Early last year (very early, beginning of January really), a friend and I decided that our New Years resolution, although as cliche as it is, would be to start going to the gym and bulk up. My friend Chris, and I were skinny so I believe at that point we both agreed to create our dream bodies. I believe a month or 2 after consistently hitting the gym, I injured my knee and tore my meniscus (haha). Before hitting the gym, I didn’t attempt to do any research further than what workouts would produce the most effective results; therefore I suffered tremendously. I truly didn’t know the definition of “excruciating” till I injured my knee. The meniscus is the ligament in your knee that enables you to bend and straighten your knee. When I tore my meniscus, of course I had no idea or knowledge of what was occurring in my body at the time – so I stayed home for about 2 days hoping and believing my leg would just “go back to normal” (wtf was I thinking). After 2 days of hopping around the house on 1 leg, I forced my mother to go to the ER, and there, we discovered I needed surgery. About a week a later, I received surgery on my knee and was immobilized for about 6-8 months.
Flashback: I remember during the physical therapy, I would laugh at myself because I just couldn’t believe I had to learn how to walk again.
It’s been over year since that incident, and honestly, I am still recovering (slight sporadic knee pains) – but overall, I am healthy. In the beginning of summer 2016, I decided to give the gym another try, and attempted to build the body I envisioned in my mind. Of course, this time, I did extensive (EXTENSIVE!) research before I even picked up a dumb-bell. For the whole of the summer, I went to the gym 4 days a week, tried my best to eat healthy, and get enough rest. The result is the proud feeling I receive when I look in the mirror and witness the body that was once just an image in my mind.
I basically became addicted to the gym, and the feeling of exhilaration and fulfillment working out gave me. Someone I know once said, “I have to go to the gym at least twice a week unless I’m just gonna be fucking angry.”
My biggest problem now is, because I have achieved my dream body, it is becoming difficult to motivate myself to go to the gym(which is really not a profound problem at all). The gym not only makes you physically strong, but it also provides an outlet where you can clear your mind and frustrations. One other habit I have incorporated into my gym regiment is listening to audio books while working out. 1 hour in the gym = 1 audio book.
Below are the top 5 mistakes I see people make in the gym:
- Not stretching before and after workout. This is most likely why I tore my meniscus and was immobilized for 8 months (don’t be like me).
- Quality over quantity. People tend to rush their workouts and do not give their body time to actually feel the effects of whatever workout they’re doing. 5 quality push-ups are better than 10 rushed push-ups.
- What is your purpose? The action movie star Jason Statham once said, “Your body is like a piece of dynamite, You can tap it with a pencil all day but you’ll never make it explode. You hit once with a hammer: Bang!”. I’ve seen people do a complete set, then sit and scroll through twitter for about 10 minutes before they begin their next set. In my mind I’m thinking “why the fuck are you even here?”. Have a purpose when you’re hitting the gym.
- Too much cardio: Women go to the gym and do 30 minutes on a treadmill hoping to lose weight but they start to complain when they lose the nice ass they once had; Or men who intend to gain muscles also do the same, and will complain about not gaining enough muscles. Cardio eats your fat, if you have no fat, it eats your muscles. Personally, I don’t do cardio (besides walking my dog haha). But honestly, more than 10 minutes of cardio is too much.
- Focus on your whole body. Some men come into the gym and only workout their arms, resulting in bulky arms and weak ass pencil legs. Some women do cardio but are still physically weak. Remember to focus on your whole body. If you really want to be fit, don’t half-ass it. Set up a regiment to work on your every muscles from forearms, to shoulders, to back, to biceps, and triceps. Workout every inch of your body for an explosion!
P.S. The audio-book I listened to while I was in the gym today was As A Man Thinketh by James Allen <== great book.