I’ve been working out for years now but I’ve only been to gym for the last 6 months (except that one month I withdrew from it and slacked off from working out) and for the few months I’ve been going to gym to improve my physique and gain strength, among other things, there are a few lessons I’ve picked up along the way – both from my own experience and from people around me, a.k.a. my fellow gym rats.

Read more to know the real deal when you go to gym and what it really means to be surrounded by people who have the same goal as you – fitness.

Comfort over fashion.

I admit that I’m one of the few who would prefer to look good while working out. But from my stand, it actually works. Sometime I find myself constantly fixing my clothes, especially my top, when it shows too much skin or when it’s too loose, and I would rather wear something actually comfortable and fits me well rather than something that looks good but doesn’t help me function well at all. That said, avoid being a fashionista. Not only would it be a waste of time constantly ogling at yourself in the mirror because your outfit is on fleek, you’ll always be distracted and you’ll tend to lift with your ego, and not with your muscles. Trust me, I’ve been there. This brings me to another lesson..

Wear proper gym attire.

You don’t have to look fasyown while doing your bicep curls, but please, for the sake of fitness, wear proper gym clothes. There’s this guy in the gym that I’ve seen wearing capri pants too many times, and every time, I just wanna walk to him and ask if he can change. No, I don’t own the gym. But it just feels so uncomfortable seeing someone not wearing the appropriate dress code for a certain place.

You can never know too much.

Trust me, no matter how much you claim it, you don’t know everything. Research alone won’t suffice. There will be people who will know better than you, and you’ll want to stick with them. I learned this earlier while I was doing leg extensions and the gym PT was observing me (for some reason, which was weird, because more often than not, he lets me be) and he told me I shouldn’t let the bars touch so all the tension would still be on my quads. And he was completely right. He was so right, a few seconds after he gave me that tip, I saw these bulks of muscles on my thighs, which I’ve never seen before. Well, that’s why my legs look the same no matter how much work I think I do.

STOP WEARING PERFUME BEFORE WORKING OUT.

Sweat is gross, I admit. But perfume with sweat is grosser as it is with wearing perfume before actually working out. I know you’ll stink in the gym, there’s no way you won’t, so enlighten me why you’re so engrossed with beautifying yourself before you look like a mess?

Not everyone who has a big body has a small heart.

Having a massive figure comprises of dedication, perseverance, a clear mindset, clear-cut goals – the works. I don’t think they aimed to be that strong and look good physique-wise just to boast about their muscles and for their lack of need to run miles to burn off fats. No, most successes have undergone a lot of failures, trials, and hardships, before those dreamers reached the peak or that big star. Having that kind of goal honestly requires a lot of positive thoughts. A negative mind is never good, and it would give you all the more reason to give up easily, slack off, or worse, quit for good. That guy you applaud for having massive guns might have been the sluggish kid who got teased at a lot during grade school. That woman you admire for her curves and her strength could be lifting a lot for recovery and not for recognition. They’re normal people, and they had or still have tribulations, too. They didn’t reach that far with the help of their ego. They used their minds, and their hearts to follow their dreams, to better themselves, or for whatever reason. Their bodies might be big, but I bet their hearts are bigger.

Everyone is in to win it, so stop putting others down.

Most of the time when we see someone with a better physique or gains we work hard for but can never achieve, we immediately think “competition”. If you’re one of those people who think that way, as early as now, I’m urging you to stop. As they say, comparison is the thief of joy. You’ll never be happy with your progress if you keep looking at others to compare. The gym is a breaking ground to unleash your full potential and go beyond what your mind thinks by maximizing your strength through your body. It’s not a place to criticise others or yourself. It’s about going down to help others up. It’s about creating a support system, a community who understands your goals and visions. That said…

You have silent supporters.

Being supportive doesn’t always show in an obvious manner. Sometimes, it’s admiring someone silently for showing up at the gym every single day. Sometimes, it’s a silent cheer to someone to finish those last few grueling reps. I can’t speak for myself in another person’s point of view, but I can say that I’m one of those silent supporters who have cheered on for others and who by now know who will be when. I always look forward to seeing the usual crowd in the gym and every time I see them, I’m always glad they show up no matter the weather, and they keep pushing.

Always bring a towel with you.

I’ve learned too many times that it’s both inappropriate and unhygienic to let your sweat dry on its own – if it even will before someone else uses the bench, machine, or mat! Worse, letting your sweat drip all over. Too many times I looked like a drenched duck because I keep forgetting my towel. There was a time I even had to wear a sweater against my will, just so I’d have something to wipe my sweat with. Kids, don’t follow this type of behaviour. Bring a towel at all times, and change your clothes after working out, too.

Bae Milanes

Bae is a 20-something passion blogger from Manila. She likes hoarding hobbies and trying out new stuff, blogging about her mundane adventures, and tweeting about random realizations and musings.

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