The anatomy of willing yourself to go to the gym.

The gym

The gym. Also known as — the enemy.

Nobody wants to go there. Nobody. You never hear somebody shout with glee that their about to go the gym. No one yells “I’m going to the gym!” with the same tone of voice as they might yell “I just won 500 bucks on a scratch-off!”

But we have to go. Unless you’re one of those people who is just innately thin regardless of what they eat — and if you are, I hate you —  then we all have to make our frequent trips to the gym to maintain our personal health and figure.

But there’s a giant misconception about the gym. And that is this: The people who hate the gym the most — are the ones who go there the most.

Fat people don’t hate the gym. They don’t decide to not to go the gym because they hate it, they decide not to go because they’re indifferent towards it. They don’t even think about it. To actually hate something, you have to be familiar with it. That’s why I don’t hate women.

It’s the people who step into their gym to work out anywhere between 3 and 5 days a week who hate the living shit out of it. But we suck it up and we make the trip regardless because we know that the good outweighs the bad.

The hardest part about going to the gym is actually finding the will to go. Once you’re there, it’s a piece of cake. Actually, scratch that —  it’s the piece of cake that you’re trying to burn off!


I apologize. I could not resist.

But again, even the regular gym rats face an internal debate about their gym attendance. They go more often than not, but it’s still a struggle. Most regular gym-goers have their own personal schedule. For me, I try to actually work out — as in actually lifting weights — on Wednesdays and Fridays. On other days, I usually do cardio, and if it’s nice enough outside, I can avoid the gym.

So let me provide you with my mindset about how my brain thinks throughout the course of a Wednesday, which is my first weightlifting day of the week, and the day when I get my most complete workout.

First thing in the morning: Rise and shine, it’s a gym day! Make it through work today, and then hit the gym and you’ll be feeling awesome at the end of the day! Yeah baby! Carpe diem!

Mid-morning: Alright, this day is flying by already! Almost finished with my coffee and still can’t wait to go the gym.

Mid-afternoon: Okay, coffee wearing off a little. But, you know, that will all change when I go to the gym later to cancel this out.

Late afternoon: Oh man. I just ate way too much. I’m in a food coma. Ugh, I definitely need to go to the gym now.

Almost 5 p.m.: Man, it’s 5 o’clock already? Do I even have time to go to the gym? I don’t know. I’m pretty tired.

After arriving home: I don’t feel like moving. God damn it. Can I just watch a movie instead? *Walks over to the mirror and looks at self* Oh, you fat piece of shit. Look at you. You’re disgusting. Eh, I better go the gym, what the hell.

15 minutes into the gym: Alright, almost done with my first exercise. Just do a few more and get out of here. You can do this.

skinny weightliffter20 minutes later: Hmm, I’m actually feeling pretty good! I’m really glad I came, I’m having such a good workout. *Looks in mirror at gym* Damn, I look freaking ripped.

15 minutes later: Should I use that one extra machine? Yeah, what the hell, I’m going to use that extra machine. LET’S DO IT. *Notices extremely fit girl in tight yoga pants walk by, pretends to act like he’s worthy of her and that being at the gym is no big deal.*

5 minutes later: Alright, time for cardio, and them I’m out of here. I owned the gym today, bitch.

Finishing up cardio: I can’t believe I ever doubted coming to the gym today. You see this river of sweat all over my shirt? I earned that.

Arrives home: *Looks in mirror* Yeah, baby. I am really, really skinny. Like, I am in very good shape. Time to eat.

20 minutes later: *Looks in mirror after eating massive meal and stares at gut* Well, fuck me.

Again, the battle lies in mustering the energy and the willpower to actually go the gym. Once you actually get there, you’re not going to only stay for a few minutes. You’re going to get your money’s worth. In fact, my best workouts usually come on days when I preemptively tell myself beforehand that I am only going to do a quick workout.

The difference between in-shape and out-of-shape people is simple — it’s the in-shape people who fight those pre-gym demons and convince themselves that they should go anyway. Just don’t think, grab your keys, drive to the gym, and let your muscles do the rest.

I think setting a schedule definitely helps. Once you can nail down some type of habitual routine, it will become muscle memory.

People think that if they sign up for the gym, and actually pay money, then it will force them to go. But that’s not true. I’ve seen people pay $30 a month for a gym they don’t even set foot in. It takes a lot more guts and determination than that. Your biggest enemy isn’t the money, or the traveling, or the weights — it’s you.

Only you can beat you.

And I’m not talking about masturbation.

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