My Personal Gym FAQ

Hey man, you don’t ex­actly look like a dude that has ever hit the gym be­fore?

Nope, hence it was a good time to start. Outer ap­pear­ance never de­fines the in­ner, as well as fu­ture, prospects. Even though the process is sim­i­lar, go­ing to the gym is­n’t like learn­ing how to bi­cy­cle or how to swim: it’s not some­thing you ex­pect every­one to just know by heart.

Do you re­ally ex­pect to no­tice any dif­fer­ence on your skinny, skele­ton like, Kenyan marathon run­ner body?

I think so. I’ve got pretty good genes for build­ing mus­cle (mum’s side are farm­ers 💪), and I’m still young enough to have the po­ten­tial of rapid mus­cle growth (“sick gains”). As long as you stick to your pro­tein plan (mine’s 146 g per day) and don’t stop chal­leng­ing your­self with the weights, you’ll no­tice a mi­nor change af­ter just some two weeks, like I did.

You know you need to go all nerdy into pro­tein pow­der, cre­a­tine, eat­ing healthy and a lot, tak­ing pills, buy­ing equip­ment and that, right?

Actually not. A wa­ter bot­tle, some in­door clothes, and a gym card will take you far. It’s pure sim­plic­ity and min­i­mal­ism in its essence. Some pro­tein pow­der is pretty cool if you need a safety line at the end of the day and you re­alise you did­n’t get your pro­tein dosage for the day (a sin­gle pro­tein shake con­tains ~30 grams of pro­tein, give or take).

Eating healthy is­n’t that big of a deal ei­ther. A story from the wild: yours truly is a self pro­claimed pasta fa­natic, who usu­ally in­dulge in all sorts of dishes that in­clude gnoc­chi, spaghetti, penne, and the oth­ers. I’ve prac­ti­cally built this body from 21 to 26 years of age to rely on car­bonara and spaghetti bolog­nese (I blame uni­ver­sity and an out­spo­ken love for the Italian cui­sine).

Anyhow, go­ing to the gym has made me de­crease the in­take of those fast carbs in my daily diet, since there are other al­ter­na­tives that are just as quick and easy, but health­ier. Pasta used to be my quick fix — “just to fill me up for now” — but ended up be­ing the sal­va­tion (jesus, does it sound like I’m talk­ing about heroin here? Cause I’m not). Pasta just made me full for a while, then the stom­ach was back at it, whin­ing about more food.

Ever since me and my friend Henrik started work­ing out that fate­ful day four weeks ago, we’ve been on a semi-strict pro­tein fo­cused diet. That means, you re­ally need to fight to get your 146 grams or what­ever pro­tein dosage dur­ing a day, and man, it’s not a fuck­ing game. If you don’t meet your pro­tein goal, risk is that you’ll de­crease mus­cle in­stead of build­ing it. We all know that noth­ing sucks more than to do work in vain and not get paid for it. This mo­ti­va­tion (read fear) is a huge drive for eat­ing bet­ter.

I’m cur­rently eat­ing more:

  • chicken
  • tuna
  • beans
  • broc­coli
  • nuts

than be­fore, and sel­dom feel hun­gry in the same way like I used to.

I bet you look kinda weak and silly when you can’t go for the heavy­weight dumb­bells, haha.

Nah, the gym at­mos­phere is in­cred­i­bly wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive. Everybody are mind­ing their own busi­ness. You’ll dis­cover af­ter a few weeks how homey you feel in the gym, and that you get into an­other zone: like it’s your liv­ing room you’re us­ing.

Everybody warms up on lighter weights in the be­gin­ning of a ses­sion, and no­body will think you’re a weak­ling for not tak­ing more than 12 kg in a bi­ceps curl. On the con­trary, peo­ple would prob­a­bly think you’re an id­iot for com­ing in and try­ing to take on more kilo­grams than you can muster.

Would you ad­mit you ac­tu­ally just work out to look good naked, or im­press on in­di­vid­u­als of the op­po­site sex?

Yes and no. I de­cided to start build some mus­cle in or­der to

  • keep my body in shape be­fore the up­com­ing 30s kicks in, and it be­gins to grad­u­ally go in a down­wards spi­ral if you’re not be­ing care­ful
  • feel gen­er­ally stronger and bet­ter in my body dur­ing a nor­mal day
  • im­prove my pos­ture and back mus­cles (I sit a lot in work)
  • of course I want to look good naked and im­press on in­di­vid­u­als of the op­po­site sex, god­dammit. Let’s be real here.

These per­sonal light­houses of mine are cool and all, but the real cool thing is when you re­alise you’ve got the power to tweak and shape your body. Sure, it’s claim­ing the ob­vi­ous, but for real: the mo­ment you ac­tu­ally are get­ting and notic­ing re­sults is an uber cool feel­ing, which is worth it all alone.

Isn’t it an­noy­ing and hard to keep up the habit of go­ing to the gym three times a week? I don’t think you’ll last.

Nah, it’s pretty doable — es­pe­cially if you’re not go­ing alone. Having a friend at your side is price­less, and you trig­ger each other all the time. Some smart per­son once said It takes 21 days to form a habit”, and that’s pretty true. It feels like a nice rou­tine now, and feels very good to hav­ing some­thing to plan my life around.

I work re­mote with the com­puter, and it’s very easy to just let time slip by, since you can work al­most at any time. There’s no tra­di­tional bar­ri­ers for when you can work and not. So I al­ways en­cour­age re­mote work­ers and free­lancers to get rou­tines, oth­er­wise risk is you’ll go in­sane and just sit home and for­get to shower and how to walk and talk.

The Buddhist koan which says

You should med­i­tate twenty min­utes per day.
If you’re busy, med­i­tate for an hour.

also holds. If you’re su­per busy and stressed about daily life stuff, you should prob­a­bly hit the gym or do some other ex­er­cise for a long while, pay a visit to the sauna, and then at­tack your busi­ness with recharged phys­i­cal and men­tal en­er­gies.

This was a lame post, buddy. Why would you write a silly ass text in FAQ for­mat about your first ex­pe­ri­ences with go­ing to the gym? It’s kind of weird and at­ten­tion seek­ing to be hon­est. Go and pro­gram some ro­bot, or what­ever it is you’re do­ing.

So voices like you might have your ques­tions an­swered and shut up for once. Thanks for read­ing!

Footnotes & sources

  • I’ve been bas­ing a huge chunk of knowl­edge on this guide by Julian Shapiro: How To Build Muscle”. It’s well writ­ten, funny, prag­matic, au­then­tic, and just a reg­u­lar dude’s ad­vice on build­ing mus­cle”.
  • My friend Robin has con­tributed a lot of nu­tri­tion tips dur­ing and out­side of gym ses­sions.