Having spent a considerable amount of my life in gyms and fitness centers, I always find myself watching people working out.
I know, I know. That's a little creepy right?
Let me explain though (because that makes it any less creepy?).
I can't help but wonder what some people think about, before they walk out of the locker room and begin their workouts. I have to admit that more often than not, my focus is purely on what I want to accomplish during that workout. It's nothing more than a way for me to challenge myself and see what I'm capable of at that given moment. Constantly striving for the next rep while my muscles are burning and my body quivers.
Watching other people workout, I don't see the same thing. I don't see that same dedication and drive to achieve a goal that was set. What I see more often than not, is mindless wandering and people just going through the motions. I find myself calling into question whether or not each one of these people has even really thought about what they want to accomplish. It's none of my business and quite frankly, I don't care really.
As I see it, when you enter the gym there are three things that you should always expect.
1. You should feel challenged
This isn't a new concept, every time we walk into the gym or fitness center or wherever you do your workouts. You should always challenge yourself to do better than you did before. This is what makes us better. I would also add that when challenging yourself, it's easier when you have a plan. So follow so type of workout regimen that allows you to scale your workouts based off a goal that you have set for yourself.
For instance, if you want to be able to deadlift 500 pounds or lose fat, you'll have to develop a plan (or adopt one of the zillions available in the interwebz) to utilize for that specific goal. It's really not rocket science people. If you took a little bit of time to ask yourself what it is that you are trying to gain out of working out, everything else will fall into place.
When in doubt, ask for help from qualified professionals. Key word being qualified, but that's a blog for another time.
2. You should feel uncomfortable, but not in pain
If you're lifting weights and the weight that you have chosen allows you to complete rep after rep without any type of discomfort, then you should be wondering what kind of benefit are you reaping from this?
I can tell you, not much. It isn't that using a light weight is inherently worthless, just the way you use it. So if you did a set using a weight that you could only complete 6-8 reps from and then dropped the weight down to something really light to do a “burn out” then I would argue that this serves much more of a benefit than just lifting light weight 'til the sun comes up.
3. You should expect your workout to test your limits
Every time you train, whether it be weight training or sprints or some other type of physical activity, your goal should always be to go above and beyond what you think you're capable of.
As a warning, exercise is unfortunately inherently dangerous. Especially when you are not paying attention or inexperienced. When done properly, training is no more dangerous than driving a car or eating food. Once in a while though, you hydroplane or take a bite larger than you can handle and something bad happens. Not to worry, just brush yourself off and keep moving forward.
Constantly test your limits to see what you are capable of. I'm sure you'll find out more about yourself than just how much you can lift or how fast you can run.
What do you think?