Written by Zach Grossfeld
The gym has been a consistent part of my life for the past 8 years. Throughout that time, my goals have changed, my workouts have shifted, but one thing has remained constant: my time in the gym. For me, no week is complete without 3-5 sessions pushing myself beneath the bar. Have I always been in shape? Not even close. Here are some tips and mindsets from a former fat kid who will never stop working out.
I grew up as a chubby kid.
I never breached morbid obesity, but my round figure qualified me as the "fat" friend in any group.
As the subject of many fat jokes, I learned that the "don't judge a book by its cover" mantra is bullshit. People do it, especially teenagers. While the mantra sounds ideal in theory, the world does not operate based on interior beauty.
If I see a tattered, discolored book on the shelf, I'm not going to read it. If you're an overweight middle schooler, the fat jokes are coming. Back in the day, I remember looking down at my nipples regularly in the shower and wondering why they stuck out so far.
Huh, maybe I am fat.
Early on, The drive to look better fueled my workouts. I didn't necessarily want to be popular, but I no longer wanted to be porky. So, before my freshman year of high school, I started running every morning.
The fat began to slide off, but the lack of weight training blessed me with a skinny-fat figure. I looked relatively thin but lacked definition.
Then, college baseball came along.
Deadlifts, squats, rows, and bench sparked a fire inside of me I had never felt. When you get under the bar, you either lift it, or you don't.
I could channel all the stress, all the needless assignments, all of the times I sounded like a babbling idiot to a female into the weight room.
The anticipation of a backbreaking workout may suck, but once I endured it, I have never regretted a single session. I learned that I had to lift the weights mentally as much as I did physically.
When you walk up to deadlift four hundred pounds, the mind can start saying things like "this is too heavy, you'll never get this up, or turn around pussy."
The body will soon follow.
But, when you tell yourself that you can lift a weight that you've yet to conquer, and then you smash it, few better feelings exist.
So, why should you never stop working out? Or if you don't work out, why should you start?
I'll give you four reasons:
The Mental Edge
Looking Better Naked
Mental Edge I've already touched on.
Physical and psychological fortitude under the iron translates to interactions outside of the gym.
When training becomes a non-negotiable mechanism in your routine, other aspects of life seem more manageable. Conference calls, social interactions, hitting quarterly goals, and asking for a raise can be supplemented by the strength built beneath the bar. When you make a workout plan and show up, other parts of your life will fall in line.
Looking better naked?
Life's more fun when you're proud of how you look. When taking off a shirt at the beach or in the bedroom, nobody wants to feel self-conscious. You don't have to look like Adonis, but working out will provide more confidence in the moment as well as future benchmarks to hit.
Trust me, jiggling in the dark isn't fun.
What do receipts have to do with working out? The body is one large receipt for the work in the gym. The second you see someone, you know whether they follow a decent workout routine or rot away on the couch.
The gym is an equalizer.
Billionaires or bakers can't pay for a great body. When you transform from chubby to fit, people notice and treat you differently. The receipt determines these surface-level reactions.
Finally, working out increases longevity.
Three years out of college baseball, my goals have changed. No longer are my workouts centered around lifting as heavy as possible. Now, I train in supersets with little rest between sets.
I still challenge my body every other week with near-maximum loads, but I stay grounded in the medium to moderate weight range four to five times per week.
My main driver is to perform the activities that I love, like snowboarding and hiking, until I'm 75. Maxing out on squat is great, but not when you can't walk for three days. Moderate weight allows me to tax my muscles with solid form and stay consistent in my favorite physical activities.
You may enjoy weighted supersets, or maybe you enjoy swimming or biking? Perhaps you love both? I dislike steady-state cardio, so I built cardio into my workouts with little rest. Experiment. The internet is overflowing with workout information, both good and bad.
Do the research, find what works for you, and most importantly, get in the gym.
All the preparation in the world doesn't mean a speck if you don't put in the sweat equity.
I've got deadlifts and chest press today.
What's your superset?