Here we are almost two weeks into the New Year, and I am sure you have all noticed an influx of new faces at your gym. This is the 'New Year's Resolution' crowd, who have decided this is the year they will make a change and get in shape at last, or back in shape after being out of shape for years. I applaud them all and wish each and every one of them the best. I respect anyone who exercises to improve his or herself.
But I have been going to gyms for over a quarter-century now, and I know most of these new gym members will be gone by this time next month. They all had the best of intentions, but the fact is that most of them don't enjoy working out. They see it as a chore, a means to an end, and a necessary evil. The pain and fatigue of training is quite unpleasant for them. Some will see noticeable results in the first month, and will continue on even if they don't like it. Others who have never worked out will discover they actually do love the feeling of their muscles pumping and burning. To them it signifies a job well done, just like the soreness that lingers in their muscles for days afterward. They will quickly come to associate the hard work and the pain with positive results as they start to look and feel better week by week. These people have found a new passion in the gym, and you'll be seeing them around for quite a while in most cases.
You see, everyone at the gym either loves being there and training, or they don't. The ones who don't can't ever reap the full benefits of training even if they do force themselves to keep coming to the gym, because their heart isn't in it. Whereas many of you reading this are already thinking about your next workout, looking forward to it and even visualizing what you will do; these others are simply dreading the next time they have to haul their ass to the gym for what they perceive as self-inflicted torture. How much effort and intensity can you possibly put into your training when you view it as something you would much rather not be doing?
I observed this phenomenon way back in 1998-2000 when I worked as a personal trainer in Pasadena, CA. I trained an average of 15 clients a week for 2-4 sessions each week. At any given time, there were only about 3-4 who actually enjoyed training and put out maximum effort. Not surprisingly, they were the ones who got the best results. The others did what I asked them to, but with zero enthusiasm. They were paying to be trained not so much for my expertise, but for the motivation. Left to their own devices, they would either not exercise at all or would do so sporadically and with little effort. Having to pay someone and meet them at an appointed time forced them to stick to a regular schedule.
When I am asked what the most important factors in achieving your physique goals are, I typically talk about proper training, nutrition, and rest. I often take for granted the most critical factor of all: passion. If you have a burning passion for training, everything else falls into place almost effortlessly. If you lack that passion, it's always going to be an uphill battle for you to make any progress toward your goals.
How can a person get that passion if he or she lacks it? It's really all about changing your perspective. Look at training as a blessing rather than a curse. When your muscles burn, that pain is taking you ever closer to the way you want to look. When you feel like you just got run over by a truck after your workout, that means you gave it everything you had. Take pride in a job well done!
If you have that passion, as many of you reading this do, you're all set!