Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chin Up

StevieB wrote an excellent post a few weeks back that I've been thinking about ever since. (Inspired Alignment). In it he writes about the excuses people make to avoid staying fit, and what inspires and motivates him to get to the gym. It made me think about my own motivation. And my excuses.

I admit to being one of those who suffers from gym insecurity. I suspect it's left over baggage from middle school P.E. class. To this day I can't hang from a chin-up bar without seeing someone behind me with a clipboard saying, "Done? Okay, we'll round that up to 2. Next!"

I know it's not completely rational, I understand that. I know the last thing on the radar of the other people in the gym is how fit I look or don't look, what kind of socks I'm wearing, the number of plates I'm using, my squat form, the size of my sweat puddle, the lewd noises I make under concentric load, etc., etc.

Or is it? After all, I can't deny I occasionally catch myself observing and, yes, sometimes judging them in one or more of these categories.

I know I'm making assumptions, but part of me thinks it's easy for someone like Stevie to dismiss the power of personal insecurity as a gym demotivator. He's hot and built like a brick Oklahoma storm shelter. I could work hours every day and not have biceps or pecs like that. And those glutes... I can't look at 'em without the urge to play them like bongo drums, Matthew McConaughey style.

But the thing about personal insecurities is that they're, well, personal. (Unless you blog.) I have no idea what goes through the mind of anyone else in the gym, but it's a very self-centered thing to worry about. And even if they are judging me, what they think doesn't put weight on my bar.

I have to remind myself that a small but not insignificant fraction of that StevieB hotness is the result of years of dedication and discipline. Even if that does entitle him today to feel totally secure about himself inside a crowded gym doing concentration curls in front of the mirror wall, I suspect he may not have started out feeling that way.

And he didn't let that stop him.


  1. Very interesting post.

    I was self-conscious when I first started working out in the gym. But I stayed focused. I waited patiently for my turn on a weight bench while the big muscle guys worked out. Then accepted their offer to help pull off the 45 lbs weights on each end and put my little 25 lbs plates on. Within a year or two I was keeping the 45 lb plates on the bench too and asking the big muscle guys to spot for me. Nothing better than looking directly into the crotch of a hot straight muscled guy.

    Get over yourself and change your focus! It will work! ;)

  2. I've always had gym-anxiety. Having a trainer has helped me stay focused, get in better workouts and given me guidance on what to do when I'm there on my own. I totally get the gym-demotivator vibe.