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Don't Be Afraid to be the Weakest Person in the Gym

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU TIP: For Beginners and Advanced Patrons

Train alongside people that make you feel (and look) like the weakest person in the room. Nothing motivates you more than to train around like-minded individuals who want to work hard, will push you, and play both encourager and caller-outer at the same time.

Back in 2013-2014, I trained at night with all the "Big" guys, and never afraid to keep myself consistent. A few times per week hand full of trainers would drive from all over to workout together, from circuits to bodybuilding to even weird core exercises just because. It was the best training year of my life, even with a hour in traffic both ways.

I remember showing up the first night, a late Thursday, max effort bench night for Ritson Desrosiers no less, and trying all I could not to destroy the back of my pants when I first walked in. Standing around were 4 ginormous human beings tossing around weights I'd only read about up until that point.

Here I was, some 170 pound athletic dude who thought he was strong 'cause he had deadlifted 450 a few weeks prior. Hahahaha, that's cute. Kenny Smith was over at the squat rack repping out 315 for who knows how many then super setting muscle ups for what felt like an eternity. (Gulp.)

As intimidating as the environment was at first, it didn't take long to understand the rules and to become a part of the group:

  • Come to work hard.

  • You're not above helping others with spots and hand-offs.

  • Put your shit away when you're done.

It was such a treat to have access to those men for a year, but also for the next three. The ball-busting, the training advice, and the camaraderie was unparalleled, and I was never stronger than I was that year. It's hard to find this at your local big box commercial gym.

There are exceptions to the rule, but it's hard to be motivated for a heavy squat day when boy band music is blaring over the stereo and you have a fake Fit-hero guy working out next to you performing a circuit of kipping pull-ups, high-rep deadlifts that are more like bouncelifts, and bear crawls over a broken glass.

Even if it's only one time per week, try to make an effort to find a gym where you can train amongst "your" people. It's all the motivation you'll need. Even if it's a little out of your way, it's more than worth it, trust me.


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