Stereotypes at the Gym

At the gym, I’m obviously most into what I’m about to do myself. I mean, when you’re working on a PR in hip thrust, people around you are your last thought. Though between sets, you can’t really resist looking around at your gym surroundings. Well, you obviously see a lot of weights and equipment. And maybe a couple of PTs. But you also notice a bunch of gym stereotypes. Whom you’ve seen doing the same at least a hundred times before. Here are some of the gym stereotypes I’ve observed at my local gym. Enjoy the fun!

The Squatter. He thinks he can squat. And he also thinks he can squat a lot. You know, this guy who puts on a lifting belt, throws on 100 kg on his barbell, and while you’re at the barbell beside him perfecting your own squat technique, you finish your set and look over at him. He doesn’t go down to parallell, he doesn’t tighten his back, and he’s close to falling forward. How to do a 100 kg squat? Not like that.

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The Miss/Mr-Needs-PT. There are some people at my gym, both women and men, who I’ve never seen doing a single exercise properly. When they’re close to lying on the floor during lat pulldown, doing pullups looking like a hyper monkey, or bicep curling with their whole body, I really just want to run out in the gym’s reception, grab a PT and tell the PT “911 emergency!” That’s why you have a PT. To do your stuff right, and most importantly not to hurt yourself.

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The Makeup-Girls. They wear more makeup for a “workout” than what you wear for big occations like a wedding or a gala dinner. And thus, they don’t sweat, grunt or receive any marks (ever) during their time spent at the gym. Beside them, there’s me setting this PR in heavy hip thrusting, sweating and grunting out various sounds, not really considering taking a post-workout selfie. And if I do take a post-workout selfie, that’ll be for my two-three closest friends and not for MyStory. I mean, if you work it out hard enough and do your stuff right, people will notice you’ve squatted heavy shit sooner or later anyway. You don’t need a selfie after every workout to prove it. And I mostly look like shit right after a heavy workout anyway, so Snapchat and Twitter doesn’t need to know that.

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The Bitch-Pad. When you start strength training, a golden rule is to avoid the bar pads whenever you can. You’re training to be hard, not a softie who can’t stand some marks. You don’t need several pads, three pairs of “gloves”, pulse warmers and so on. So please, no one needs a pad when you squat 40 kg. Seriously. The exception is hip thrusting, because with a 70 kg barbell balancing right ontop of your hip bones, you’ll actually get a better result lifting-wise when using a pad. But for back- and front squats; a mark here and there, that’s only a good. And it often hurts the most the first few times, after that you don’t really feel a lot. I remember getting serious marks after my PT first made me hip thrust 50 kg for 6 reps half a year ago, but nowadays I can hip thrust 72,5 kg for 15 reps and go from it with only slight marks.

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The We’re-Too-Hot(We Think)-Guys. You’re at the gym going through your workout all right. But sooner or later you notice a bunch of guys obviously looking your way, and you’ve obviously not been looking their way. Why? Because it all looks too tragic. They’re concentrating really hard on looking at other people, though they don’t seem to notice their own doings. Their dips need a 911-emergency PT-session, they can’t squat shit and they also can’t see that they’re not even being attractive. They don’t concentrate on their actual workout, and thus they’re not gonna get any results from it.

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Keep calm and get a PT if you ever wonder what to do at the gym!

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Benefits of Morning Workouts

After I started about a month ago with doing my workouts in the morning instead of in the afternoon, I’ve only gotten to more and more benefits about it. At first, I thought “yeah, I’ll give it a try and see if it works”. Now, I’m all into it and absolutely don’t want to go back to afternoon workouts. So whether you’re really into anything happening during the early hours, or you’re considering getting up early; here are a bunch of benefits you’ll get from changing your routines to morning workouts! 

  • “Just do it” made easier to pull through. With the fact that you workout before any other essential activity of the day, you’ll find it easier to push excuses aside. At 2 PM, you’ve thought through a lot more issues than at 6 AM. Less obstacles=less excuses.

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  • Improved energy throughout the rest of the day. For me who go to school right after I’ve been working out, it’s essential to have a lot of mental energy at the same time as I don’t start feeling physically restless. Working out is a very important part of that balance. You get a mental and physical boost, perfect to start the day with!

