Do it ’til it hurts.
It really doesn’t matter how often you go to the gym. Nobody cares if you go every single morning before work. It’s not about hours logged. It doesn’t impress me if you go to the gym six days a week, or you stay there for 2 hours each time you go. It shouldn’t impress anyone else either. All that says to me is that you have plenty of free time, which is great for you. At the end of the day, everyone can find an hour a day to go to the gym if they have to. What separates the people that want results and the people that GET results is what you actually do at the gym.
So do it ’til it hurts.
You don’t need to spend endless hours a day at the gym nor go to the gym everyday. It’s not mandatory to do a million sets of an exercise. But you should always fail. Fail every single time you go to the gym. Why? Because then you can be absolutely certain you gave it everything you physically had. When you go back to my apartment and take a shower, you won’t have regrets, or wish you’d done more. It validates that the time you just put in.
If you toss around a few plates on the bench 10 times, you may feel satisfied. But have you ever done 3 sets of push-ups until you fail? And not just until you start to feel it in your chest — but until you literally feel like you are going to fall flat on your face, your arms are shaking, and in your mind you have no idea if you’re going to be able to do one more. When you’re at that point, struggling to stay in push-up position, do two more. You can do it. It’s just a matter of if you’re going to fight through the mental barrier — that discomfort and fear of failure.
Try it. No one is watching. Once you can do that — once you can do as many push-ups as you think you are physically capable of doing, and then do two more (or three or four or more), then you will start to see results at the gym. Because the next time you’re doing rows or deadlifts or anything else, guess what? You’re going to do the same thing. Anyone can toss weights around for an hour or find time to make it to a gym. But if you can do it ’til it hurts, until your body has given up on you, then muster up the mental toughness to do two more, you’ll like the way you feel — I guarantee it.
By Turner Feeny
PS — if it hurts your joints, stop. You have to lift smart to lift hard. If you injure yourself you’re just going to set yourself back even further. You should feel it in your muscles, not your joints. Don’t be an idiot.