Turning Yourself into a Gym Rat

10 Tips to Change Yourself From a Dedicated Couch-Potato to a Gym Enthusiast

This article has some interesting points. The basic gist of the article, and it’s a good one, is that you should never let perfect be the enemy of good. You’re not up for your rocked out hard, drive yourself into the ground workout? Fine. Go for a walk and be done with it.

I do take issue with a couple of points, though, and this is from my personal perspective on fitness.

I wish to God fitness professionals would stop telling people stories about how damn energized they are after a workout. Yes, yes, yes, when you reach a certain level of (relatively low) fitness, that really, no kidding does happen. And yeah, it feels great. True enough.

If we’re going to rate fitness levels from one to ten and you’re at a one, you’ve got about a month or so of working out regularly (and intelligently within your proper fitness level) before this happens1. That’s okay. I mean, it really is. Anyone can grit their teeth through a month to get to something good. But let’s not lie and say that month isn’t needed. You’re convincing people who don’t feel great after workouts that they must be Special Snowflakes for whom movement does nothing.   But at the fitness levels where adding another minute or two to your walk is a genuine achievement, you’ve got awhile before that workout makes you feel good.  And yes, if you’ve been struggling to walk for ten minutes and you add another minute, it is something to be proud of.  You did something hard even if the person next to you doesn’t get that.

She also talks about workouts where you don’t work up a sweat on the theory that people don’t work out because they don’t want to take the time to shower.  She advises yoga, walking, weight training…  Weight training?  Weight training?  Well, if you’re going to use the “something is better than nothing” rule, sure.  But, there’s another catch.  As you fitness levels increase, you start to break out in a sweat faster.  Hell, I’m not all that damn fit and it only takes one set of squats before I’m red in the face and my shirt starts getting wet.  I do drive up the body temp swimming, but it’s not as noticeable.  If you’re a bit fit, chances are slim that you can work out without sweating.

1Perspective: If you’re going to call a one completely sedentary and a ten some sort of elite multi-sport athlete, I’d put myself at about a three.

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