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  • The gym ain’t crowded. At this point in the fitness-world’s development, fact is that more than 95 percent of people visit the gym after 8 AM. Meaning much more space for the less than 5 percent coming in at 6 AM. So say goodbye to waiting for a rack and crashing into people when running from one exercise to another.

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  • Your head is much lighter. After a long day of school/work/etc, things have occured, some people have been nice, some people have been annoying, and basically a lot of thoughts have been drifting through your mind. In the morning, most of these things haven’t happened yet, and you’ll be perfectly unbothered when at the gym. And after a killer workout, you’ll also feel more uplifted and unbothered for the rest of the day.

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  • You know where you have your workout. The morning workout routine is one that requires consistently. Since you need to go to bed earlier in the evening to get enough sleep, you’ll also get used to being fully awake at E.G 4 AM/5 aM. Meaning that since not so much else in going on early in the morning, the gym will always seem like the best alternative. Which it also is.

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Keep calm and find the perfect routine for you! 

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Those Lovely AM Hours

I’ve always liked to get ut early and always loved early mornings. I generally have the most energy during the morning, and not in the evening, so that makes the choice quite easy; go to sleep early, to wake up early. 

I have tried out morning workouts before without much success. But hold on; I know why that was. First, I only did it every other day, meaning my sleeping routines just didn’t make any sense. I’m not the type who’s able to go to sleep and get up at very different times from day to day. I need a 8-hour-sleep-routine with close to the same times for going to sleep and waking up every day. Second, I had never tried it before and basically I had no experience with it.
So at that time, I just ditched the morning workouts and worked out right after school in the afternoon instead. I’ve done that for over half a year now, and found out I wanted to do a new routine. And that one is about working out before school in the morning. The difference from the previous fail-try? Now I have an idea of what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.

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It’s only basic logic to do your main workout of the day when your energy levels are supreme and your motivation is on top. After a long day of school, there’s often the thing that it’s easy to get really head-tired, if you know what I mean. Like, I’m not exhausted in that way, but well, I do think about a lot during my hours at school and that has often resulted in continuing the thinking about assignments, classmates and homework while I was about to start rowing before a back and biceps session. And when moving on to bench row, I might let my thoughts drift to an English assignment due tomorrow instead of counting reps. Not any good. Okay, so mostly it wasn’t that bad, but the point is that I could never know how I’d be feeling after school. Like, you never know what can happen during a school day. You might be on top of the world, or you might feel really tired of life.

My energy levels are generally higher in the morning. It doesn’t really matter when my morning starts as long as I’ve had an OK amount of sleep. So 7AM makes no significant difference to 4AM, excluding the respective bedtimes to 11PM VS 8PM. I might seem like a 5-year old when I say I go to bed at 8PM, but seriously; what kid goes deadlifting at 6AM?

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I also have the advantage, for this use at least, that I’m always starving in the morning. Which means I easily get in both a breakfast before the workout, and a brunch after the workout right before school. Without struggling at all, I eat about 70% of my daily calories (and 70% of the meals, too) before 1PM. Breakfast at 4:15AM, Brunch at 8AM and lunch at 11:30AM. I’m just more hungry in the early hours than the late hours.
For comparison, I eat dinner at 5:30PM, and thus have a gap between lunch and dinner, filled in the middle by an inbetween-meal consisting of yoghurt, fruit etc. And I’m just about normally hungry at dinner time. Being an AM person, I cope perfectly well with such a gap in the afternoon or evening, though not in the morning. I’d struggle with only an inbetween-meal between 6AM and 11:30AM, for example. So you should do what fits you best, not what is the average thing to do. I don’t care if most people eat breakfast at 7AM, because I like breakfast at 4AM much better.

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After a couple weeks, I find morning workouts really great. Not only because I don’t mind getting up early and I’m really hungry in the morning, but also because of other things;

