As a lot of you sit there reading the title to this blog post, I’m willing to bet you’ve suddenly been hit by a couple of semi-alarming thoughts…
- What the hell is a gym all-star?
- How do I know if I’m a gym all-star?
First, if you’re wondering if you’re a gym all-star…you’re not a gym all-star.
Secondly, what the hell is a gym all-star anyways? A gym all-star is one of those people who just “gets it”. They look confident. They’ve got sweat flying everywhere. They’re going through yet another routine that would make other gym goers shiver with fear. They’re not paying attention to who’s looking at them or wondering if they look silly. They look, act, sound…and perhaps even smell, the part. They are completely at home in the gym.
The gym all-star comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t mistake a gym all-star for being a picture perfect fitness model or juiced up bro with frosted tips and oompa loompa colored skin. A gym all-star is someone who completely gets the whole fitness thing, knows exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, has a plan to succeed, and does all that he or she needs to do to reach his or her goals.
Gym all-stars are the envy of those around them. People will curiously stare as the gym all-star performs exercises or workouts they’ve never thought of doing. The girl on the elliptical will experience an all-encompassing jealousy when she catches her boyfriend checking you out doing your squat/box jump plyo work while she chugs away at a snail’s pace next to him. You’ll start to get more head nods, do-you-mind-if-I-work-in-with-you’s?, and right of way at the water fountain. Simply put, it’s good to be a gym all-star.
So, if you’re brand new to the whole working out thing…or you’re the girl on the elliptical everyday while reading her US Weekly magazine…put the reading material down and listen up, because I’m laying out exactly what it takes to become a gym all-star AND get into the best shape of your life.
All-Star in the Making…
- Have a plan. I hate to be cliché, but I can’t help myself here…”He who fails to plan is planning to fail”. If you have no plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Know what you want to accomplish and know the best way to accomplish it. Not sure how to accomplish your goals? Thank God for Share It Fitness..we’ve got you covered.
- Fuel yourself. All the determination in the world isn’t worth much if you don’t have the nutrition to keep your motor running. Treat your body like a Lamborghini…not a Honda Civic and it will reward you infinite times over.
- Expect burn out. I don’t care how motivated you are right now….everyone experiences burn out. How a person responds to burn out is what determines if they become an all-star or a dud stuck in the same old cycle to nowhere. I promise you, that period of burn out will NOT last more than a few days…just keep going to the gym, keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll be back to your motivated self faster than you think.
- Promise to push yourself. If you’re brand new to fitness, gains are going to come quickly. This will be an exciting time, but with all newbies, they finally hit a wall where gains stop. Hell, everyone hits a wall, a.k.a a plateau. All-stars are willing to push themselves (this is when fitness actually becomes hard) past these points…while everyone else just keeps on doing what they’ve been doing..essentially wasting their time.
Gym All-Star Basics…
- Fight the machine. Well, don’t actually fight the machine..that may end badly. Rather, fight the urge to use only machines when you lift weights. They have their place for sure, but try to maintain a 4:1 ratio of free weight or body weight exercises to every machine you use. .
- Ditch the ego. This one is primarily for the dudes amongst us. I know it’s really awesome to lift a lot of weight, but if you’re using bad form you’re only making yourself look silly and/or setting yourself up for injury. You have no idea how ridiculous you look when your back is a foot off the bench while doing that 225lb bench press.
- Full range of motion. Not only will using a full range of motion with proper form make you look like you know exactly what you’re doing, but it’ll hit your muscles better too. Try doing full range of motion squats or dumbbell fly and you’ll understand what real soreness (and progress) is all about.
- Isolate Iso. Iso-exercises that is. Unless you’re already in serious shape or training for a competition, leave the iso exercises alone. Exercises like bicep curls, lateral shoulder raises, and tricep kick backs all target small, singular muscle groups. Opt for compound movements like wide grip pull ups, incline bench press, deadlifts, and clean and presses (amongst many others) that target multiple muscle groups and do more for your overall physique.
Separating Yourself From the Pack…
- Steady state cardio has got to go. Or at least significantly reduced. The bulk of your cardio should come by way of high-intensity intervals. Whether your on the treadmill, bike, rower…doesn’t matter. Go for short bursts of all out intensity followed by longer periods of a more relaxed pace. Oh, and if you really want to look like an all-star, get good at jump roping.
