“Why Can’t I Get into Shape?!”

Today at the gym there was only myself and another fellow, a portly man, “working out”. Sunday is a rather easy gym day for me, I just go in and have fun. I started my workout with deep squats. The other fellow in the gym was sitting at a chest press machine occasionally pushing some light weight, but mostly just sitting.

I am doing set after set of heavy, ass-to-grass squats, adding weight with each set. The fellow is just staring at me the whole time while he sits on his machine. After about 10 sets of heavy squats (singles) I decide to superset sprints and squats. I warm up with a light jog the length of the gym and back. He watches me. I hit a set of squats. He watches me. I do another warmup run. He watches me.

I do my sprints – the length of the gym and back as fast as I can. Then I go for a set of squats. He moves to another machine, sits down, and keeps watching me. I finish 5 sets of sprints and squats and he is still sitting on his machine, watching me, wondering to himself “Why can’t I look like that guy?


1) Get off your ass. Sitting down is for the lazy. Winners stand. If you want to sit down go back to your couch.

2) Excuses are for assholes. I’m naturally skinny-fat with long monkey arms and a thin bone structure. Boo fucking hoo.  If I can build something you can build something.

3) Pick up something heavy. Put it down. Do it again.

4) Don’t quit when it gets hard. That’s when it starts to get good. Keep going.

5) Sweating is good for you. If you ain’t sweatin’ you’re just bullshittin’. Especially if it’s summer. In winter you can wear clothes that will help you sweat.

6) Have fun with it. You don’t need to do the exact same routine and exact same exercises day after day. You just need to give each exercise your all.

7) If you can’t bench or squat your bodyweight you don’t have any business playing around on machines. After you develop some strength is when you will get benefit from machines, not before.

8) It’s all in the mind. That’s where the battle is won or lost.

9) Never listen to the bullshit about “overtraining”. Tell Jim Bob, who grew up on a farm baling hay every morning and has shoulders as wide as his wingspan and forearms like bowling pins, about overtraining and he’ll laugh in your face. “Overtraining” is an excuse to be lazy and out of shape.

10) Have a nice day.

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  1. George says

    Haha I started working out last week for the first time in my life and I feel amazing. Thanks for the amazing blog.


  2. Jeanette says

    I think many people should work out much more than they do, for many reasons. if all you write in your blog-posts is true, you are a great role model, an example to strive for!

  3. Robert H. says

    I agree with this blog for someone trying to get into shape, however I believe overtraining can be a major issue with someone already in great shape who is trying to get their body larger

    • says

      Someone already in great shape would know how their body responds. Personally I’ve got better results from actually training less as a natural athlete.

  4. Leon Maderas says

    Luckily I train in a gym with free weights, heavy bags, machines, and different martial art classes. The gym’s owner and me are the only motherfuckers who spend more than three hours per day hitting the bags, lifting weights, wrestling each other, and taking classes to refine our techniques. We have demented looks on our faces that scream for more pain, more sweat, more action. The gym members stand around chatting, playing it safe, coming and going, they know that ultimately their lives are in our hands. My advice is to train like you are at war. When you are sitting around doing shit remember the opening lines from Apocalypse Now… “in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger.”

    • says

      I always tell myself something along the lines of that quote when I work out. Making an ‘enemy’ or feeling threatened can be the best motivation for getting bigger.

    • says

      There definitely is such a thing as overtraining, especially in regards to overuse injuries. The problem is few recreational lifters will ever reach an overtrained state. Unfortunately many recreational lifters use it as an excuse to under work and experience sub-par results. Overtraining is something Olympic athletes have to be concerned about, not the weekend warrior.

    • says

      depends on whether you are using hormones or not. On testosterone for example you”ve got some room to play with until you hit that overtraining point, as a natural athlete that point is much lower.

      • PM says

        Its not like its hard to know when you are overtraining, I mean its easy just listen to your body, if you are fucking exhausted and feel like complete shit after working out and you wake up even worse next morning, well maybe you do a LITTLE too much. If you feel good why stop and do less? keep pounding until your body tells you to slow down.

  5. Daniel says

    Why do you say not to hit the machines before being able to bench or squat your body weight? I can do both but just started really getting back in the gym hard. Should I only use free weights and no machines at first? What is the advantage/disadvantage of both? Thanks for the awesome blog!

    • Victor Pride says

      Machines give you benefit if you are a veteran of weight training or if you are in rehabilitation. You can use machines all you like, but all you’re doing is wasting your time.

  6. PM says

    ”if you cant bench or squat your bodyweight” makes me think that I’m in a strange situation, I’m 190 lbs, having difficulties to break 185 at bench but I squat like 300… the thing is I started squats two weeks ago and after one week my max was already 275… I always had naturally big strong legs with big bones, even without training, but my upper body isnt at the same level of strenght.

  7. says

    Great overall points. For increased athleticism and improved body composition always do exercises standing over sitting whenever you can. Sports are played standing up, not sitting down (in general of course). Strength should always be your main focus if you want to continually gain and build muscle. It is one of the simplest most effective ways to improve your physique.

  8. says

    I’m 23 and yes i am worried about this thing called “overtraining”. Just need some more info on this..so all here are saying it’s just not possible for us normal guys who are not into olympics level training to overtrain anyway?

    I hit the gym 4days/week (divided as shoulders,chest n back, arms, legs) do only upto 4 sets/per body part try to keep my time between sets to 1min max and go on adding upto 2KGs to every set if I can or else come down. Is that the right way?

    Appreciate all input. Thanks.

    • says

      You’re on the right track with the workout you described. I wouldn’t worry about overtraining. It is possible but overtraining is a cumulative effect from frequent brutal workouts and poor diet and sleep.

      The best way to tell if you’re doing too much is if all your lifts stall for several workouts. If your diet and sleep aren’t in line, that’s the first thing to correct. If you continually fail to make progress you’ll need to back off and do some light sessions for a week or so. Then get back in the gym and set some PRs. You’ll be amazed at how strong you are after a week off.

      In the world of bodybuilding, doing enough comes just before doing too much. Sometimes you have to cross the line.