Friday, January 29, 2016

Negative Personality Traits That Are Actually Good at the Gym

If you're anything like me, you were raised to be a kind, friendly, even-keeled, intelligent and hard-working person.

Those are admirable traits and something I'd look for in any Regular Guy wanting to be part of my life. But in your fitness journey, some not-so-endearing personality flaws can actually help you reach your goals.

Stubbornness: In most instances, refusing to give in or compromise just makes things worse. People don't like you, and you often don't get things done. But at the gym, stubbornness is a virtue. Push yourself to get that weight up one more time or do one more set. Go an extra quarter-mile on the treadmill or another few minutes on the elliptical. Your tired body really wants you to give in, to compromise, to say "good enough." But the real magic happens in that extra bit of work, where you push your limits. So be stubborn and stick to it -- just know the difference between "I don't wanna" and "I can't."


"I don't like you." "I don't like you, either."
Being Anti-Social: In most situations where you're in a room full of people, decorum suggests that you try to be friendly and outgoing, to engage the people around you. Don't do that at the gym. Sure, it's fine to give someone a quick nod or greeting. But you're there to work, not to socialize. Your time is valuable. Leave the chit-chat for the locker room.

Anger: You know that one guy in your social circle who always seems to be angry? That guy who, no matter the conversation, has a chip on his shoulder? In life, you don't want to be that guy. It's not good for your stress levels or your relationships. But at the gym, you should work out with bad intentions. Attack what you're doing -- don't be passive. Hit it hard. Just don't be a jerk to the people around you.

Do Things the Hard Way: At work, the best way to get something done is usually the easiest and most efficient. Extra effort is best directed at some other project. But in the gym, you're not looking for the most direct path. It's easy to lean back during lat pulldowns and let the cable do the work. Or to let the flywheel's momentum carry you on the exercise bike. If you're running, that shortcut that avoids the big hill is appealing. But you're not getting the full benefit of the exercise that way. Do it right, even if it's harder. Down the road, you'll be glad you did.


Living the good life!
Laziness: Wait, what? How could laziness possibly benefit your exercise regimen? When it's time to rest -- that's how. Work hard during your workout. When you're done, be done. Let your rest day be your rest day -- as Dane Rauschenberg writes, running an "easy three" isn't rest. Fitness gains don't happen while you're exercising -- on the cellular level, they happen when your body is recovering from the damage you did while exercising. If you never give it a chance to recover, you'll never make gains.


What other negative traits do you use to help you achieve your fitness goals? Let's hear it! And if you like what you're reading here, be sure to share it with a friend.

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