  • It’s peaceful. I find it cool when other people also get up early. Though it’s probably not going to happen that 4AM becomes the new 7AM. So well, it’s really peaceful during the early hours. Only little traffic, the birds sing loudly and the outdoor air feels really “day-fresh”.
  • There’s only a few regulars who’s at the gym when they open at 6AM and until 8AM, when more people come in. There’s a spinning class at 6:10AM downstairs in one of the group class rooms, and there’s me and 1-4 other regulars upstairs with the weights and cardio equipment. Meaning; no waiting for equipment, no stress with people being everywhere and a more peaceful time at the gym.
  • It great to be done with the workout before school starts. I get rid of the problem with not knowing how I’ll feel after a school day. I also have more energy during the school day because, well, working out obviously give me lots of energy. So while a lot of my classmates are still almost-asleep for the first two lessons, I’m full of energy and wide awake. It’s easier to join people home from school too, because I’m not bound to the gym. I’ve already been there like, 6-7 hours ago.
  • I’m at my most focused and optimistic in the morning. During a day, thoughts and tasks are being collected up with every awake hour. It’s nice to get the workout done before lots of thoughts get stuck in my head, and have the time to get such things done right after school. And if there’s any bad news during the day; I’m perfectly unbothered during my morning workout because the respective people plotting to set the bug are still asleep. And after a killer workout, I naturally get more of a “no fucks were given that day”-mode for the rest of the day. So if anyone is being stupid, they shouldn’t expect me to care much. (When you hit your PR at the gym in something, stupidity’s arguments are invalid)

The sum; I love mornings, I love the gym and I love the combination of the two even more. I do what fits my AM-type of person best, and you should do what fits your type of person best. You’re not meant to be average, you’re meant to be yourself! 

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Life Struggles of a Coffee Lover

Either you’ll relate to this or you won’t. Depends on whether you’re a coffee lover or not. Though you might be able to relate if you’re close to someone who’s a coffee lover. Even if you don’t drink it up yourself. Nevertheless, with every love comes struggles. Let’s have a look at the serious life struggles of a coffee lover.

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“Good morning! How did you sleep? What’s up today?…” “Wait, talk to me after my first mug.”
In order to give people a better answer than “sure, ok” or “yee, good”, you have to brew the thing and drink some before your brain is ready for more than one-word answers. Normally, like at home and work, you’ll get your coffee quite fast and this isn’t any problem. But if you’re out somewhere with someone who don’t like coffee… Well, then that’s a serious struggle. “Why don’t you give me answers?” “Coffee.”

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How to know if a breakfast place is good or not.
The worst thing that can happen when visiting a restaurant or cafe for breakfast out, is of course not enough coffee. I dislike the places where you have to order coffee (instead of it being at the buffet with the food), and when you pay for the thing all you get is a little cup with no refill. I mean, 1,5 dL of coffee is legit for, like, 7PM, but you’re gonna need a lot more at 7AM. Thing 1 is enough coffee, thing 2 is great food. A huge thermo-mug at the table is okay, but it’s not like that in all places. And it should be like that.

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You need your peace when drinking it up.
Okay, I admit you can drown a mug of coffee in a hurry if there’s no other possibility. That’ll be better than no coffee at all. Though the best setting is to sit down, enjoy the taste and feel it fulfill you. Then you can rush up and hurry on to the next point on your agenda. I don’t like it when I’ve taken a seat, started my drinking of the mug, and then someone comes and is all like “You done soon? We better go.” No, we better not go before I’ve finished. Things will go this much better after a cup of black happiness.

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Pranking a coffee addict is considered serious abuse.
Removing all the coffee in the house, making the wrong sort, saying you’ll make some coffee and then you don’t… All such things ain’t funny at all, you’re just considered an annoying dork by the coffee addict. Noone cares if it’s April Fools, this isn’t a prank to pull. And if you do pull such a prank against a coffee addict; revenge is sure to happen. Be prepared for a colf bucket of water the next morning. Or a pair of white socks dipped in coffee. The opportunities are endless. So just don’t mess with the coffee, that’d be great.

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And if anyone comes to spill out the contents of your coffee mug, they either get you a new one or you can’t communicate with them anymore. Noone cares if it was on purpose or not, coffee is coffee and you get the coffee lover a new one. Now. 

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That Absolute Freedom (Aka Gym, Mountains, Friends…)

For as long as there has been human beings on Earth, there has been a desire to have freedom. We all have various times, places or things that fuel this desire. We’re looking for freedom no matter if we feel “like a bird” in an airplane, fulfilled at a sandy beach or driving a veteran car with the stereo on full volume. And when we find out what provides us freedom, we obviously want to go back and do it again. 

