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  • Vince Marsland

4 Life Lessons I've Learned from the Gym

In an effort to get myself into some semblance of shape and to have wedding photos (I’m getting married in September) where I don’t look like a young Jabba the Hut I started going to the gym back in March. So far it has been a success in that in conjunction with some diet changes I can honestly say that I’ve lost 8 kg (roughly 18 lbs) in five months. Not too shabby.

As my mind tends to wander onto more important things while peddling the stationary bike or walking the stair stepper towards nowhere/heaven I figured I’d share some of these random revelations.

1. Move to your own beat; AKA gym music is terrible

We’ve all been there, sweating profusely while some horrible hip hop song blares so loudly it resonates in your bones. Seriously, who chooses these playlists?

I, like many others chooses to indulge in homemade workout playlists with the volume at an unhealthy level to drown out the background noise. This has the effect of being able to move at a tempo dictated by myself and not governed by the before mentioned gym manager with poor music taste. Overall this is a good thing. You shouldn’t live your life governed by the rhythm of others. Forge your own path, make your own playlist.

2. Flash without substance is hollow; AKA music videos are really weird without the music

My gym like many others out there have multiple TVs set up to entertain you while you burn away yesterday’s desert you snuck and like many gyms these TVs are muted (due to the aforementioned music). Watching the various singers and pop stars gyrating around without their accompaniment can be farcical to say the least.

I know that many are in awe of entertainers and to them I’d suggest tuning in, muting your TV, and watching those who intimidate you twerk and twitch in silence. It will likely give you a new perspective on those we put on pedestals.

3. Be aware of your surroundings; AKA use your senses and don’t be an iPod zombie

I mentioned before that I am one of those with my own playlist blaring in my ears which can have the negative effect of making me unaware of those around me. Far too many times I have seen iPod zombies run into each other, trip over something or in general look as though they are in a daze.

We have 5 senses for a reason and using your peripheral vision a bit to have a wider awareness of your surroundings while moving through a gym or life in general is never a bad thing.

4. Variety is the spice of life; AKA don’t do the same thing every time you come to the gym

After 5 months there are some gym bunnies that I recognize, know their timings of which machines they will be using, for how long, and where they will be heading next. In some ways this lets me plan my route through the gym but on the other hand it shows how repetitive gym time can be. If you find yourself struggling to motivate yourself to go to the gym, mix it up. Try a funny looking machine you have never touched before. Decrease the resistance but increase the time spent on that stationary bike, or the number of reps on the lat pulldown bar. Not only will this help stave off boredom and keep your mind at least marginally involved in your routine, but changing the duration and resistance is good for building muscle and your overall health.

I’ll likely share additional thoughts and insights as they come to me during my quest towards good health, but for now I can honestly say that not only do I feel healthier but my time at the gym has been a good time for reflection as well.

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