The Alternative 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym

By Grant de Graf

Inspired by "The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym", which appeared in the WSJ in celebration of "sweating is a good way to begin 2012."

The Alternative 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym:
  1. The training sessions only get better. With perseverance, you can achieve a feeling of elation that would make any crack junkie, envious.
  2. Loosing 10 pounds is easy. All you need is utter commitment, patience and a "no prisoners shall be taken" approach.
  3. Maintaining your weight below a threshold level is the difficult part. This often requires a change in life style.
  4. Strive for changes in your exercise schedule that are going to be permanent, rather than quick fixes that evaporate when your coffee turns cold.
  5. If you're not exercising at least 4 times a week, you're not even scratching the surface.
  6. Look and learn. If your spinning instructor winks at you, reciprocate.
  7. When you pass by the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym, smile and say "Hi", even though he's not the sort of guy that you would introduce to your parents (or friends). It's probably the only "Hi" he'll get for the day.
  8. If "Walking on Sunshine" is part of your spinning instructor's workout repertoire, " you know that you've joined the wrong gym.
  9. Stay away from the dude that wears cycling gloves to the spinning class. He's all show and no go - unless you like that sort of thing.
  10. If you hear your instructor mumble "Kol HaKavod", say hello to the mother of all workouts. This is secret code for "I was previously a member of a crack military command in the Israeli Army and things are about to get tough."
  11. Use the inspiration that you gain from racing the old people in the pool, as a bridge to move to bigger things.
  12. If the girl at the receptionist or one of the instructors looks like he or she would make a good cheer leader at a weightwatchers club meeting, you may want to check out the facilities at other gyms.
  13. Avoid following the example of the guy who always grunts on the bench press. Keep your extragymnastical virtues to yourself.
  14. After a hard workout, pamper yourself with a sauna and well-deserved jacuzzi.
  15. If you find yourself playing footsie footsie in the jacuzzi with the person opposite you, you're in the entertainment section of the local men's club.
  16. To maximize the amount of calories burnt to time ratio, running on the treadmill or cross-trainer trumps all. Spinning comes a close second.
  17. Spread your workout or workouts between the different exercise options.
  18. Like what you do, do what you like.
  19. If you don't feel totally exhausted after a training session, you were the guy on the exercise bike, reading the New Yorker.
  20. If you feel like you need crutches when you get out of bed in the morning, you need to slow the pace - slightly.
  21. Don't underestimate the power of interval training.
  22. Eliminate all sugar from your diet, change your consumption to salad and high protein, unless you're training for a triathlon or marathon, in which case you will need the carbs. 
  23. Check your weight daily.
  24. Diet is significantly more important than exercise, in contributing to weight/fat loss. If you're still carrying those chocolate chip cookies in your gym bag, you've missed the point.
  25. Unless you're training for a triathlon or a bike race, successful training and dieting is not just about weight loss. Measure your percentage body fat, every two weeks.
  26. Stretching is not just for cuties that wear pink tights and ballet shoes. It can enhance performance and prevent injury. Add a stretching routine to your workout.
  27. A successful gym membership is like a lollipop. At first it's hard and sucks. Then it will leave you with an enthusiasm that will have you wanting more.
Now cometh my infomercial and best seller.