Over the period I’ve realised that several things you learn while doing some fitness exercises can be applied to other areas of life. Here are my life lessons from a gym session:
1. Realise that Results take time. So, be patient.
I had a friend who wanted to build his abdominals (the famous six-packs). On his first day at the gym, he was so excited about the idea of becoming ‘pumped’ in one week that he did all the imaginable exercises. One week later when I called him to go to the gym together, he declined. According to him, he wasn’t seeing the results of his efforts – no broad shoulders nor well-defined muscles.
You see, understanding that anything worth building takes time is fundamental in life. Many people withdraw too early because they feel that the results aren’t there. They fail to realise that once you begin doing anything good the results start coming, but first in an invisible form. And sometimes it takes months or even years before the tangible, concrete results will be felt.
It’s like building a skyscraper. When you’re digging the foundation metres deep and pouring in all kinds of quality mixture no one sees the amount of work that is being done underneath. But you keep building until it comes up to the surface where everyone can appreciate your labour.
So is life. Because the results aren’t yet visible to all doesn’t mean that they are not there. If you continue, they’ll show eventually.
Also, remember that we are cut differently. So, while some people can build certain muscles in a few months, it can take others a little longer to achieve the same result.
So, don’t give up. If you keep doing the right things consistently, you’ll achieve the same result in the long run.
2. You must do the right things to get the right results.
In life just as in body exercise, good results aren’t always a consequence of one thing but a contribution from various causes. I mean, getting a well-toned body or a flat tummy isn’t a function of going to the gym alone, there are other things that one must do to achieve those goals – you must put in the number of reps needed, train the correct muscle, eat right etc.
Assuming you want to have some broad shoulders and you spend all day training your biceps, you won’t get there. You must train the right muscles on your shoulders and back to have that.
Furthermore, you’ll only achieve little or no results if before or after training you continue consuming junk foods you should discard. You must eat right for your training to be effective and efficient.
So, life is not a simple linear equation but quadratic, where so many variables interact to give the desired result. So, have that in mind when pursuing your dreams; most times, many things contribute towards achieving your goals. Know those variables and factor them in when planning.
As the Holy Scriptures say, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.
3. Don’t assume you know it, ask an instructor.
Now, if I get very excited after watching several YouTube videos of professional bodybuilders, and with such excitement, I hit the gym lifting 100 and 200 kg of dumbbells without listening to an instructor, you can be sure that you won’t see me there again for several months. Why? The soreness that kicks in the following day will be so much that the excitement will be gone in a second.
This is especially important for people who are starting off as novices. Though they are excited about going to the gym, they don’t know what exercises are good for what part of the body. An instructor guides and helps you develop a workable plan seeing he has experience dealing with people like you.
An instructor is also important for those who have been training for some time (and as professionals too) because having watched them grow, he’s able to offer more customised advice on things to work on.
So, it’s very good that you’re excited about your new business venture, new prospects of career advancement and all whatnot but ask for counsel. Not from everyone, but from GOD and from trusted people with experience who can guide you.
You’ll be told the muscles to train first, how to train them and what weights to start with. You need guidance, that way you’ll save yourself so much hurt along the way and your progress might even be quicker than those of your mentors.
For in the multitude of counsellors, says the Holy Bible, there is safety.
4. Follow rules. You can improve on them as you grow in experience and understanding.
In medicine, for example, there are guidelines. Guidelines are meant to help orient a physician on what to do in a given clinical situation. They won’t factor in every scenario that can possibly play out in the life of patients because that’d be almost impossible; they simply help to guide the physician in his decision-making process on how to diagnose what a patient is suffering from, manage and treat him.
Guidelines aren’t meant to transform the doctor into a robot, as there’s always room for the experience of individual doctors and the peculiarity of each patient. So, guidelines are very important because they’re things that have been proven over several years of research to represent the best practice but there’s still room to accommodate doctors’ judgment on a given situation.
Now, there are people who have problems with keeping rules; that’s a recipe for getting stuck. It’s true that some rules don’t make sense, but you must follow them, learn the ropes, discover the loopholes and then improve on them.
If you don’t follow rules, you’ll have a problem advancing to the next stage in your life. It’s good to be crazy with innovative ideas, but when there is no pattern to your craze, it becomes insanity.
5. Consistency is key. So, to sustain the results, you must continue training.
Some people get so excited when they see some bit of hypertrophization of their biceps or pecs (pectoral muscles), or when they notice some regression of their belly fat that they stop. They feel satisfied and for months they’ll stop training.
You see, the results you gain can quickly dissipate if not sustained. Always work on going farther than you initially set out to because the risk of slipping to the old you is always lurking around the corner.
No result is guaranteed if not constantly worked on. So, in life pursuits, consistency is key.
You can’t show up to the gym when you feel like it and then disappear for months. It’s better to train 45 minutes every three days than train for two hours every two months.
You can’t alternate between junk and healthy foods and expect to lose weight.
Consistency in doing the right things is extremely important to achieving any set goal in life.
6. No pain, no gain.
Something anyone who trains for the first time or after a long time observes is the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Basically, it’s that pain or stiffness you feel in your muscles the day(s) after training, which can last for an entire day or more.
What happens during your body exercise is that as the muscles contract and relax, there is minor damage (microtrauma) to its fibres. Now, these fibres eventually get repaired becoming stronger than they were prior to the training and so does their adaptability. The repeated-bout effect sets in and with successive exercises, the soreness improves and you’re able to do even more.
Now, there cannot be any growth without a tear occurring in your muscles; it is the tear and the consequent repair that results in the building of your muscles.
In life, just as in muscle exercises, you must be willing to go through pains, stiffness, strenuous and unaccustomed exercises to reach the peak. If you’re not willing to cry and go through tears, you may as well just relax and watch your TV.
But if you want to grow, you must be willing to become uncomfortable, for there is no growth in your comfort zone.
Someone said that “pain is just weakness leaving your body”.
7. Health is all you’ve got.
As long as you’re alive, your body is your closest companion and greatest asset. So, eat right, exercise your body and take good care of it, you’ll need it.
Exercise is like telling your body “you’re gonna hate me for this, but you’ll thank me later” SHARE WITH FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COLLEAGUES. Tell me some lessons you’ve learnt going to the gym in the comment section