On staying motivated, or why to ignore the guy next to you

Other than one year during college, I have always been consistent with going to the gym.  During the time I spend in there, I’ll see guys come in, untrained, and pass by my personal bests that have taken years to attain, all in a matter of months.  It is, without a doubt, one of the most confidence-crushing experiences and one of the most unfair truths to the universe.  Some people are just better suited to lift heavy things than I am.  Often times they don’t even care as much as I do, nor do they possess even one ounce of the motivation that I have.  So the question is, how and why do I keep going back?  My personal motivation methodology, after the jump.

It’s just not fair.  I know you’ve seen it.  Some guy who you’ve never seen at your gym comes in, and with terrible form manages to destroy your bench press.  He’s chatting with his friends, doesn’t really understand weight progressions or set/rep schemes, and yet he’s stronger than you.  And bigger than you.  How is this fair?

Well, it’s simply not.  And the best advice is to ignore it.  Genetics are uncontrollable (at least for the purposes of this post) and we would do well to ignore them.  Different people are capable of different things, and although this is beginning to get sappy, we need to remember that we’re each capable of huge improvements.  ‘Huge improvements’ may sound vague, but it’s true – see Casey Butt’s page on maximum muscular potential.

But there’s something else inherently satisfactory about the whole thing.  I’ve worked years for a fraction of the muscle gain that this other guy has gotten.  The difference is that I know what hard work is, and I know what just a little success tastes like.  If things were handed to you, you’d never understand and appreciate what you can build.  It’s a driving force, because even the slightest bit more muscle means the world, whereas to an easygainer, it’s just something to pass the time (now, keep in mind I’m speaking about specific individuals here – not all easygainers take their gifts for granted).  But the point stands that when you work for something, the payoff is that much sweeter.

In the end, I know and understand how fulfilling weight training is.  And even though I will probably never be able to compete in the Olympia or strongman contests, the key here is that I’ve improved myself through extremely high levels of discipline, patience, and dedication – three things not everyone gets from weight lifting.



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