I will not train until my gym removes Madonna from their Spotify playlist. I listen to my iPod when I train but do have to take my earbuds out at times, and when I do, there’s at least a 50% chance I’ll have to listen to Madonna squawking about penises or lesbians. My workout just goes downhill from there.
I will not train unless I have wall-to-ceiling mirrors on three–and only–three sides of me. I’m not picky but the mirrors must be quite wide and large and the lighting must make me look better than I do. Poor lighting a complete deal breaker for me.
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There must be the right people in the gym. I don’t want anyone to look significantly better than me because that makes me uncomfortable, and I don’t want anyone too out of shape either because that’s demotivating. On a scale of 1 to 10, the average attractiveness of my fellow gymgoers should be as close to 6 as possible. Anything below a 5 and over a 7 is completely unacceptable.
I must have the right pair of weightlifting shoes. They must not be too tight on the sides because this chafes my feet, which is a real pet peeve of mine. They can’t be too loose either, though, because then my feet slide around and I can’t maintain proper balance. I can’t stress enough the need for a perfect fit.
My pre- and post-workout shakes are of the utmost importance. They must be consumed exactly fifteen minutes before and after training, respectively, and must contain proper amounts of protein and carbohydrate and absolutely no dietary fat. I’m not sure what proper amounts are just yet, which I should probably figure out before I start training. All I know is if I don’t drink my pre-workout shake on time, I feel lethargic in my workouts. If I’m late with my post-workout shake, I build absolutely no muscle and have wasted my time.
It must be early in the morning, but not dark. I must have slept at least eight hours and shaved and showered the night before, and prefer to not have to do my hair before leaving because it just gets messed up again. I must be fed but not too full because that makes me feel bloated.
My music playlist must be encouraging and energizing but not over-stimulating because then I get anxious, which throws off my rhythm and tempo and makes it impossible to focus on my lifts.
If I have to empty my bowels while training, I simply have to go home. Only a savage uses the gym stalls.
The squat racks must be in the northeastern corner of the gym, facing west. Don’t ask me why but I always have my best squat sessions with them oriented in this way and if I don’t have a good squat workout, my entire week is ruined.
I must be given at least one compliment but no more than three because that makes me self-conscious. There must be no waiting for equipment. Life is too short to wait for a bench press.
A friend once told me that Abraham Lincoln said you should sharpen your ax for days before trying to fell a tree. I don’t know anything about Lincoln or woodcutting but training is the same way.
As cultivating the conditions for training is difficult, I’ve only trained three times in the last month. People less exacting than me have suggested I relax my standards and train under sub-optimal conditions, but I quickly dismiss such nonsense. Those three times I did train were some the best workouts I’ve ever had and they produced dramatic improvements in my physique. I believe in working smarter, not harder.
Or…what the hell…maybe I should just shut up and train?