Fifty percent of the workout is just getting to the gym. Think I’m kidding? Hear me out. When you decide to workout, do you tough it out and make it happen? Or does the earth’s gravitational pull start working mysteriously against you?
Is this you?
- “I went to the gym today because it makes me feel energized.”
- “I went to the gym today because I always loosen up once I get moving.”
- “I went to the gym today because I want to get better at jumping rope,” (or pushups, or hand stands, or whatever).
OR is this you?
- “I want to workout today, but I don’t feel like riding my bike to Chelsea,” (and you live in Hell’s Kitchen).
- “I want to workout today, but brunch with mimosas sounds too good to pass up,” (but you went to happy hour last night).
- “I want to workout today, but there’s a hole in my favorite yoga pants,” (but you have six other pairs in the drawer).
Sound familiar? Well, you’re either one or the other. But when you just show up to the gym, you’ve won half the battle. You’re either ready and willing to go, or you’re made of excuses.
The Power of Enthusiasm:
If half the battle is won by just showing up, you’ve only got half way to go on your own. In my opinion, you can win another fifteen percent by picking a workout you’re enthusiastic towards. There are plenty of workouts to choose from:
- Crossfit – The perfect workout for advanced athletes, and great for those who want to stay in peak physical condition throughout the year.
- HIIT – A slight drop down from Crossfit, but good for those who eventually want to take the next step.
- Rowing – If you do Crossfit or HIIT, chances are you’ll come across an Erg Machine, but you can also pursue rowing in specialized classes.
- Cycling – SoulCycle and/or FlyWheel classes are for those who love to hit the bike. Also great for advanced racers.
- Running – Mile High Run Club is a cool (somewhat) new concept in New York. It combines interval running & strength training in an indoor setting and is good for all levels.
- Yoga – Not that I need to explain this one, but yoga integrates basic-to-advanced elements of stretching and meditation. Great for current (and former) dancers.
- Barre – If you get good at any of these workouts, try a Barre class. It’ll put things into perspective (and kick your butt).
Be sure to pick the workout that’s best for you. Go with it, and don’t look back. And if you’re growing tired of a certain workout, it’s time to move onto something else.
Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm.
Feed off the Energy:
If you haven’t figured it out, exercise in a group setting is pertinent to my theory. If you decide to go this route, you’re making a great decision for your health. From there, another ten percent can be won by feeding off of other people’s energy. But don’t pay too much attention to to what the next person is doing.
While it may be hard to NOT notice other people, this can be highly distracting. The main idea of a workout is to maximize our OWN personal benefit, no matter what anybody else does.
To further explain, I’ll use my husband as an example. He’s recently taken up Crossfit and on most weeknights, he attends class at a popular “box” (Crossfit lingo for “gym”) in Midtown Manhattan. On some nights, an advanced crossfitter named “Paul” shows up to the workout.
According to my husband, “Paul” is “an absolute beast.” During some workouts, “Paul” almost doubles the output of my husband (according to the rules of Crossfit). And my husband’s no pushover (well, maybe a slight pushover).
Anyway, if my husband pays too much attention to “Paul,” or even tries to keep up, he may get discouraged. Furthermore, an injury or blowout may occur. But if my husband uses “Paul’s” work ethic as motivation (instead of a distraction), he may start to realize his own potential.
You can’t make significant progress without facing reality. And you don’t have to be the best one at the gym to get results.
Get to the Finish Line:
So if you just showed up to the gym, you’ve given fifty percent. If you’ve picked the right workout and you’re enthusiastic about it, that’s another fifteen percent right there. If you’re working out in a group setting, you can gain another ten percent by feeding off other people.
The last twenty-five percent, well, that’s up to you.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand what I’m saying. If you’re doing an hour-long, intense, breath-sapping workout (e.g. Crossfit, Mile High Run Club, SoulCycle, even Yoga), you’ll definitely give much more than twenty-five percent.
The key is to put your mind in “twenty-five percent mode.”
We’re all taught to give one-hundred percent. But in an intense workout setting, a twenty-five percent mentality is more than enough. If you go too fast, you’ll burn out. If you’re going too slow, you won’t get anything out of it. But if you put your mind in twenty-five percent mode, plus you understand all the other elements, you may be relaxed as you cross the finish line.
Remember, it takes a ton of hard work to become the star of the show, but we all have to start somewhere.