The other day, I was next to a guy on a cardio machine. We were engaging in the usual small talk that eventually got around to the topic of fitness. I mentioned that whenever I come to the gym, I push myself hard. He said to me when he comes to the gym, he only wants to relax. After he said that, I had an epiphany. For a long time, I wondered why I was not getting any results before from all my efforts at the gym. Additionally, I have observed individuals at this particular gym who have been attending at least as long as I have been going there, since June of 2006. In spite of spending huge amounts of time there, on the treadmill, on the elliptical, on the cycle for all these months, they still look the same. For a long time, I could not understand why this was the case. Then when my companion told me he only wants to relax and take it easy at the gym, it hit me. To get the best results, or perhaps any results at all, one must push their bodies beyond their comfort zones. This means the gym must be the one place we cannot "relax and take it easy", not in the physical sense. Of course a good workout can emotionally relax you since it is a good reliever of stress. But, when it comes the physical, the gym is a place to challenge your body, for it is the only way for it to improve. Looking back, I must honestly admit during my prior endeavors at the gym, I shied away from discomforting myself, and the results reflected that. It was only when I started at November of 2006 that I was going all out, that I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, and I started getting immediate results. Now, one must not go to the other extreme and push too hard. Aside from risk of injury, there will not be enough time to recover between sessions, making it hard sustain training. That can cause loss of motivation, and so can being injured. Therefore, balance must be struck on individual training sessions being challenging enough to promote improvement but not to slow recovery or injury.
While a gym is not the place to physically relax, outside the gym one must remember to relax. Recovery is a vital part of fitness; indeed it is almost impossible to achieve muscle growth without proper resting and recovery. So, remember, take it hard in the gym, but take it easy outside of it.
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