“grayscale photo of man working out” by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

For the Love of the Gym

There are a few things in life as satisfying as the feeling of clear progress. That beautiful moment of clarity as you realize you’re one step closer to your goals. It’s addictive, powerful, but most of all, it just feels great. The ultimate dream of becoming better than you were yesterday. For myself, and many others, the gym is a never-ending source of this magical high. Regardless of background or circumstance, improving the human body is a fantastic way to achieve the feeling of progress in life.

The choice to willingly exhaust yourself everyday in the name of self-improvement is a glorious one. It’s an indication of one’s desire to commit to a greater goal each chance you get. Fitness has taught me the power of personal commitment and sticking to your goals. For example, making the effort to dedicate an hour to lifting heavy objects and putting them down for 3–5 days of the week. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, and not always the most fun activity in the world. You’re covered in sweat like an athlete in Texas heat. However, when you reflect on your progress one month later and see the results, its worth every minute of your time.

Process > Results

If you were to ask someone who their favorite Avenger of the Marvel movies is, their probably going to say Iron Man. And why not? Mr. Tony Stark is Batman-level rich, owns the coolest gear of the team, and has a sweet sense of fashion. Who wouldn’t want to be Tony Stark?!? Ignoring inherent human vanity, Tony Stark is more than just money and a cool suit of armor — he’s relatable. In many ways, he’s a reflection of progress and personal growth.

The first Iron Man movie debuted in 2008, and it’s clear to see how far his character has come along since then. Ten years ago, his character was the epitome of narcissism. He’s self-important, constantly boasting, and concerned with his latest achievements over the people in his life. Fast forward a decade later, and his character has underwent a dramatic shift in personality. While he’s still as cocky as ever, after years of experiencing mistakes and suffering the consequences of his arrogance, he’s more self-aware than ever before. By the time we, the audience, watch “Infinity Wars”, he’s haunted by the mistakes of his past and expresses much more concern for his inner circle. Of all of the Avengers team members, he’s more than just an actor and a cool outfit. We have followed his journey and witness his evolution as a character.

Just like Iron Man, the grind of going to the gym is very much the same. That process of evolving and getting closer to your goals should always be appreciated. Anything in life worth having is often difficult to obtain, and that’s the beauty of it. If you want a great body, you have to put in work. It’s that simple. If you want to pass a test for college class, you have to study. If you want to capture that perfect gym body in time for summer, you need to grind during the winter. It’s not about achieving the end result, it’s about finding satisfaction in the small moments that led up to it. Developing good habits — repeating conscious decisions that impact your life — is key to long-term success and, finally, capturing that elusive gym body everyone wants.

“Anything in life worth having is often difficult to obtain, and that’s the beauty of it.”

“man's face” by Cristian Baron on Unsplash

Stress is overrated

No matter how hard life comes at you, the gym is a great source of stress relief. Whether work is getting you down, you’re suffering from a bad break-up, or simply having a bad day, the gym is always there. Relationships stressing you out? Hit the gym and watch as your self-esteem improves. Lacking satisfaction at work? That newfound muscle growth will help with that. We can’t always control external circumstances, but we can control our reactions to them. At the very least, choose positivity and productivity rather than simply making a bad day worse. Fitness won’t completely solve life’s problems, but it will aid in bringing you one step closer to a solution.

“At the very least, choose positivity and productivity rather than simply making a bad day worse.”

Throughout my life, I have often used fitness as a form of meditation. It sounds counterintuitive to work myself even more after a day of working my job, but in all honesty, it’s very effective. Let’s be real — for many people, going to work at your job often feels less like a choice and more like an obligation. Bills gotta be paid on time and you have to create income so we try to be responsible adults and get a job. Fitness, whether it’s moving heavy weight, swimming, a chill treadmill run or even yoga, is a personal choice. There’s nothing forcing you to do any of that stuff except your own personal decision to get up and move. That personal decision — to choose your pain and gain from it — is glorious.

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I write dope articles about social issues, life lessons, and living a better life, dayon1020@gmail.com, Follow My Twitter! @dayoncotton00, Active Duty US Navy

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Dayon Cotton

Dayon Cotton

I write dope articles about social issues, life lessons, and living a better life, dayon1020@gmail.com, Follow My Twitter! @dayoncotton00, Active Duty US Navy

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