Hiep Doan

The life lessons at a gym

June 26, 2017

Probably people do not go to gym to contemplate. Neither do I, I go to gym to work out, get myself recharged and wake my muscle up after hours of sitting rather static in front of the computer.

But that does not stop my from thinking and observing. There is actually so many life lessons that you can see at a gym.

Some gorillas at the gym

If life and workout were a running race, it must be marathon, not sprint

You do not get your dreamy 6-pack abs after 1 damn heavy workout session. Maybe even not after 10 or 100 sessions. It can take months to get your body shredded.

So persistence is the key. It’s not about how heavy the weight you lift each time, but you need to work out frequently. You cannot work really hard one in a while, hoping it will compensate for your skipped sessions.

And yes, just like in life, if you are rushing too quick towards your goal, you get hurt. If your goal is to 100-kg deadlift, you must patiently improve from 40, 60, 80 kg-deadlift, otherwise you get injury.

The tricky thing is people are expecting to see the result too early. You exercise for two hours and suppose that your body will like those body builders who have been at the gym for years. Then you give up after a week because you thing you’ll never be like them.

That story happens in life too. People give up their plan too quick, just because they put too much pressure on them at the early stage. No, you got to keep on trying and the tangible result will come. Period.

You are competing on your own race

Many people including me often compare their life to others. The ‘other guy’ must have a nicer car, better job and bigger bank account or so you think. Then they get jealous and end up blaming themselves for living a seemingly loser life.

In the gym, you have your own work-out schedule. You do not try to lift heavier weigh or run more kms than your friend. Each week, you try to lift a little bit bigger weigh than what you did last week. You are your own competitor and you goal is to be a better one than yourself last time.

It’s the same in life. You are living on your own path, maybe at a certain point in your path, other looks better in his path. But it does not matter as it’s not the end of the path that you have chosen and you just need to keep on moving forward.

You have to find what works for you

There are just many articles or books about how you should do anything in your life, from business to relationship handling. And there are probably just as many tips, tricks or video blogs about how you should do in the gym. There are so many exercises with few variations, tons of rules on reps and sets. And the list of functional food to supplement your muscle is just uncountable.

The truth is “one size does not fit all”. Not every thing people tell you is good for you. Even if it works for some one else, there is no guarantee that it can suit you. You have to try it little and little to find out what works best for you.

Learning from other’s experience and knowledge is crucial, but in the end it’s you who decide which way to follow. Because no one understands your situation better than you and ultimately you are responsible for what you choose.

This article is also posted on Medium.

Hiep Doan

Written by Hiep Doan, a software engineer living in the beautiful Switzerland. I am passionate about building things which matters and sharing my experience along the journey. I also selectively post my articles in Medium. Check it out!