There are but a few events in a man's life that can truly be counted as determinant for the direction his life has taken. At the end of his days, a man can look back and pinpoint only a couple of events that were paramount in determining his success and happiness - or lack thereof. These are usually the big decisions that one has to take, but sometimes, a decision that seems irrelevant and mundane turns out to be the one thing that releases a man from living through inertia and blasts him with full force towards a life of growth, achievement and joy. Only after some time has ellapsed can he look back and say, "that's the moment when my true path started." As I write this, I ponder upon all the years that have passed since I crossed, for the first time, the doors of the Temple of Iron, and I come to the conclusion that a simple choice motivated by -at the time- superficial reasons, saved me from living wrongly and bitterly, and determined the person that I was to be.
Like many teenagers, my first approach to the gym was as a tool to be more attractive and thus, get more girls interested in me. I was a skinny boy. Underweight. Not particularly weak but definitely not strong. As I started to grow up, and female attention became a priority, I started to take my physical fitness more seriously. I started performing pull-ups and push-ups religiously, and as a result, my muscles started to show. Girls started to notice. I wasn't big, but having some abs and being lean was enough to warrant a significant increase in female attention. My confidence started to grow, and after some months it absolutely exploded into plain arrogance. I had found a new source of power, one that could get me some things I wanted, and I used it. This went on for a couple of years, until I graduated from highschool and started college far away, in a different country, where no one knew me and I didn't quite feel as the badass I thought I was in school. The city were I went to study was a cold, hard place. There weren't many women nor many people akin to myself and my interests. As a result, I ended up not lonely but quite alone, and turned all the attention and energy that had been directed towards partying, women, and fake friendships towards the one thing that I knew I could enjoy by myself: the gym. My God, how I changed in such a short amount of time.
The arrogant 18 year old I was once had become a whole different person. Having all the time in the world to work out (my class schedule was quite flexible), I became obsessed. All I did was eat, train, and sleep. I was 72 kg when I started, and within a year I had bulked up all the way to 84 kg, had managed to complete two cycles of the program "Project Mass", and at 19, I was deadlifting 450lbs, squatting 315lbs, and bench-pressing 265 lbs. But the physical improvements weren't the only (nor the main) changes that occurred. As I said, I was obsessed with working out. This meant that I went to the gym no matter what. At 4 am on a winter morning, I went to the gym. At midnight after a social gathering, I went to the gym. In the middle of a hellish summer day, I went to the gym. Nothing could stop me. Discipline built up and contaminated every other aspect of my life: I started taking cold showers every single day. I bought and read books like a madman. I stopped drinking alcohol altogether. Within a year, I had gone from an arrogant, weak and unwise boy to a pretty strong, very disciplined and somewhat wiser man. And it was all thanks to the lessons that I had learned while struglling against the iron.
Within a year, I had gone from an arrogant, weak and unwise boy to a pretty strong, very disciplined and somewhat wiser man. And it was all thanks to the lessons that I had learned while struglling against the iron.
The true value of working out
Most people (that don't work out), consider lifting weights to be an exclusively physical activity. Thus, they fail to see the value of the gym beyond the obvious effect of improving one's physical fitness and strength. Being strong and fit is amazing, and it's reason enough to follow a workout routine and lift weights. But working out transcends the physical realm. Going to the gym means challenging yourself and overcoming your own weakness, excuses and sloth. Going to the gym means learning about sacrifice, anbout the value of pain, about the rewards of true, honest, hard work. Going to the gym means teaching yourself to be resilient, to stand up whenever you fail, and to try and try again until you succeed. Going to the gym means learning that you are not something until you make something of yourself, that you deserve nothing more than what you make yourself worth. The gym is a microcosm that perfectly represents the struggles, actions and reactions of the larger world. Yes, working out makes you stronger, healthier, and more physically attractive. But the main reason why you should work out is because the gym saves your mind from the temptations of modernity, from the power of your own vices and from the inner demons that try to bind you and keep you down.
The gym saved my life
The gym saved me. I can say that confidently and proudly. I would not be half the man I am if I had never made the seemingly simple decision of picking up a heavy object and lifting it repeatedly. If this post serves as a lesson to us all, let it be this: make the correct decision, no matter how mundane and irrelevant it seems as the moment. There is much more to life than meets the eye.
And obviously, if you don't already, GO TO THE GYM. You will thank yourself in the future.
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