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The title of this post presents the gym as “that absolute freedom”. That’s one of the places where I personally feel completely free. As I enter, I always put my phone on flight mode (I use it for music and have no intention of being disturbed by checking my texts between sets). For as long as I’ve taken my phone with me to the gym for music, I’ve also never turned off flight mode while working out there. At the gym, no other mode than beast mode and flight mode is accepted when it comes to myself.

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As for me and lots of other dedicated gym-goers, there’s a simple recipe for freedom; Gym, your body and mind, the weights, your music and that special thrill of lifting. I plug in my earphones, shuffle on Spotify, and go into full concentartion for the whole workout.
It’s all about yourself lifting those weights, breaking PRs, getting gains and experiencing a desire for what you do. Because after a while of practicing it, a lot of people (me absolutely included) experience a thrill they’ve never felt before. A perfect deadlift, a new PR in military press, a rush of energy when hip thrusting, all those kind of things contribute to a feeling of freedom and strength, I find. For the while of working out, the world outside is of no matter, your worries drown and your powers emerge. And yeah, you depart from the gym after your workout feeling like a stronger and better person. Win.

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There are of course other things I personally experience freedom from. Mountain hiking, for example. Walking the wide mountain landscapes, reaching summits and wandering valleys gives me a feeling of absolute freedom. And a very good reason to go back to the mountains every damn year.

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And then there’s the friends who can keep a conversation going for ages without awkward silences. Compare it to hiking, running or similar, where you can keep on going for a long time without feeling like more than a couple of minutes really went past. There are friends who you can talk to and be with for hours feeling like minutes, and there are people who you manage to perform an awkward conversation lasting like five minutes with, feeling like five hours passed. The feeling you get when you’re with friends who neither them nor yourself run out of things to talk about, that’s what we’re looking for when it comes to friendship. It is of no matter what the conversation started with, there are always a thousand things you can share with each other. Without even a touch of awkward silences.

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Freedom is a basic feeling and mental state, human beings have had a desire for freedom as long as they’ve been able to think. So keep calm and experience absolute freedom!

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Finding Your “Thing”

For a long time, I’ve been asked by lots of people why and how I’m so committed to working out and eating healthy. What keeps me going, why I don’t just give up, why I like going to the gym much better than partying… All such things.
It was only very recently all the pieces of the puzzle finally got thrown together to create the most acurate picture I’ve ever had of it all.

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I have never been very good in most sports, like football or tennis. I don’t have this desire to kick a ball into a goal. The only thing I think of when someone pass me the ball if I play any sport; get that thing away and don’t screw it up.
I have never really learned how to play an instrument, either. (Playing “In The Jungle” on guitar doesn’t count…) I obviously like to listen to music and stuff, though I’ve never really felt the “call” to play anything myself. I’ve had times when I thought I should take guitar, violin or piano classes, but I’ve always jumped off when I realized I don’t really feel like spending a lot of time on it.

Recently, it was like a final puzzle piece got smashed into my head and got this all to make sense. Because until then, I hadn’t realized that my instrument is neither a piano nor a flute, my instrument is, well, being committed to all things fitness (and gains!).
So to answer the first question presented in this post; I’m committed to fitness because that’s what I feel a “call” for doing. It falls me completely natural to do it. I go to the gym with the same type of motivation and thrill as people go to play their instrument.

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Even though it might seem quite weird to compare muscles with instruments, there are indeed a lot of similarities between the two lifestyles. Which is also why at this point, I get why other people are committed to playing an instrument well (and even kicking a ball into a goal, which I never thought I’d understand). Let’s look a some similarities;

  • Practice, practice, practice. I’ve probably said it a thousand times. You don’t achieve anyhting without putting in the needed work. To get results from what you do, practice is the clue. If you want to build strong shoulders, you need to work on your shoulders. If you want to play a musical piece, you need to work on that musical piece. Hours and hours of practice. And what keeps you going? Yep, your commitment.2015-01-19 17.57.06
  • To make it a priority. To get really good at something, you can’t skip a lot of practice. Just like you skipped that party to play the violin (you know, this song you literally feel a need to be able to play within this week). When it comes to fitness, you skipped that same party to train your legs (because gains are more important to you than partying). Myself, I’m very strict about priorities. The gym, school and people I really care about, those make it to the top of my priority list. I don’t have more than 24 hours every day, so I have to make priorities (everyone else, too). If I say I’ll go work out at 8AM, I go work out at 8 AM, just like other people meet precisely for their musical classes every damn time.

