I’ve always been a bit more of a loner when it comes to training. For the most part, I prefer some solitude in order to listen to my own music, have access to my own equipment and not be hindered by others who may be at a station that I want to use. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the martial arts, which often requires the dojo setting for some aspects. I mostly mean resistance and cardio training.
Oh, I’ve had gym memberships in the past and have made wonderful use of them in the past. But I’ve always been surprised at the “muscle shirt, light lifters need not apply” culture that still seems to exist in many gyms.
I remember an incident from almost eight years ago. I had a membership at a local gym (the only gym in town, actually). I had gone in for a short cardio workout before starting a work shift and I saw a guy standing in front of the dumbbell racks and arm curling some 10-pound weights. I remember thinking that he was really into his workout and had a great sweat going.
Then I noticed three guys at the squat rack. They were your typical types that you’d see in an 80’s action movie. Sleeveless shirts, thick arms and chest and monopolizing the station they’ve chosen. They had been there for a while and were obviously very pleased with themselves.
When they took notice of the guy with the lighter weights, they started pointing and laughing. One of them even called out to the guy and asked, “Do you even lift, bro?” This is an expression that came out in the early 2000’s and has driven me crazy ever since.
Folks, the reality is that it doesn’t matter how light or how heavy your weights may be. I’ve seen some circuit workouts using very light weights that would land you on your ass and make you limp the next morning. The style and weight involved in your workout all depends on what your goal happens to be.
Looking to lose weight? Want to gain some mass? Want to gain some actual strength as opposed to size? The workout regiment you design for yourself is subjective to what you’re trying to accomplish. And if it’s your first time stepping into a gym or any other public location where folks workout, you’re already one step ahead of the person who chose to stay on the couch today.
Unfortunately, there may always be those who chose to make fun or belittle others who are trying to better themselves. Don’t let it discourage you. As Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The beginning you make today will provide the results and satisfaction you have tomorrow. ☯