“if I feel I’m making progress then I am making progress”
Were fresh in the year 2018, and the gym has been like a zoo. Although it sucks waiting for machines, benches and even waiting in line at the water fountain, I love seeing all the new faces in the gym. It’s important to remember that these people are making an effort to better themselves and achieve their goals. Everyone has their own story and it’s not my place to judge anyone because lord knows I was in their shoes at some point. Some of the new faces are first time gym goers trying to live the gym life for the first time in their lives. Some are those who fell off with their fitness and are trying to get back into it. These newcomers all seem to have similar looks on their faces.
When you first start at the gym, motivation is high, but confidence is low. These newcomers share a daunting look that this is going to be a lot harder than they thought. You look in the mirror after a couple of workouts and there are no results to be seen, and it really is disheartening. They realize it will take daily work and persistence to reach their goals, and it doesn’t come easy. But as someone who has gone through it, I can share some tips on how to better go through this period and stick with it for the long haul.
Tip 1: Pump Theory
- This is a theory that I came up with myself and really has no academic fact to it, it is just a personal philosophy I went to the gym with. When you lift, your muscles fill with blood and it gives you a feeling of a pump. This pump feeling is what I focused on. When you get a pump, your making progress, so I chased this with every workout. You won’t see this in the mirror off the bat, but instead it is something that you can feel, so focus on that. A tip for getting a nice pump is to do dropsets. Dropsets will give you a thick and juicy pump feeling. Hit a dropset for your first few lifts and let this feeling of juiciness motivate you for the rest of the workout.
Tip 2: Stay off the scale
- New year’s comes with resolutions. How many of us have said this is the year I’m going to lose that 10-20 pounds? If your stepping on the scale daily waiting to see the number drop you’re going to be discouraged. The first few days you might see results from dropping water weight but then it will trail off and discouragement sets in. Instead step on the scale every two weeks or a month, take note of the changes, but don’t make that your sole focus in the gym. I focus on feel, if I feel I’m making progress then I am making progress. Body change isn’t some linear perfect line on a graph, it is a staggering and frustrating process that takes time. Focus on the feel, not the number.
Tip 3: Look at your eyes, not your body
- When your head is on a swivel in the gym, your focusing on everyone but yourself, even though you’re the reason you’re at the gym. It is tough to see those who are smaller than you lifting twice as much as you, but that’s how it goes in the beginning. You need to accept and come to terms with this. I would find myself looking at others, then looking at myself and judging myself. This lowered my confidence and it would ruin my workouts. When you put the blinders on in the gym, you are forced to focus on yourself. I wouldn’t look at my body, I would look at my eyes in the mirror. This allows you tap into a motivated and focused mind state. Each set, each rep is yours to progress. I found myself having fun with myself. I’d catch myself smiling when I couldn’t get that last rep up, but I knew next time that rep is mine to own. The mind is your biggest obstacle when it comes to gains, so stay in your zone. If you can believe you can get there, then that’s half the battle right there.
Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”