Sometimes going to the gym feels like an adventure in an alternate universe. There’s an interesting group of people dwelling within the four walls of the local gym. You know who I am talking about. There’s the guy flexing in the mirror, lifting up his shirt to check out his abs, correcting your form on every exercise. Or, how about the women clad from head-to-toe in spandex doing, well nothing – except texting. Should a lululemon fashion show breakout she will be ready.
Whatever you do during a workout don’t do that. No flexing, texting, grunting and slamming weights either. People will laugh at you or get pissed off. Don’t make a fool of yourself and incite humiliation.
If you want to stand out you can do it without looking like a jackass. If you’re doing all of the right things people will notice. They will turn to their buddy and say; look at this freak’n guy/gal. Then they will walk over and ask; what are you training for? Or, can you show me that move? When that happens it’s like someone walking up to you at the bar and asking for your number; you’re hot stuff.
You don’t have to be a showoff or a know-it-all either. It’s just that, in a maze of meatheads and machines, the person moving intently from one exercise to the next – not lingering or making a scene – is the person I want to meet. And, that’s the person you want to be. You see, standing out for the right reasons means that you are getting a killer workout.
Here’s exactly how you can do both.
Going to the gym without a plan is like going on a road trip with a map [read GPS – who still uses maps?]. You think you know what you’re going to do for a workout, just like you think you know where you’re going; except you don’t. You’ll either show up and fill an hour with meaningless exercise or play a game of follow the leader with the biggest guy in the gym. Take a few minutes to create your own workout program instead.
No, we’re not talking about moisture wicking shirts or fancy shoes. Going to the gym is about putting in work, not putting on your Sunday best – no one cares what you’re wearing. And, even though the guy with a jug of water and wrist straps thinks that stuff makes him an expert; he’s wrong.
You don’t have straps or a belt, but you do have a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, flex bands and a jump rope. More importantly, you know how to use all of those tools. Heck, you might even be carrying around your own kettlebell because your gym doesn’t have one. And if you are, I will walk up to you and shake your hand; we were meant to be friends.
Again, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Going big refers to big movements, using big muscle groups, to elicit big results. We it comes to moving weight prioritize squats, deadlifts, power cleans, thrusters, bent rows and kettlebell swings.
The amount of weight you use doesn’t matter one bit if you’re not using the correct form. Big movements and big weights will make you the main attraction. But, loading the bar full of plates and doing a quarter squat will make you the laughing stock of the weight room. Master the technique first, and then worry about moving big weight later.
Crank up a little House of Pain and prepare to work on your agility and athleticism. One surefire way to make people stop and stare is to add some explosive exercises to your workout routine. There’re a lot of options here, so feel free to improvise. But, make sure you’re hitting some box jumps, burpees, jump squat, jump lunges and broad jumps. (Side note: Olympic lifts are not jumping exercises – watch the Russians and Chinese, they win the Olympics and don’t jump) If you really want to blow minds you can create some crazy combinations like push-up to burpee or push-up to box jump. Then, if there’re still not impressed throw in some burpee broad jumps.
If you follow these tips and there’s no crowd gathering, be patient. If you keep working on it you’ll be sexier and more fit than ever. Then I guarantee that people won’t be able to keep their eyes off of you.
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies