How To Push Yourself In The Gym
If there is anything on the complete opposite end of the emotional spectrum from the inner peace of Yoga, It’s me lifting. Don’t get me wrong, many times I drag myself in the gym wanting to be on my couch veggitating. But usually by the time I’m warm there is not a scrap of harmony in me. For me, lifting is channeling all the negative emotions and making myself more powerful with them, to better endure life. A diamond is a lump of coal crushed under extreme pressure for so long it might as well be an eternity. A beautiful blade is crafted from shapeless ore being repeatedly burned and beaten over and over and over. The construction of an exceptional human is no different.
Sometimes i’m so excited to lift that I’m practically running from my car to hit the weights but to better explain how i can pull an amazing workout from an awful day and an abysmal mood Ill explain what I do to motivate myself.
Worst Day Possible (Don’t Read If You’re Sensitive)
Lets say your having the worst day possible. Lets say you wake up late because you couldn’t sleep you were so hungry last night. So hungry you were thinking about chewing on your sheets. You drag yourself out of bed to realize you have no soap, you’re constipated, your kitchen is a mess and the sink is so full of dishes you can’t wash your pans to cook your food for the day. The power went out and your pre made food smells rotten, but the food in your freezer is still frozen. It occurs to you your girlfriend didn’t come home last night, and her ex got out of prison the day before. You look at your phone and half your clients today cancelled their appointments, so you can’t make rent this month and your utilities will be shut off soon. Your mom left you a voice mail that she will put your dog to sleep if you can’t find him a new home, she can’t afford to feed him.
Pretty bad day so far.
So you scrape some meals together with McGuyver kitchen skills, re cook the spoiling meat because you’re hoping to kill the bacteria no matter how dry the chicken gets, then chopping it up and pouring water all over it so it can be swallowed cold without choking it up. You put on dirty clothes because you had to choose between food and laundry detergent the last time you went to Aldis. You check your mail and your bridge card is being cancelled because your tax return was to high. Your car is covered in snow and the window is broken. Your stereo face plate is gone. Not the stereo, just the faceplate. Someone hates you that much they broke your window just to make sure you can’t have music on your 40 minute drive to the gym.
You walk into the gym to immediately get pulled into the office. There are new policies and basically people who are in shape and who are trying to get in shape are not welcome anymore. The gym is trying to keep members from leaving to join Planet Fitness and you make beginners feel bad about their physiques. No one you have ever spoken to of course, just people don’t like looking at you when they workout. So you promise to be more mediocre from now on. Time to try to get your mind off everything. When you step on the treadmill a guy who pretends to be your friend yells out “ Why you doing cardio? You’re looking small today”.
At This Point It’s Time To Flip The Switch
Step 1: Drink Wyked 2.1
Having a truckload of caffeine is a great way to take that pain and turn it into something more positive, like rage. First you feel your body change from the inside out all the aches and pains and cold and stiffness leave and you can feel your muscles waking up. Walking on the treadmill gets the blood flowing so the liquid rage makes it to your brain and muscles. If you really want to call on the dark side for power take a sublingual prohormone like EPI ANDRO which goes through the veins in your tongue right to your blood stream and converts to DHT in your liver. This grants strength and aggression.
Step 2: Don Your Noise Cancelling Headphones
This has two wonderful benefits, It makes it impossible to hear the worthless music the gym plays and keeps other people out of your head.
Step 3: Hit Play
Pandora is my weapon of choice. Depending on what body part Im hitting I play a different station. Far and away the best station is Amon Amarth for lifting. There is a number of reasons for this. But in the end It makes me feel like an indestructible monster. The Vikings believed the only way into their version of heaven was to die in battle, and when I’m lifting I tell myself the only way into Valhalla for me is to die in the gym. Either cardio or weights doesn’t matter. Just push yourself to the point your think you might die.
Step 4: Head Games
So when I’m doing Hiit cardio on the Stairmill and I feel like just falling off from fatigue I imagine I’m a Viking that is walking through the snow as fast as he can because missionaries are killing his friends and family. If I don’t finish your cardio everyone I love gets their heads cut off. I actually picture it, and it really upsets me, but I always finish my cardio.
