The Gym (Or Building with Statistically High Amounts of People Wearing Muscle Shirts)

About one month into going to the overly crowded (and smelly) CCRB, the gym on the University of Michigan’s central campus, I made a blog post about my experiences.

Shockingly, I was sassy.

Deep within the archives of failed ideas it lies, filled with cutting edge humor and critical analysis of Whey protein and BCAAs.

I decided to give it a revisit.

It being the new year, I’m sure a lot of you are making your New Year’s Resolutions.  And I’m sure a lot of you are going to go to the gym.  Which is great.  But gyms are scary and the CCRB is no exception.  (Not exaggerating.)  The mistakes I made in the past few months made for some hilarious tweets, but I don’t wish that onto you.  Entering the natural habitat of muscled fuck boys can be a culture shock.  Here are my tips to survive the process:

  1. If you don’t like Keeping Up With The Kardashians don’t even bother walking through the door.  E! is always on for some reason, but don’t worry because Kim Kardashian will push you like you’ve never been pushed before.
  2. An hour long workout isn’t better than a 30 minute workout if half the time you spent checking your Twitter feed. (Guilty.)
  3. You’re not the strongest one, but you’re also not the weakest one.  Also, news flash, no one cares.  Lift what you can, not what you want.
  4. Form > Weight.   ( is your best friend.)
  5. Quest bars > Cliff bars.
  6. There are three bars for cable curls at the gym.  Two of them are unbearably squeaky.  You will always end up with one of the two.
  7. Fashion goes out the window the second you walk in the door. (Once I saw a man wearing a shirt that said “My favorite color is no pants”.  I still have nightmares.)
  8. You will be intimidated.  But don’t worry.  Gyms are required to have at least a few guys from the Men’s Fitness magazine in the gym at all times.  Just ignore them and their 0% body fat and pretend they’re not real.
  9. Going with a friend really helps with #8.  (Love you, Jaime.)
  10. Check your form.  Check your form again.  Then check your form a third time.  Having bad form can lead to not even working the right muscles and even damaging others.  (Source: me)
  11. Turns out stretching is really important.
  12. Like really important.
  13. No one expects you to know where every machine is right away nor do they expect you to know how to use them.  Take some time to feel the place out.
  14. If you get strep or some other, I don’t know, rare disease that sounds like it’s from the 1970’s (ex: Scarlet Fever), don’t go to the gym.  This should be a no-brainer.  Even if you clean the machines well, it’s just not the best idea, especially for your health.
  15. Disclaimer: I forgot to follow 14.
  16. You should probably follow 14.

Unfortunately, though, most people that start going to the gym for New Year’s usually stop after a month, even if they’re aided by my world renowned advice.

Which is both annoying and understandable.

I mean, progress is slow and there’s a lot to learn.  After all this time, I’m still learning.  For example:  Did you know that if you don’t stretch after a workout, you might be sore the next day?  And if you don’t stretch after a workout where you work on a muscle group you’re not used to working out, you might be sore for the next week?

Believe me, I was surprised, too.

The human body works in mysterious ways.

But the gym is a mysterious place.  Any given machine is just as likely to be a tricep press as it is to be a really exciting sex machine.

If you take out all of the perverts (sorry for my last comment), you have people of all ages, either doing strength training , cardio, even yoga, with the intent to just be healthy.  Which, all jokes aside, is pretty damn cool.  You can obsess about your strength, your form, how you look, how sweaty you are, what clothes you’re wearing, but what really matters is your perspective.

Think of the gym as a break from life.  There’s a ton of activity going on at all times but if you really just stop looking around and just relax it’s a really peaceful, head-clearing place.  Calc 3 and Orgo 2 can’t attack me when I’m two sets deep into bench press. (Translation:  Calc 3 and Orgo 2 can’t attack me when my chest feels like it’s being ripped off my body.)

Whether you go to the gym and do yoga, lightweights, or intense lifts like squatting or deadlifts, just going is the first step.

And hey, you might get some pretty funny tweets in the process.

You got this.

I’ll see you at the gym.

Hopefully I’ll be a little less sore.

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