Lifestyle Changes From Habit-Building
I have been a regular in the gym and religiously working out for a good nine months now. All these months have not only been a physical journey but a great deal of an emotional journey and growth as well. Having the opportunity to encounter people from different backgrounds and age groups has also been a refreshing experience.
I did miss working out for a month and a half because I tested positive for Covid-19, and I had to be on rest. But irrespective of that, since the time I joined the gym, I have learned some very essential life lessons that will stay with me for a long time to come now.
Of them all, I have listed the top ten lessons that I picked from the gym culture that have become a part of who I am as a person now.
10 Life Lessons I Learned in the Gym
- Consistency Is Key
- Importance of Focus and Discipline
- Importance of a Mentor
- Process Over Results
- Sets and Reps: Learning to Complete a Task
- Passion Develops With Progress
- Leveling Up Is Exciting
- Injuries Are Not Always a Setback
- Environmental Impact on Progress
- Breakdowns Lead to Breakthroughs
1. Consistency Is Key
Day in and day out—every day since the time I joined the gym, I have been working out. I have a great mentor who makes sure I push my limits every single time. What I learned from my everyday work is that consistency has been the most important element in my fitness and health journey.
I worked out before, but I would stop after a month or so. I tried following the fads like losing weight in three months or flat tummy in 15 days kind of ideas, but never did I realize that health and fitness is not a three-month solution but a consistent long-term effort. This time around, I stuck by consistently and have been able to see the results.
2. Importance of Focus and Discipline
Every time that I lost focus, it was very clear that my workout and results got affected. The concept of MMC (mind muscle connection) is absolutely on point. Though I have been very disciplined when it came to workouts, focus does shift at times. Due to stress, or workload, or due to lack of sleep, on some days it would be very difficult to focus on the workout and build the mind-muscle-connection. And this reflects on the day’s result—the feeling of not working out enough even after doing all the exercises and getting tired much sooner than other days are visible.
However, with focus, I have seen my body change over time and have seen faster results. Within five months of everyday workout, I could see visible changes in myself. This made me realize the importance of focus and discipline and to keep going even when we do not feel like it. Applying this to my work and personal life has been life-altering and has helped me in my progress to a great extent.
3. The Importance of a Mentor
To my luck, my personal trainer and my fitness mentor has been two of the most sincere and dedicated professionals I have ever come across. I used to be a very shy and under wraps kind of a gym member, who would usually just hide away in the beginning and would be just too conscious about every move. But over a few weeks’ time, I gained confidence with my workouts.
There has never been a lack of motivation from my mentor, and that keeps me going every day. I had been always a bit fussy and would complain about not doing cardio and only wanting to continue with weight training. My PT patiently worked around that and made sure that I also complete my cardio drills, but he additionally incorporated weights in my cardio training to make sure I complete cardio. And now, I enjoy my cardio days, too.
He also makes sure my focus is on point and never shied away from reminding me that I might be losing my focus, whenever I get distracted. A mentor that gets you and understands your preferences and works around that to make sure you have fun and do what is necessary for the results is a blessing. This is what makes the journey fruitful, both for the mentor and for the mentee.
4. Process Over Results
When I first started out, I did not have a set goal in mind. A friend of mine used to go to the gym that I go to now, so I decided to join her and work out for as long as I could and feel like it. But as I progressed and trained with my PT, in a matter of five months, I lost 10 kgs straight. That was an achievement in itself. But what I realized is more than the lost weight it is the process that made it so much fun to stick around.
The process of making progress with increasing my capacity made me happier than the result. I have reached a plateau phase over the last three months now. But that has not been able to demotivate me. Since the process has been an essential part of it, I still continue to go to the gym and work out without fail.
5. Sets and Reps: Learning to Complete a Task
I had a habit where, sometimes, I would start a task and not complete it when it got harder. But after I started training with my mentor, he made sure I completed every repetition and set of the exercises. And now, after more than half a year, it has become my habit, no matter how tired I get.
My mentor has also gained confidence in me that I would complete the rounds. And this has become a life habit now. I do not take up all the tasks I see anymore, but whatever I do pick up, I make sure I take it to the finish line. No matter how hard it gets, I make sure to complete the task at hand.