- Strength and cardio are but two components of an all-star. Any clue what the third component is?
Flexibility. Increased flexibility not only allows for greater muscle gains, it also prevents injury, and chronic pain later in life. My prescription? Fifteen minutes of foam rolling 2-3x a week, plus as many yoga sessions as you can squeeze in. Don’t have the time or budget for a yoga studio…OnDemand yoga in your living room is just as effective and FREE.
- Workouts that combine strength and cardio movements are hot body makers. Leave the split schedule weight training to the meatheads. Shoot for high-intensity routines that allow you to target multiple muscle groups with short rest periods. Often cardiovascular exercises can be intermixed to make this type of workout even more intense. One such workout is our MetCon Challenge which uses metabolic conditioning principles to turn you into an all-star, inside and out.
- Go Heavy (or light). Women are often afraid of going heavy for fear of getting “big and bulky”. You know those ladies you see who look amazing in the gym? They didn’t get that way lifting 5lb dumbbells all the time. With that in mind, every now and then, feel free to mix in work outs using higher reps and lighter weights. The key is to keep your body guessing and unable to grow accustomed to any one type of training or weight.
You’re an All-Star.
- The little things add up. Please, do yourself a favor and find something to do between sets. Unless you’re doing a workout (one with seriously heavy lifting) that calls for complete rest between sets, start mixing in additional work to keep your heart rate elevated and maximizing your time spent in the gym. All those little 1-2 minute breaks really add up and when maximized, can turn you into the living, breathing, machine you’re striving to be.
- Intensity. I’m not saying you need to scream, grunt, or moan your way through each set, but you’ve got to develop some intensity at the gym. If you’re not leaving the gym a hot, sweaty mess…something isn’t right. You should always be looking to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and not grow too used to your workouts. One great tip most gym all-stars share in common; they treat each workout like a competition against themselves. ALWAYS strive to go stronger, longer, and faster than the time before. Even if you aren’t able now, you will be soon.
- Legs. Remember you have them. And I suppose the opposite could be true for women….Let’s not forget to engage our ENTIRE bodies. It’s amazing how many guys are running around with jacked up arms and chests and toothpick legs. A real all-star pays full attention to their entire body. Not to mention, when you start lifting the other half you’ve neglected for so long, everything else will start growing at a faster rate.
- Life outside of the gym. The life of a gym all-star isn’t confined to just a gym. Gym all-stars are almost always engaging in other types of heathy, and active, activities outside of the gym. Not only will developing active hobbies help you shed additional calories and fat, but it may even help you surround yourself with other people who serve as positive reinforcement of your newly claimed healthy lifestyle. Think about it…if you’re hanging with a bunch of cigarette smoking, Cheesecake Factory eating, don’t-wake-me-before-noon, couch poatotes…it won’t be long before their bad habits start rubbing off on you.
Other random thoughts…
- Drink water. And leave anything with sugar, like coconut water (but omg I love coconut water..it’s soo in right now!) alone. You just burned 400 calories on the treadmill. Do you really want to drink them all back with that coconut water/Gatorade/fill in the blank?
- Be nice. Just because you may now look and feel better than everyone else in the gym doesn’t mean you’ve got instant authority to act like a dick. Smile. Let people work in with you. Give advice if someone asks. It’s amazing how many people at my gym (guys and girls) walk around like they’re in the middle of a prison yard, just waiting to shank the first person who looks at them funny.
- Leave the shades at home. Maybe it’s a San Diego thing, but the gym I work out at will almost always have someone sporting their sunglasses while working out…indoors. Real all-stars don’t need to draw attention to themselves. Wearing neon workout gear, beats by Dr. Dre headphones, and black sunglasses may get you some attention, but it doesn’t make you an allstar….just a douche.
Remember, becoming a gym all-star isn’t about being the hottest, most fit person in the gym. It’s about developing confidence, knowing what you’re doing, and knowing why you’re doing it. Learn to stick to that rock-solid plan you developed from the getgo, vary your workouts, keep the intensity and a hot, fit body will surely follow suit.
Each one of you has all-star potential within you. The key is finding out how to unlock that potential and use it for all it’s worth. Follow along with this how to guide and you’ll be well on your way to the body and health of your dreams. Good luck, all-stars, and please feel free to comment below if you’ve got any questions.
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