It’s 6:45pm. You dump your sweaty gym bag in a testosterone cramped locker and take a hypercritical look in the mirror. You’re V is unmistakably evident. But of course, defying anatomical physics is not beyond you either. In the peripheral blur, protein bars change hands like candy cane in Vegas, and all that lays between you and the weights room is that guy that stole your chest the night before and left you with the one you’re now wearing.
A couple of BCAAs later, you’re stalking the bench press like a lion on heat. Counting the plates, sizing up your next p.b., and then, when the other, larger lions have had their fill, your workout begins. You lift three glorious sets, the bar bobs up and down like a helium balloon and you’re buoyed by your tenacity despite your size.
Your next station is the peck deck, but first you fetch a drink from the water cooler. On the way, you catch an eye full of yourself and adjust your post bench teeter to a defined swagger. Your arms return to the position you call the gunslinger, a feature you were sure would become permanent after your last pump left them paralysed at forty five degree angles.
When you return, you burn out a warm up set, then martyr yourself over the handles in a slump that screams overload to the unwitting passer by. A few minutes passes before your first working set and when you lift, you’re a little disappointed that you don’t make your p.b. But scratch that, you’ve already benched today, thats probably why you’re not firing. You squeeze out a few more flies, but your arms aren’t giving you the goods, and the deck doesn’t seem overly sympathetic to your cries.
Now you stare out over the expanse of industrial pulleys and levers and cold steel and wonder what might be next in store for you. The clock reads 7:15. A medium rare steak with a side of streaky bacon perhaps. You’re hungry. Some dips, followed by a some core work might do the trick.
After some awkwardly misunderstood hand gestures and an absolute minimum of eye contact, you find yourself chest to chest with another well hung buck by the dip station. Fearing you may cause damage to the lesser male in the ensuing clash, you decide to let him call first dibs. A testament to your evolution.
By the time you step back into the locker room, you debate the merits of a shower by measuring the olfactory snapback on a raised arm. After all, you barely broke a sweat out there.
Where did my workout go wrong?
There are several things to keep in mind when heading to the gym, and if you’ve ever subjected yourself to a personal trainer, you can probably relate to the following.
Training with purpose.
Have a plan when you hit the gym, know the areas you’ll work on today, and have a set of exercises that will achieve that. Making up a workout on the fly can be a time waster and you’ll more than likely find yourself working on the exercises you like (and don’t need), or at the stations that are free rather than completing the routine you intended.
Training the alternatives.
Know several alternative exercises for each that you intend to do at the gym. This enables you to carry on when a piece of equipment isn’t available. For example: You’re training triceps, and the tricep pull down station isn’t available, easy, get a bench and execute some skull crushers. There’s no benches? Easy, take to the floor and do some seated dips, or stand and do some overhead tricep extensions. The trick here is to keep your workout rolling.
Know how long your workout is going to take and make it happen. A well executed routine should have you losing some sweat at the gym, and that requires discipline. That beat feeling you get from working with a personal trainer is because they pushed you hard for an hour and didn’t let up. You can do the same for yourself. Don’t cheat your rest breaks by adding an extra minute to ponder life while your body slips back into its leisure suit. Work to the clock, or use an interval timer to keep you honest, thats what the trainer is doing. Keeping you honest.
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