Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why workout? What's the big deal with the gym? I'll tell you.

Lately the topic of why I enjoy lifting weights has come up a few times with more than one person; more specifically why I'm a bit obsessive over it. I'd like to address the whole topic of people working out and the passion behind it. Maybe that will help people who don't get it to understand better. I have been asked a whole bunch of times why I'm so into working out, and what's so special about going to the gym, etc., etc., etc. so I'll see if I can explain. Now then....

The weight room is a place where people go to better themselves, and for that reason alone anybody I see in the weight room with me deserves my respect and I deserve theirs. It says something about a person if they are committed to going to the gym multiple times a week to exercise and better themselves physically. It says something about what kind of person you are if you are dedicated enough to go to the gym the majority of the week and sweat and work hard and push on through the pain to get the results you want. I have seen bad reactions from people when I say this, but honestly, I have a special respect reserved for other people I see at the gym all the time because they're driven to better themselves and they are there all the time as I am, pushing their limits and reaching for more.

In the weight room, everybody is equal. A lower class man could be working out next to the CEO of a fortune 500 company and in the gym it's all about work ethic, strength, and the will to push through the pain and sweat. That CEO may have all the money in the world, but that means nothing when it comes down to who's willing to sweat more and work harder and lift more.

In the weight room it's you versus the weights. It doesn't matter if other people don't think you work out, it doesn't matter if they can't tell you love lifting more than anything, what matters is the weight you put up week in and week out and the fact that you're busting your ass in there to get stronger. The satisfaction of setting a new personal best with an exercise is something that nobody can take away from you, and the strength it takes to do it is something they can't touch either. The years of working out for hours a day, almost every day, the constant drive to better yourself, and the countless amounts of sweat you put into working out is something that people who don't work out will never understand. They will never understand the determination you have and the work ethic you possess, and they won't understand that huge smile on your face when you finish a workout and you've benched more than you ever dreamed you could or you leg pressed over 4 times your own weight. They just won't get it, and that's alright.

The weights don't change, they don't take it easier on you, they don't give in if you're not having a good day. They make you work for everything you get, they make you earn it. The weights teach you lessons about yourself. You learn what you're really capable of in the gym, you learn that just because your muscles are burning and the lactic acid is building up and you can't catch your breath doesn't mean you're finished. It means that you're in your zone, and that you're putting in some serious work. It teaches you not to give up on other things, it teaches you to stick with something until you get the results you want, it teaches you not to settle for anything less than what you want.

It reveals your own inner character, because at the end of the day, you're either going to grit your teeth and crank out that last set or you're going to make up an excuse and quit on yourself. When you find that you're tough enough to work yourself to exhaustion and even nausea at times, you'll find that you develop self-respect and confidence. The physical benefits will come too, but more important than anything else - you'll know what you're capable of, you'll know how hard you're willing to work, and you'll know just how strong you can be. And nobody can ever, ever take that away from you.

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