That last one was a bit of a personal rant so I apologize, but it got us here didn’t it? Let’s call it a poor effort to get on the same page as many of my readers. I too am impacted by the recent social media burst and it can be difficult at times to work diligently in an environment filled with distraction. I can still vividly recall training in a gym with lifters ten years older than myself during my first year of training. Depending on how I was feeling, seeing them train could either be very motivational or a bit discouraging. However, I was lucky in the fact that this essentially only took place during gym hours. I didn’t allow for it to follow me out the door. If I recall correctly, those guys were big. However, they didn’t have the help of filters, Photoshop, and other appearance enhancing options that we are accessible to now. I think of these days and I feel that I was very fortunate. At a certain point, I could pull my head out of my butt and just do the work. I even tried at one point to refrain from going to gyms that made me feel like a big fish. As a side note, PED’s were prevalent in some of these gyms and the guys I’m referring to weighed 240-280lbs.
Outside of the gym, I stopped buying the popular bodybuilding and fitness magazines. Upon reading them, I found myself conflicted about my own protocols and progress. I didn’t realize this at the time, but in a sense, I was creating a better work environment for myself. This was no different than how we keep ourselves off social media when we are at work. I was “putting my phone away”, so to speak. I was lessening the distractions so I could listen to my own voice.
Ironically, I realized that focusing on my own progress yielded me well, the most progress. I would often commit to lift in a baggy sweater and pants for extended periods of time. Instead of comparing myself to others, I spent more time focusing on my note pad and the small incremental progress I made weekly. I became submerged in my own process and the day-to-day tasks that kept me improving.
I will be the first to admit that I was overly sensitive at this stage of my life. However, I was very aware of it. Everything I did, from the number of times I trained weekly, to how I ate, was planned and based on what I thought I could cope with. Over time, I went from training three days a week to five. I went from having a power bar pre-training to having a calculated amount of protein pre-and post training. I was self-conscious about my strength, muscle, and progress. Because of this, I needed to find a way to tune things out. I created a working environment that allowed me to maximize myself. Again, this is no different than parking my phone in the other room as I type up these thoughts, right?
Your working environment is highly important. In today’s world, it follows us when we leave the gym. It can certainly be distracting…that is until you finally realize you have control over the thoughts you allow in. Before you can design your working space, it’s imperative that you search to understand yourself so you know what you need. Therefore. being self-aware is a very important skill to acquire. Honestly, it’s probably the most important skill I developed just through the simple act of lifting weights. It is something that the bright lights from your smart phone can blind you from as you scroll through the carefully selected highlights that everyone else decides to showcase. You are literally living in a time where fitness feels more like Time Square, right?
Don’t get me wrong, social media has been vital to the recent growth in our industry. Unfortunately, it can sometimes make us forget ourselves and motives. It can make us believe we need something we don’t. Trust me when I say, even as an influencer, it can still be distracting. I feel immense pressure to produce because people are watching, which can sometimes make me lose my objectivity. This is when I have go back to what I discovered at a young age. I must remind myself that I progress better when I focus on my own progress and needs… we all do! I am my biggest obstacle at the end of the day and I am also the biggest key to unlocking my full potential as an athlete. Finally, an old quote to close this entry (which just so happens to have come from one of those huge guys that I mentioned above from my early training days). I always find peace whenever I repeat this to myself… especially when I feel a bit behind in this imaginary race. Maybe you will too.
“Not everyone can be the best but shame on you if you are not YOUR best.”