6. Passion Develops With Progress
Funny how I started with a 2.5kg dumbbell. And that was the first month. And in a matter of just a few months, I could do an 82 kg deadlift. The highest I ever went so far is a 92 kg deadlift. And when it comes to lower body workout, I have managed a 230kg leg press and that just feels amazing!
What I am trying to say here is that when I started in November 2020, I did not have any like or dislike towards the gym. It was a neutral space for me, and I was there because I had a friend and a gym partner. I went there just to have fun and would have just stayed in for a few weeks. But slowly, I started to see my progress. I started noticing the strength I was building and the flexibility I was gaining. And now, gyming and working out is a part of my routine and has grown into a passion.
I realized that we always do not know what we are interested in but if we put in the time and effort, we do see progress and we do become passionate about it. As we see ourselves progressing towards the next level, it keeps getting exciting.
7. Leveling Up Is Exciting
In this journey of nine months in the gym, I have seen progress, greatly. I remember the first day in the gym. It was 15th of November, 2020. The first day, I was super nervous even though I had a friend for support. I was not sure if I could do any exercise or if I would be able to lift any weight at all. I was not even sure if I would continue it until three months in. But as I slowly progressed, I was able to do almost all the exercises I was asked by my trainer to do. That was the first level of progress, where I could at least complete all the exercises I was supposed to in the given time slot.
The next level progress came in with the increase in weights I lifted and the increase in repetitions. At present, I am working hard to focus primarily on improving and polishing the techniques and there has been introduction of a lot of new exercises of increased difficulty. With not knowing if I would have continued working out for three months, to being excited about increasing complexity of the exercises now, I have discovered my passion. I realized that moving up the ladder and conquering the next level of any activity makes us want more of it and keeps us excited about it, which keeps us going.
8. Injuries Are Not Always a Setback
Lifting light weights won’t injure us. Doing basic walks won’t hurt us. Dropping a 2.5 kg dumbbell won’t break our bones. It is only when we level up, we actually get hurt. Dropping a 25kg plate on the feet is painful. Twisting the back while deadlifting 82kg is painful. Doing circuit training is what makes us breathless.
It is not the easy stuff that makes us uncomfortable. It is not the lighter things that define us. It is the heavier weights, complex workouts, and uncomfortable breathless movements that injure us and help us grow. I dropped a 25kg plate once on my foot and I had a swollen foot for four days straight. But I showed up every day because I felt I had leveled up and not showing was not what I wanted to do. I felt super proud and brave to have continued despite the injury. This prepared me for more such injuries.
9. Environmental Impact on Progress
My first day in the gym was a very formal day. That was obvious because I was a new member and I had just started off. But it was a very positive environment. Slowly, I became friends with the people there, and it became a very friendly, casual setup, that I enjoy which is why I keep returning to the gym every morning.
Interacting with other gym members has also been a nice experience. This keeps the entire environment very positive, and the workout becomes fun. There can be some off days. After all, every day is unique in its own ways. But overall, the gym always has a very positive environment which makes the time there enjoyable and the workout fruitful. Anything done successfully requires a positive and pleasant environment.
10. Breakdowns Lead to Breakthroughs
There have been bad days, days when my focus is completely lost, and no amount of motivation works. On top of that, there would be work stress as well. Moving out of my room gets difficult and I just would not want to interact with anyone. I tend to cut off my friends as well. But when I would still be going to the gym on those days that would make people around me angry too. I feel bad being the negative energy, so the easiest way out for me would be to take a few days off. I knew if I continued interacting with people while I was emotionally down, I would ruin good things as well.
Not everybody understands. But, once my mind is back on track, I make sure I am back in the gym on time and continue with my routine. It feels even better to be able to regain focus and continue all the workouts at the same pace and strength, making the comeback even stronger. It is okay to breakdown every once in a while, but the essential part is getting back up and getting back stronger.
Just Keep Going
These have been some of the life lessons from the gym I learned that have made a life-changing impact. I have become more organized, and my dedication has leveled up. Continuing has become my second nature now and showing up every day no matter what has just become me. I learned through all these days in the gym that ups, and downs and good and bad days are just a part and parcel of being in a space for long enough as well as life, but the strength lies in showing up and staying put.
I had a habit of always running away over a small tiff or a small issue but being in the gym and following the disciplined lifestyle just made me realize what matters is staying put and continuing no matter what. Waves are a part and parcel of everything but what matters is how we deal with it and continue despite it, without giving up.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.