Over the last 17/18 years I’ve been lucky enough to train in a range of different gyms across the globe.
The best gym I’ve ever trained in, without a shadow of a doubt, is called Muscleworks in East London.
It’s full of gangsters, steroids and weirdos and hasn’t seen a lick of paint since dial up internet, but I benefitted more from training there than anywhere else.
Muscleworks is an institution and more often than not there would be well known bodybuilders and powerlifters training there.
I’d go down to Muscleworks on a Tuesday afternoon and there’d be this famous bodybuilder called Ulisses Jr training back and arms (see below for reference).
Thursday morning there’d be a guy on the incline bench press doing reps with 220kg (not sure what his name was but he was an elite level powerlifter).
And every time Ronnie Coleman was in the country he’d go down to Muscleworks to train.
It was humbling to see the best of the best train and it was around this time that I realised just how pointless it is trying to compare yourself to anyone else in the gym.
These guys were in a different league to me (when the league is on a different planet in a different universe) so what would be the benefit of comparing what I was doing, to what they were doing?
When you’re running for the bus, would you compare yourself to Usain Bolt?
Or when you’re making your dinner on a Thursday night, would you compare yourself to Heston Blumenthal?
You might take a couple of sprinting cues from Usain, or ask Heston how much paprika to throw in the chicken curry ice cream, you wouldn’t be COMPARING yourself to them.
But we end up comparing our bodies to other peoples bodies every single day.
Open up Instagram and we’re greeted by fitness models with seemingly perfect bodies….turn on the TV and Love Island is parading ‘perfect’ (fake) bodies right in front of our faces.
And this is what we start comparing ourselves to…
“Why don’t I look like that?!”
The last thing we should be doing it comparing ourselves to people whose job it is to look a certain way.
When I first started down at Muscleworks I was too con
cerned with comparing myself to other people in the gym and trying to emulate what they were doing.
One day I got some sage advice from one of the old juice heads…this guy was a unit of ginormous proportions and lifting ridiculous weights, so naturally I asked him about his training…
His reply (said aloud in your finest East End accent)…
“forget what I’m doing or what anyone else is doing bruv…you’ve got to do you at the end of the day”
…and then he waddled off to the leg press.
At the time I was frustrated with his ambiguous answer…I thought he was hiding his secrets…but looking back I now see he’d buried a wise mantra in there…
You do you…you do you…you do you…you do you….
My interpretation…forget what anyone else looks like or what anyone is else is doing.
Stop comparing yourself to the bodies you see on Instagram and Love Island and focus on what you can do to be better than yesterday.
You do you.