What I learnt in the gym

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group-pt-1As I pushed myself to exercise through the sores and pains of yesterday’s gym session, I realised that this is not just about my body. There are so many valuable life lessons to be learnt there too. These are the reflections of my active mind in the sore body:)

1. Focus. Focus.Focus. Looking at others doing a perfectly aligned taadasan not only keeps me unbalanced, but also demotivated. So also in life, we are all at different levels of capabilities and talents and skills. The trick is to focus on what we can do best, and do it to the best of our abilities. Comparing ourselves with those around us is a sure fire recipe for staying stuck.

2.Learn the basics You cannot expect to lift a 10 kg dumb bell unless you learn it perfectly with the 1 kg one. There is no overnight success in the gym. Similarly successful people focus on the fundamentals of setting and achieving goals, keeping their promises and generally doing what it takes to win. The perfectly executed back flips, the effortless swish of the bat, the confident negotiation skills in the board room – everything is a result of years of practising the fundamentals.

3. Routines build success habits The gym is the place where you see perfectly toned abs and biceps that only routine and regularity builds. My young ‘coachees’ pull themselves out of bed at 4 am, hit the gym and the training rink. Nothing stops them-neither rain, nor cold, nor festivals. The training time is marked with indelible ink in their diaries. And that shows in their world-class performance. But in real life, we seem to think that we can master something immediately without putting in the dedication of regular practice and commitment to learning. We even give up at the first sign of difficulty.Success is all about developing good habits, doing the things that others won’t. Will hitting the snooze button move you towards your goal? We are all tired in the mornings and don’t always feel motivated, but successful people do it anyway because it is part of their routine. Ask Robin Sharma’s 5 am Clubbers!!

4. Plateaus happen The gym shows you how fast your body adapts to a particular routine. At times like this we have to change things up in our workouts, adding extra intensity, do power workouts or go back to some heavy fundamentals. We adjust our intensity and focus to help push through the plateau. In real life too, success is not a straight line…it is filled with plateaus and correction phases. When things slow down, and they will, this is where we need to keep up the effort, even increase it if possible. Remember your gym lessons: Focus on the fundamentals, change the routine slightly, make your to-do lists and focus on the tasks which will continue to move you in the direction of your goals.

5.Your gym partners define you We all have that energiser bunny of a friend who pushes us to lift heavier weights, walk that extra mile on the treadmill and pull us out of our houses when we are just not in the mood to work out. Well it’s just teh same in real life. We are the average of the 5 people we hang out with. So look around at your network. Do they motivate you to be the best you can? If you are the cleverest one in that group, time to find a new group…remember point 4? Seek out opportunities to network with people more successful and more smarter than you!

6. Gymming is all about balance We cross-train. We do a mix of high intensity plus low impact or vice versa…you can’t just do crunches for the abs every day. And that is what develops a fit, toned body. What about our life? Why do we forget this important lesson? Look at your wheel of life and check….is your focus on your career to the exclusion of family and fun? Is your health taking a back seat? Remember, that’s why its called the wheel of life…and unless its perfectly round and well balanced, your life will pretty much be stuck where you started.

7. Get pushed by your personal trainer I see quite a few of my gym buddies hire a trainer for themselves…they realise that despite the love-hate relationship with the PT, they get faster and more sustained results. In real life, we don’t think the same way. We prefer to figure everything out for ourselves, which is crazy for two reasons. Firstly, we cannot see the picture when we are inside the frame. We start to believe the voices in your head when they feed us excuses and limiting decisions. Secondly, we aren’t taking advantage of any specialist knowledge that already exists out there. Having a coach is vital to succeed in life, and has the same impact outside of the gym too.

8. Smile And the most important one: as you smile, its easier to hold that 3 minute plank or do the 50th repetition of tricep curls!!

There! I think I had a fruitful time at the gym today. So time to push through my resistances and get some work done!!

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