Now that the warm up is done the pre workout is surging through me and Whitechappel and Kataklysm is blasting in my ears I start with a pump exercise. I imagine the blood flowing into the muscle and stretching the fascia from the inside out. When the burning starts and the pain becomes incredible I smile. Its the most important thing you can do on stage, look like you’re enjoying yourself when your suffering. The audience feels what you project. So project positivity. Practicing smiling when you’re in pain is important to do each workout. I tell myself the more it hurts the more the muscles will grow, and the greater the pain I can endure the harder it will be to kill me. After each set, I hit an appropriate pose to trap the blood in the muscle. This starves the muscle of life giving nutrients and tricks the muscle into thinking its dying. It increases NO production to dilate the vessels so that more blood can flow in. This is extremely painful. I make sure to smile and look in the mirror to work on tweaking the angles so my physique looks symmetrical from left to right. My left arm is lower than my right if I don’t concentrate on adjusting it. In the mirror I see people giving me dirty looks because to them, I look like some vain douche preening. It is not common knowledge that posing between sets has a valuable purpose. When you do release the pose shake out the body and let the blood rush in through the now dilated veins. You’ll feel a burning as the oxygen free radicals burns the tissue. Thats why we take vitamin C and E mid workout, to protect against these free radicals.
Now that the warm up and pump is over its time to start your work sets. I try to make progress with the weights I’m moving on these and have form, tempo, and rest just guidelines. I don’t write stuff down because most of the time I physically can’t grip and manipulate a pen when Im pumped, so I memorize these exercises and none else: Incline Bench, Bent Row, Squat, Hex deadlift, Leg Press, Military Press, Preacher Curl, Skull Crusher. Those are how I evaluate my strength and I try to put up at least 5 pounds more or 1 more rep every week. When I’m dieting I try to maintain my strength. These sets are the single most important part of my day and I won’t hit the lift unless I psych myself up first. I do this by putting on a song which will fire me up. I tell myself that this is the most important thing I can do, If I excel at nothing else I need to at least be good at this. People are counting on me and I can’t let them down. I think of my haters and pretend they’re watching me. Ready to laugh when I fail. When I don’t think I can get another rep I imagine each of the band members in the band I’m listening to. I tell myself every rep I miss one of them dies. Since I like the band I can’t let this happen. This technique doesn’t work with normal gym music, Taylor Swift is pretty but I’m not emotionally attached to her. It really affected me when Jeff Hanneman died because I usually put Slayer on when I did the Leg Press and I saved him for last because he was my favorite person in the band. I never did fail a set when it was Slayer on the line.
For the finishing sets I would remind myself that I am a champion. I am. I have been for years, and I will always be. No one can ever take that from me. Most of my haters aren’t. Thats just the reality of it. I envision myself dominating the stage at my next show when I do these final agonizing sets. I get a huge endorphin rush when I see myself being handed a first place trophy, again. I see my haters in the audience, I picture each of their faces. The look of disappointment that they have seeing me win when they never have and never will. But if I don’t finish my set, I’m a loser. I dont even get 3rd callout. And worse, they win. Even if I can only move the lever or dumbell an inch I will continue. Tears running down my cheeks and sweat burning my eyes I don’t care. The lights will be on me. The Trophy will be handed to me. I dont care If i have to cry, puke or bleed, I’m not a quitter. If I’m only good at one thing its stubbornly plodding away at something I suck at until I master it. As it has been, so it shall always be. What makes a champion? This. The acceptance that you’re not the best, but that you have what it takes to try hard enough to make up for your shortcomings. You dont have to be perfect, just closer to perfect than everyone else. And even if you lose so what? Who else would do this to themselves? .01% of the population? If you’re even still reading this you’re a rockstar. It wasn’t easy to write this. I have never shared any of this actually, and I’m not sure I should. But I want you to get the most of your workouts even when you are having the worst day of your life.