“It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.”
Damn right, Hank.
For 26 years I have been around the iron (and 1 year the shitty brown Weider plastic). I have been in smelly gyms with steroid addled freaks, clean gyms with high-end clientele, hot warehouses with only a handful of dumbbells, air-conditioned high-tech sports clubs, and every variation in-between. I have learned the lessons that the gym can teach us about life.
Below are 5 that seem to have a commonality among other iron initiated people. No particular order on these.
1) Failure is temporary(and necessary) Think about how many times you’ve “failed” in the gym. What do you next time? You try again…one more rep…5 more pounds. Then you succeed. Then you fail again. Then you try again. Sound familiar? You read it in every successful person’s biography.
2) Be confident but humble There is a very large difference between confidence and arrogance. You CAN’T be arrogant with 500 lbs. You will learn a lesson in pain you won’t soon forget. You CAN believe in yourself and in your abilities. Everyday challenges are overcome by the confident, by the person that can believe they have the gifts, the training, the environment to succeed. Arrogant people think they have the right to succeed, that it is OWED to them. Arrogant people get punched in the nose.
3) Some days just suck Guess what? Today might suck. Today might suck in every possible way. You know what else? It probably won’t suck as bad tomorrow. Some times you just aren’t feeling it. You don’t always have to be “on”. It’s ok. You don’t beat yourself up over it.
4) Results correlate directly with effort The philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Yea, pretty much…unless it’s a lottery winner. They’re just lucky pricks.
In the weight room, no one ever says, “Dude got lucky and squatted 650″. You succeed because you put in the work.
5) Don’t be a dick More politely: Don’t judge others. Everyone has their own path. Maybe YOUR goals are completely different from someone else’s. Maybe someone totally digs being a barista. Don’t get pissed at them if they don’t want to be a CEO. Maybe someone is cool just running on the treadmill. Don’t hate because they aren’t under the squat bar twice a week. You don’t know most people’s situation or goals. Just let them do them. You do you.*
*I have to add a caveat on this one. I am a trainer and an educator. I feel like I have a responsibility to help others find a better way to reach their goals. Some people do weird crap in the gym because they just don’t know a better way. In this instance, I feel like it is my responsibility to intervene. If you have a special skill or experience, it is ok to help someone struggling. But you still can’t be a dick about it.
Thanks to everyone on Facebook that sent me their personal “lessons.” I was not really surprised that most of them correlated. Those that know, know.