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  • The thrill when you accomplish. When you work hard for a long time with either it’s building up a muscle group or playing a tricky musical piece, when you come to the point of actually accomplishing your goal and get your result, you feel like it was all worth it. All those hours of practice, all that commitment, all the work, just everything it took to get you there. Even the rough times you appreciate, because those made you a stronger person and taught you a lot.

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I watch with amazement when people are really good at playing an instrument, just like I myself see people’s stunned faces when I tell them fitness is “my nature”. Its for a reason I call the gym my second home. I’m committed to it. I love doing it, and its a top priority. It is my thing. And for those reasons, I believe its a very certain argument that the lifestyles of fitness-people and music-people are very alike, although the actual thing you’re committed to is different.

The sum of all this? Do your thing, and follow your commitment. Haters gonna hate!

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Preventing Cravings

A good while ago, I didn’t even think it was possible to live well without chocolate at least twice a week. I didn’t think chocolate cravings was something you could get rid of without really any pain at all. That’s related to most “junk” cravings after all, so no matter if it’s ice cream or pizza, all you need is a plan and a huge amount of disipline and stubbornness. What I know now, is that those “junk” cravings all depends on what you eat, how you eat it and how you think about it.

Being a person who work out a lot and want to gain muscle mass, I obviously need to have an idea about how much I need to eat to be able to gain muscles. Even though it might seem like a lot of stress keeping track of your nutrition, it’s like preventing cravings; it’ll be a difficult the first few weeks, because you’re not used to it. But as you proceed, it breaks down to being an everyday doing you don’t think much about, just like logging your workouts and know when the bus leaves.
I realize that what I want most, gain strength and muscle mass, require certain things. Beast-mode workouts, wholesome nutrition, enough sleep, and of course disipline. To achieve what you want most, you need to know what you need to do and how you will do it. Whatever the goal, it’s going to reqire a great piece of work to get there.

My point is, when you know what your nutrition should be like, you can also better prevent cravings. When you get enough food and know about your macros (a little, at least), you’ll sail towards a body and mind being used to getting what it needs from healthy foods, and it don’t “have to” crave pizza or chocolate because you didn’t fulfill your needs of fats or magnesium, for example. There are even “maps” for what healthy foods to eat to prevent certain cravings;

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One of the most common problems I meet when people ask me for advice on preventing cravings, is not mentioned in the map above. It’s disipline and dedication. You might think “yeah, it’s easy for you to sit down in front of your laptop and write about how disipline helps”. I don’t write things I don’t mean. It’s taken years for me to get from being a craving-full kid to be a dedicated gym-goer who love to lift weights and eat healthy and wholesome more than anything else. When I was younger (and didn’t know shit), I though it was more like an overnight thing. I used to be like “I eat junk tonight, and tomorrow it’s all about eating healthy”. It’s like a New Year’s Resolution, you need to start a while before to make it work. It’s a gradual process. It’s like any other habit to learn, it’s difficult at first, but after a while you take it naturally. I realized I needed to do it gradually, not overnight.
Though I can’t say it enough; you don’t achieve anything without hard work. There are no escalators to success, you’re gonna have to take the stairs.

Also, make sure you actually enjoy your healthy meals. If you don’t like a certain type of healthy food, find an alternative. For example, if you literally hate the taste of tuna, then eat a couple eggs instead. There’s no diet that works for everyone. Though don’t give up on tasting new foods; it might fall weird to eat at first, but after some rounds you may end up getting a new favorite. I recently did that myself with sweet peppers and mozzarella. And when it’s mealtime; sit, calm down and enjoy the food. Don’t rush, take your time and get your meal-peace.

My final tip; knowledge. There’s a lot to know about nutrition, your own body and an active lifestyle. You can’t expect to get everything right at first. I learn new things about those things every day, from my own doings, friends, random people and my PT. As mentioned, I don’t write things I don’t mean. I mean this; if you’re struggling, consult a professional. It’s not a crazy thing getting some appointments with a nutrition expert or a set of PT-sessions. Seeing a professional isn’t stupid, it’s smart. You don’t have to do everything completely on your own, some serious advice is really helpful. And believe me, it’s worth the cost.

Keep calm and carry on! You’ll get there as long as your mind is with you!

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