Okay, so in 2015, I got super into weight lifting. I went from ‘no fitness’ to ‘running is awful, why does anyone do this to themselves’ to telling my mom how much I went up on my deadlift whenever she asked what’s going on in my life. When I realized I had suffered a head injury early in December, I looked up ‘working out with a concussion’ before I searched for the nearest doctor that was open past 6 p.m. Exercise becomes incredibly addictive, but the push to actually get up and get out to the gym is the toughest part. Who wants to leave the house in the dead of winter for non-essential things, especially when things like Netflix and pizza delivery exist? Who wants to be the newbie in a room full of toned and tan people who all just seem to magically know what they’re doing? How do you inspire yourself to successfully traverse the urban wilderness of the gym and shed the moniker of the dreaded ‘New Year’s Resolutioner?’
The answer varies from person to person, and setting goals and doing your best is key. While none of us are going to end up looking like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson after a month of grinding away in the weight room, the Muscle and Fitness Man of the Century has some important tips buried in all of those pictures of him adjusting his shirtsleeves. These include:
1. Cardio Is Important, No Matter How Much You Hate It
Finding a balance between cardio and strength training is important. Sure, too much cardio can keep you toned while potentially hindering those ‘gains’ you hear people talk about, but no cardio? Naw. No matter how much you hate putting down the weights and hopping on that treadmill, a healthy heart is good for everyone.
2. Never Skip Leg Day
How often do we talk about The Rock never skipping leg day? Like, a lot. That dude’s quads are insane. Leg Day is the most painful, but easily the most rewarding of split days. And unless you want to look super ripped up top, but have the spindly legs of a home-schooled pre-teen, hit that squat rack.
3. A Good Diet Is Essential
“You cant out-exercise a bad diet.” “Abs are made in the kitchen.” “Danielle, don’t eat at Chipotle three days in a row.” All of these phrases are excellent advice, and important to your newfound interest in fitness. While we don’t advise you to eat 10 pounds of food a day like he does, low calorie diets and high-intensity workouts just don’t mix. Properly fueling your body before and after you exercise will help you see the most successful results, and keep you from burning yourself out. More importantly, it’ll help you avoid undoing all that hard work you’re putting in at the gym.
4. For Added Motivation, Find A Workout Buddy
Got a friend who also wants to get in better shape? Know someone who’s already good at it who will help keep your spirits up when you just don’t feel like doing crunches (spoiler: you will never feel like doing crunches)? Are you easily motivated by the guilt of letting someone else down if you bail on a gym date? They could just be the ones who push you to a new and improved you. Bonus points if that buddy is an adorable dog.
5. Remember That It’s Your Hard Work That Will Get You There, Not Anyone Else
Goals and inspirations are important. Whether it’s that t-shirt with the inspirational slogan to remind you to ‘always be keep going,’ or that favorite pair of jeans that don’t fit quite like they used to, we all have different things that push us forward. Again, you’re probably not going to end up looking like Dwayne Johnson, but if you focus on being the best version of yourself possible, and the version that makes you happy, you’ll reach your goals a lot faster than you will by comparing yourself to others. If you don’t progress as fast as you hoped, or you don’t look like anyone in that fitspo tag on Instagram, it’s no big deal.
Do it for yourself, find the things that motivate you, but don’t bring you down, do your research, and seriously, never skip leg day.