Finding Love In The Gym

This morning I had a conversation with Joy and Charles, who are 77 and 80, respectively.  As Charles ellipticized, Joy explained that when she was was 43, Charles insisted that they begin exercising together, and that they’ve been “gym people” ever since.  She told me of her past training for half marathons, their thrice-weekly Spin classes, and how he swims a mile almost every morning.  It was an adorable story, but it made me a little sad.

See, my proposal to Erin Heatherton is still in limbo.  I’m sure she’s busy doing modely things, so I’m not too worried.  While we still have Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show lust love on the brain, let’s talk about something that I think is really important:

Finding Love In The Gym.

The gym is probably one of the best places to find love.  You’re squatting, sweating, struggling, and smiling; your heart is beating fast, and the endorphins are flowing.  It’s a perfect hormonal environment for falling in love, but this isn’t what I mean:

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Yes, that picture is cute, and one day you’ll see pictures of Erin Heatherton and myself like that, but I’m not talking about using the gym to find a significant other.  Instead think about the gym as a place to love your training and to love yourself.

It’s important that you enjoy your training both physically and mentally, and achieve a balance between the two.  There are some of us who train to a point where we absolutely despise what we’re doing, while others are so busy enjoying exercise that the results are minimal.  Seek to find a balance between the Light and Dark sides of The Force, and balance training that you love doing and that’s beneficial for your body.

It’s very common for us to enjoy using one fitness modality so frequently that we neglect other aspects of fitness.  Only using endurance exercise, or only using strength exercises, or only doing yoga won’t lead to the same physical results as finding a balance or blend between all three.  While training for a specific sport or activity may require an exception, including controlled variety in your overall exercise and physical activity plans is a good idea.

Lifting every day isn’t the best idea, just as running or attending yoga classes every day won’t yield the best results.  However, it’s possible to combine them in nearly infinite ways, and the best option is to include what you love with what works the best.  You’ll reap physical and psychological benefits, and will appreciate the balance.  Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment; it should be a time for you to explore and enjoy movement with your body.

That enjoy aspect can be tricky for some, so let me tell you a quick story.  While in Newark last weekend, my friend Jason and I were able catch a workout with Steffi and Tim at Fusion Fitness.  I’ve heard of the facility before, but this was my first time training there.  If you happen to pass down Main Street in Newark, check out the awesome things owner Nic DeCaire is doing.  One example is the four suspension trainers that he installed:

Seeing as TRX Rows are one of my favorite exercises ever, I was sure to take this video before we were done.  What I enjoyed about the space the most was that it was open, with equipment located near the walls.  This provided a great deal of room to move around, and we were able to make good use of the equipment for a pretty fun workout.  Here you see Tim (in the middle leading) Steffi and Jason in a set of ValSlide Mountain Climbers:

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I was focused on my sumo deadlift, but I couldn’t help but notice the smiles on their faces.  To be honest, maybe they were just glad the sets were over, or Tim was smirking as he paired the mountain climbers with battling rope waves:

Everyone was training hard, and we enjoy exercise, but more than that it offered an experience that we could all bond over.  That bonding experiences goes beyond Tim and Steffi’s engagement, and our overall friendship as a group.  We all enjoy exercise, and enjoy the time we spend together, but I doubt we would have had as much fun if we hated training in the first place.  The group atmosphere made it that much better.

From our training in our mid-twenties to Joy and Charles training as octogenarians, exercise can be a great bonding mechanism. We often recognize the social and romantic bonding options, but we tend to forget that exercise Dan be a great time for you to bond with yourself and develop health and fitness. If you don’t enjoy the exercise that you’re doing, how likely are you to train hard, or enjoy it with other people?

Let’s end by thinking about the best grip-strength related love story, Titanic.  James Cameron wrote a beautiful love story into a movie that we knew wasn’t going to end well.  We either held on to the “I’ll never let go” promise, or we pondered why Rose didn’t move over on that door.  (Seriously, Rose, there was more than enough room!) Rose didnt take her training very seriously, and as a result dropped poor Jack. Maybe she was jealous of his French girls.

The odds of finding love in the North Atlantic, or at your local gym, are rather low. Instead, focus on enjoying your training, including exercises you love to hate and those you hate to love. Find training partners with similar goals and interests, and develop a personal team so that you can support each other. It may be a significant other, a long time friend, or an acquaintance you met at the gym.

If Rose had trained more seriously, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

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