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  • Writer's pictureBryan Jun

thoughts I have working out

I made a video on this before (more focused on me losing 40 lbs after realizing I didn't have a neck post college), but this post is going to focus more on the actual thoughts I have while working out. As I'm sure many of you frequent visitors of this blog and my channel are aware, I tend to have some odd thoughts while engaging in activities I should be focused in, with this behavior not limited to the shower. I'm not sure about all of you, but there's something else on my mind every single second of the day (probably not going to be a favorable trait in the eyes of my future wife or kids). While the wide array of thoughts can vary, obviously the circumstances that one is in and the bare minimum effort required to partake in the activity at hand directly influences the stream of consciousness, which goes without saying for working out as well.

Before I jump into the usual suspects of thoughts I have while working out, I think it's important to note why I work out as well as discuss why I think other people work out. My original intention in starting to work out regularly was to lose weight, which had its root causes in not looking fat. It's crucial to make an emphasis here on all three of those words, "not," "looking," and "fat" as I had no other intention besides the juxtaposition of these three daunting descriptors. I never started out my "fitness journey" to become fit, muscular, compete in an athletic event or even start a new hobby (if I'm being real, I don't consider working out hobby). Even now, I have no ambitions to looks like Schwarzenegger, partake in an ironman challenge and won't be disappointed if I die before ever having a six pack. As someone that thrives through external motivation - please don't be alarmed by what I'm about to say as I never felt body shamed through this and it indeed made me a better person - the initialization of all this was the accumulation of those around me calling me out for my massive weight gain. As it is with the unspoken rule, this was particularly the case because I've been skinny my entire life and the weight gain was significantly noticeable, and those that cared about me (or got a laugh out of the fact that I got fat) were aware that this was entirely within my control. I don't think I had any long term plans as I started working out (as I don't with most things in my life), with a simple reasoning centered around (1) not looking fat and (2) to have people stop telling me I look fat. I'll take a pause here to address the obligatory "you weren't even that fat" - if you look at the thumbnail of the video linked above, I'd say most people who knew me in highschool and now (15 year old me and current me are at about the same weight) would argue otherwise. All in all, fitness and health was and is never my motivator, I like being negatively externally motivated, and (I can't believe I have to address this) I had a girlfriend at the time and had no desire to "make myself look good" to impress a potential significant other.

Now that I've addressed the baseline of why I work out and the overlaying thought that I subconsciously have as I enter a workout, hopefully what I'm about to discuss makes a bit more sense. If you got nothing from the above, just recognize that I don't really value working out for what it is and it serves more as a medium (or even a check in the box) for maintaining something as opposed to an achievement. Of course, there's a subconscious awareness that I've made significant progress in something that was entirely up to me and as most fitness gym gurus note, working out and losing weight is one of the most tangible returns on investment for the human race.

To start off with a bang, I'm always amazed (almost in awe) of the more than numerous number of guys that approach girls at the gym. I'm a huge proponent of you should do whatever you want in life as long as it's not illegal, not against your world view and you're not a hypocrite, so I have no intrinsic strife with this happening. If you genuinely feel inclined to start a conversation in a place where meeting one another isn't necessarily the intended goal as you sweat away pumping irons, by all means be my guest. I think my awe comes from the admiration of the utmost confidence (or maybe just lack of logic) these gentlemen seem to have. In any social interaction, it's important to place yourself in the other person's shoes, detach yourself from your own logical reasoning as much as possible and run a quick simulation to ask yourself "is this really going to occur as I expect it to be." I almost want to run a survey any time I see this happen and ask (1) has this ever succeeded (I'm sure it has, otherwise they wouldn't be doing this over and over again) (2) do you do this every time you come here (3) what part of this is driven by the fact that you want to tell your kids that you met their mom at the gym (sorry this one's a joke).

On a completely different tangent, my mind is also filled with a constant opportunity cost analysis, specifically pertaining to the gym. What could I have done with this time if I was genetically superior and didn't need the gym to remain skinny? If I work out a little less would I feel a little more guilty about eating that extra rice during lunch? Does that woman's adherence to wearing a mask inside and the negative consequences that may follow (skin irritation, inability to breathe properly while working out, fogged up glasses) truly outweigh her probability of getting COVID? This prompts me to wonder if the people that are there for what I think are "superior reasons" like becoming healthy and building their body a certain way also have similar thoughts or if they're almost 100% focused on the workout at hand. It does seem like (based on nothing but my perception of them through the mirror) about half are intensely focused on the workout while the other half would be satisfied if they could get a Snap of them working out and get out.

I think all of this is typically encompassed with the focus on getting this done as opposed to working through it. I really don't want to make this overly philosophical (as working out genuinely is just a means to and end in my life), but it's important to note here that I think this is a good reflection of one of my biggest character flaws that focused too much on results rather than the process. You could argue that this is more of a generational issue than an individual one, but thinking back to my childhood there was a reason why I rushed through my homework and was the quickest to finish lunch, because I always emphasized the conclusion rather than the body paragraphs. There is somewhat of an innate desire to learn from working out and losing weight that perhaps the process also does matter and doing it properly while learning from it are also valuable byproducts of life as a whole. It's hard to commit to this mentality as even knowing it in your head, you're aware that the conclusive result (look at yourself in the mirror and compare it to previous pictures of yourself) is more concrete than ever.

I'm not sure if I'll continue to work out forever or I'll look back this point in a decade or so as I enter a bodybuilding competition while munching on protein. If I could just eat whatever I wanted for life without risking any severe health defects (and find someone that loves me for who I am! thanks Disney Channel), then I sincerely would love to get an hour and a half of my everyday back. In hindsight, outside of not looking fat, it's probably an understatement to say that I work out to eat what I want to eat. There's definitely a cycle of having "built up so much" in the past year and a half that it often feels like it's a waste when I eat junk food (and knowing this makes me even more frustrated). My stomach has shrunk, both internally and externally, and it feels as though I can't even eat that much even if I wanted to. This is all to say I'm really craving a sushi buffet currently and regretting not doing stair climbers longer today.

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