Eugh, the gym ... seriously?


This the photo of a rather sweaty me. It’s not glamorous, it’s not pretty, but it’s a reminder to me about something very important. A reminder that your body is capable of much more than at times the mind will allow you to believe, and that sometimes all it takes is something small to change everything.

You see, last night I had intended on going to the gym after work. I got home from work, I felt lazy after dinner, and lay on the couch , suddenly it was almost 8:30 and I was resolved to the fact that sod it … too late now to workout. I started to feel a bit guilt and thought, well even if I go do a short workout – that it will support my goal pf creating a habit of exercising.

At the moment my focus isn’t so much about “beasting” myself in the gym – and actually I think that’s an utterly daft expression that people use, just like “no Pain no gain” again a very stupid saying….. doing workouts should be about purpose – what is it you are trying to achieve. With this in mind then you will focus on what exercises you need to do, and to what intensity. This doesn’t mean having to “beast” yourself.

Anyway, with my focus of simply trying to create a habit of exercising again – whats more important to me right now is GOING to the gym, as opposed to the actual full workout itself – yes I want to feel good after a session, but priority is to get my ass to the gym in the first place.

To support this, I am doing only exercises I know I am more likely to do – for example, there is absolutely no use in me saying I will go do 20 minutes on the rower as I know I will give up after 2 probably (I hate the rower)… however I know that if I do brisk walking on incline on the treadmill, or some time boxing or using the Cybex Arc Trainer I am a LOT more likely to finish my routine as I find these exercises not as daunting as others.

So anyway, back to last night – at about half 8 I hopped in the car ( I was dress for gym since half 5 but had been dossing trying to avoid it) – I drove to the gym and went to my go-to machine – the Cybex Arc Trainer – which is such a fantastic piece of equipment. You can do strength and cardio workouts on it. Coincidentally this was one of the first machines that defeated me on The Biggest Loser, as I found it very tough at the start – however this was all a mental thing. Now, I am it’s master and by god do I use it when I hop on !! So, on I went set the timer for 20 minutes thinking ah sure even if I do 10 its better than nothing. But once I started and got my tunes pumping I was instantly in the zone – good music is SO crucial and maybe I’ll do a separate blog on that.

I finished my 20 minutes on the Arc Trainer but didn’t feel just ready to finish do did 3 rounds of kettlebells also – totally unexpected. What was initially something I was trying to avoid, something I felt really demotivated about and really lazy about – had turned into the sweatiest, most intense and endorphin pumping workout of the past year easily. The sweat was literally streaming off my face, my heart rate was elevated to a good rate, and I felt fantastic after my workout which lasted a total of 30 mins.

What I am trying to get at is that our mind can play tricks on us, it can have us feel sorry for ourselves, it can have us feel lazy – when infact our body is secretly raring to go and full of energy. Our mind really is a funny thing – as mention in my previous blogs – its something I have invested a lot of time into understanding. This picture will now remind me on those days whereby I can’t be arsed – that I CAN DO IT – as can you. I’m an awful procrastinator regarding workouts, but yesterday was another lightbulb moment proving me that if you just give yourself a little nudge – amazing things can happen.

So if you find yourself feeling the same, and going through the motions but not actually following through with a workout, stop and asses do you actually find the routine you have in any way manageable or motivating – if not change it. Make a list of what exercises you know you can do, and that you find not too scary – this could even be as simple as walking. Use these then as your foundation for a workout and to help you create the habit of exercising – once that habit is in place then you can build on it to fine tune the exercises a bit more. A routine, no matter how good it is, will not be effective if you aren’t committed to it.

I also found an awesome quote from one of my idols Christopher Reeve (Superman):

"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.

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© Paddy Cunningham