I’ve always been skinny. Lanky to be more accurate. And I hated it.
I wanted big muscles. Not so big that my arms would have to hang bowed at my sides, but enough to get past the segmented twig look. So I did what most people did. I joined a gym.
And cancelled my membership shortly after.
All of my friends said the gym was a great motivator because being surrounded by other people working hard would make me want to work harder. My experience was the exact opposite.
To me, everyone at the gym knows what they’re doing. It’s like they’ve come to the gym to show everyone how awesome they are at exercising. And pardon the sexism, but as a guy, I look like an even bigger tool than a girl if I don’t know what I’m doing. Add to the fact that the weight I could lift paled in comparison to the other guys, feeling out of place was an understatement.
We’ve talked plenty of times on this blog about the dangers of comparing yourself to others. At the gym I couldn’t stop this and it totally affected my workout. I wasn’t going to push myself too hard in case it caused me to lose my balance or grunt or do some other dumb thing. I was also staying away from the more the more popular machines and benches because surely I’d be the one they’d all stop to watch and mock and maybe even have the guts to say, “You don’t belong here.”
Now I get that this isn’t how the gym truly operates, but this was one of the few times in my life where no amount of logic was going to change my mind. I still wanted the muscles, so I bought a weight set.
Exercising at home was perfect for me.
Beyond the convenience of having everything at my fingertips, I could take my time with each movement and push myself no matter how silly I looked. You know, actually workout.
But I still wasn’t getting the muscle I wanted.
I was increasing the weight I lifted, but I wasn’t eating enough. You need a lot of extra calories to put on muscle and if I ate that much food, I’d explode. At the suggestion of some friends I tried the protein shake. Ugh. Nothing I added could make it taste good and the idea of a bunch of weight gainers and supplements didn’t appeal to me. It sucked. Seemed my goal wasn’t in the cards.
Then I discovered Exercise TV. It was a free on demand channel through my cable that offered hundreds of ten to twenty minute workouts of all types. Finally! Well, not exactly.
The more I scrolled through, the more I realized that this channel catered to people (mostly women) who wanted to lose weight and tone up. I viewed toning as a step back from putting on muscle, so I never considered it. But I liked some of the workouts and decided to give it a try. I couldn’t believe how good I felt after my first workout. Besides the physical goodness, it was great to be working to a routine. The trainers did a fantastic job explaining the mechanics of what I was doing, which I loved. And as tried more workouts, I learned that toning combined with some cardio was actually a better fit for me than just weights.
So I probably won’t be filling out this outfit any time soon.
I was thinking about all this in light of my new writing direction and how much happier I am now than before my “perfect” plan was ruined. Funny how that stuff works out. Ever have a plan or goal that was turned upside down into something even better?
*Spartan in Training is a term my buddy Kait came up with to go along with her Goddess In Training campaign because God In Training sounded a bit snooty to me. End of fun fact.