My Personal Gym FAQ

About 4 min reading time

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.