Lately I’ve been thinking.
I’m kinda successful in the gym.
I’ve built a fairly decent body.
I get compliments regularly.
My progress in the gym came quite easily. I didn’t feel like I was trying that hard.
I just went to the gym, lifted, and went home.
Then I realised.
There are certain principles that I use in the gym that are also applicable to real life.
Things that I have used for success in the gym that can be applied to get me success in other areas.
Comparison is the thief of Joy
This is so important.
Imagine going in to the gym for the first time, and getting on the bench press.
You can only bench 30kgs. But it’s your first time, so not bad.
You leave the gym feeling dejected that you can’t bench 100kgs, and that you don’t look like those guys on instagram.
This is a losing formula. You must have perspective.
Firstly, the guys on instagram and social media in general all do fitness for a living. It is literally their job to look as good as possible.
You don’t think some of them are using some naughty substances to maintain their physique?
I think that it is extremely rare for someone to be fully natural and a social media influencer. Most natural bodybuilders don’t even compare to those on gear. It’s not worth comparing yourself to these people. They are not in your league.
All you are doing by this comparison is making yourself feel bad.
It’s the same with how much weight you lift.
Instead of focussing on how today was yet another day that you couldn’t bench 100kg, look at it differently.
You hit a new record which means you are one step closer to the 100kg bench.
It’s all perspective.
Start framing things in a way that is comparing you to YOU, not to some elite people online.
After all, you will always want to be someone else, and someone else will always want to be you. It’s best just to drop these comparisons entirely, focus on yourself and enjoy each moment.
‘Enough’ for me is someone else’s drop in the bucket, and another person’s wildest dream.
If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.
Being consistent in the gym is absolutely vital to making good gains.
I’ve found that you really need to be going 3x per week or more to maximise the output of your body.
This year, due to covid, I missed about 10 weeks of the gym. Granted I was doing some hybrid workouts at home, but I still lost a lot of muscle.
When I started back in the gym, my lifts were probably around 70% of what they were before the break.
Imagine this taking place regularly. You will never get anywhere.
You need to be consistent.
Part of this means setting a reasonable schedule too. You don’t want to be going 7x per week for 2 weeks and then miss a month because you are burnt out.
It’s much better to be in there less, but consistently.
Think about being in the gym for the next 10 years of your life.
How would you structure your training then?
“Let the improvement of yourself keep you so busy that you have no time to criticise others.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Even if you follow the previous two principles. You might not get anywhere.
We want to improve, every single time.
Something I do in the gym is track my workouts. I know exactly how I did last time, and therefore exactly what I need to do next time to improve.
Sometimes I can’t improve. Maybe I had a rough day, or didn’t get enough sleep. This is not a problem.
Actual improvement is not that important. What’s most important is that you are actively chasing it.
Each time I step into the gym I know what I need to do, and will give 110% to try and beat what I did last time.
In my opinion, anything less than this is a waste of time.
If you aren’t striving for improvement you should consider using your time in a different way.
Life is all about improvement. Breaking new ground. Setting higher expectations.
So how can we apply these two principles.
Let’s use an example of starting a youtube channel.
First of all, don’t compare yourself to others.
Your first videos will not be good. It is of no benefit to you to look at an established youtuber and say “Oh no I should really stop now because my videos aren’t as good as theirs”.
Obviously you aren’t as good. You haven’t practiced enough yet.
Use their content to learn, study what they do. But don’t compare yourself. You won’t get anywhere by doing that .
The next thing is consistency.
It’s much better to be consistent with your channel, than to be sporadic.
Fortunately we have tools available to us on social media that mean even if we create 5 videos in a single day, they can be scheduled out over time.
But while this feature can be useful. For your youtube channel to be successful you need to practice creating on a regular basis. Refine your techniques, and seek to do better every time.
This brings us to the last principle. Do better than last time.
Each video you make, you should analyse your previous content and consider how this video can be better than the last one.
Even if you make only tiny progress every time, it is inevitable that you will eventually start producing good content.
By following these three principles you will have a successful time. I have no doubt.
The three gym principles I use, that can be used in other areas are
Consider how you can apply them to different areas of your life to achieve better results.