.

I know for many, it’s not about the other people; it’s the infinite amount of machines, weights, and weird dangly thingies from the ceiling that intimidate people.

“I don’t know what that is, but I am NOT doing it in public.”

I was lucky that I had my Dad, a retired Marine, around to show me the ropes of lifting weights.  I may have been fat and out of shape, but I was comfortable in a gym.  Someone who doesn’t have that kind of exposure is going to have to find another route, but all is not lost.

For a cheap option, find a friend.  You’ve got to know someone who works out somewhat regularly, see if they can’t help you out.  I’d be willing to bet they wouldn’t mind if they’re any type of friend at all.

Most gyms these days actually offer an introductory session that will get you familiar with the gym; they may even offer a few training sessions to help get you on the right path.  It’s not like your signing up for boot camp, usually it’s 3-5 sessions to help get you on track.

Also, people love to scoff at those organized classes gym’s offer.

Don’t.  Some of them have teeth and they bite.

Take a class or two, try a few things out.  The people who teach these classes are generally trainers themselves and the good ones will help you out if they see you struggling.

Gym’s are there for people to get healthy, not just for the already healthy people to stay that way.  Don’t let your high school ingrained insecurities keep you from finding a gym that’s right for you and getting to work.

Most of all, and easier said than done, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing in the gym.  I don’t care that the monster next to me is putting up the weight of an elephant while I’ve got my comparatively measly weights in my hands.  Everyone had to start somewhere.

Go in, focus on you, do work, and get out.  Results will come.