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5 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn From The Health Club

Posted by on Jan 20, 2011

Suffice it to say I’ve gotten used to going to my health club. I can’t say I feel all that much healthier, but I can say that I know I’ve improved in some areas and held steady in some as well.


by Jon Tunnell

It’s an interesting thing, going to a health club or gym. You start out, for the most part, not knowing anyone. Then, over time, you start becoming familiar with a few people here and there, and though you probably can’t or won’t count any of them as your best friend, you start talking to them, learning something here and there and having the opportunity to apply something they’ve said to your workout; or at least give it a shot.

It equates well with blogging when you think about it. Even if you think you know it all, you go to another blog and either learn something or have the opportunity to engage someone in a conversation where one of you might come away with something. And, unfortunately, it’s not always positive, yet it’s always another experience to learn from. Here are 5 lessons I believe bloggers can learn from health clubs.

1. Let’s start with a lady named Jen; I know it had to be longer, but that’s all I got. Within my first few weeks of being there Jen stopped me one day just to talk. I was telling her how my routine always started out by walking the track to loosen my knees up, as they’re slightly arthritic. I also told her that I only did 15 minutes, whether they loosened up or not. She said that doing only 15 minutes of cardio probably wasn’t going to do me much good, especially if I wasn’t able to push it from the start. She said I needed to try to get at least 25 to 30 minutes in for a good workout, and if I could walk longer I’d feel it because I’d start to speed up, I’d get a sweat on, and my heart would pump a little faster. I started doing that, increased my time to where I now won’t walk less than 30 minutes, and she was absolutely correct.

Sometimes new bloggers will ask how often I write, and when I say almost every day they say they can’t see themselves doing anything like that. The same goes for how long posts should be. The reality is that you get more traffic and more for your effort if you can write more and post just a little longer posts that some people might do. An entire blog of 250 word posts probably isn’t going to benefit you much. I wouldn’t expect everyone to try to write 1,000 word posts every day either. Trying to find ways to push your effort up just a little bit will get you more of what you might be looking for as far as traffic, comments, etc.

2. There’s this tiny woman named Tina. She’s very fit, though she doesn’t think she is. She’s a former bodybuilder who, just being 2 years younger than me, thinks she’s only a shell of what she used to be. Ask my wife; we can’t find an ounce of fat on her, but she can.

She offers a lot of tips to anyone who asks her something. One of the things she lamented to me was how many people lay down on the bench and do sit-ups or stomach crunches very fast. She said they get absolutely no benefit and actually will cause more harm to their backs. She showed me two ways of doing them, both much slower than what I had been doing, and said that if I could do it that way that I’d benefit more than I had been and have fewer problems with my back. I started doing them her way and my back problems went away.

In blogging, sometimes you have to learn from someone who’s been there and made the mistakes so you can improve yourself. Even when we tend to learn from what we see others doing, there’s often someone with more knowledge than the crowd who can help us progress a lot further. When we come upon those people, we need to sit still and just listen to what they have to say.

3. There’s this guy named Richard, big brotha (we like to say Mandingo lol) who’s the nicest guy as well. One day he was pushing this one machine really hard and, well, I knew that I was going to have to try it one day. Turned out to be the next day. I put on a weight I didn’t think was all that heavy, pushed it 15 times, and felt like I was the man. Two days later, over Christmas holiday at my mother’s, suddenly I couldn’t move and was in dire pain all day and half the day after that.

When I talked to him about it days later he said that it was a dicey machine that needed perfect precision and technique to do it right, otherwise one could seriously hurt themselves on it. He tried to show me the technique, but I realized this was one time I was going to have to defer on my macho because indeed it was a tricky machine.

Many of us read what a lot of other bloggers do, yet sometimes we have to realize that we can’t learn every technique that another blogger tells us. For instance, most of my posts are written within 5 minutes or so; I type fast, think fast, and have a pretty good imagination for topics. That’s not something that can really be learned, no matter how many times I might talk about it. Sure, people can improve their speed, learn where to get inspiration easier, but maybe not copy and do what I do. And there are plenty of people who do things I certainly can’t do, whether I’ve tried or not. Sometimes you just have to settle for being the best you can be and live with that; trust me, often that turns out to be pretty good.

4. There’s this guy named Andy I met at the health club. He looks like an 80’s rocker, and is the nicest guy. He used to do security for Anthony Robbins in the 90’s, and thus has acquired a lot of those special ways of talking and giving out quotable phrases; it’s scary sometimes. lol

Andy has a body that looks like he pushes a lot of weight, but he doesn’t. As a matter of fact, he does something quite the opposite. He rarely uses more than 20 pounds at any time. But he does two things I just never see me doing. First, he commits to at least 4 hours at the health club whenever he goes. Second, it’s because it allows him to do multiple sets and reps for each thing he’s going to do. For instance, if he’s going to do a 20-pound barbell curl, he does 30 sets of 50 curls, and each one he does very slowly and deliberately. He does a set, rests 2 or 3 minutes, and does another set. Every time he goes to the health club, he selects a different part of the body to work on. Although he’s about 5 years younger than me, he’s “retired”; has enough money to live on so he doesn’t have to concern himself with a job, though he’ll do a project here and there just to stay busy.

Not everyone has the time to put into working on the perfect blog post. But what everyone has the ability to do is be consistent in effort, maximizing whatever it is they do. It’s not always about speed. It’s not always about content or SEO. It’s definitely not always about perfection. It’s about the effort to do whatever it is you have to do, giving what time you have to doing the best you can in the best way you can.

5. Finally there’s a young woman named Teresa. She’s stunning if you ask me and my wife. We always see her at the health club working out hard. Around the early part of December, after not seeing her for awhile, we saw her and she was looking great. We could tell she’d lost either weight or inches, and it was phenomenal because over all the time we’d seen her working out she didn’t look much different.

So I talked to her one day and told her how good I thought she was looking. She thanked me, then said she owed it all to my wife. Seems my wife, who’s been going to some type of health club for years, was talking to her about something and inadvertently gave her a tip that she decided she was going to try; man, I wish I could remember what it was now. So she started doing this thing my wife suggested to her and she lost 20 pounds in six weeks. I mentioned it to my wife later and she said she was stunned that her words convinced someone to try something new, but was glad it worked out.

Everyone we learn something from in blogging doesn’t have to be a guru. I’ve learned things from people who have only written two or three posts, and not always only about blogging. To me, if you’re open to reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, you’re open to learning something from almost anywhere. And when you do, sometimes you’re surprised because you weren’t expecting it at the time. That’s why blogging and the experience overall is so thrilling; you never know when you’re going to pick up something that will enrich your life. And, by extension, you never know when you’ll say something that will enrich someone else’s life.

And there you go; whew, this was long. So, hope you don’t mind, but I’m skipping a day to let this one have some time. That’s actually going to be something new I’m going to try; if I write a long post I’m going to think about skipping a day to give people time to catch up, if they so choose. After all, my goal was for 300 posts this year, not 365. 😉

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36 Comments »

Patricia:

Hi Mitch

You sure have covered a lot in this post. Love it. All pracitcal, all do-able and that should encourage all your readers who are bloggers.

I like how you say we can learn from anyone, not just the ‘gurus’. I agree. Don’t really follow all those so called A-listers and still learning heaps 🙂

Something I have learned is we all have strengths and for me to have a blog and a business I need to collaborate, so my blogging buddies help me and then I will be helping them so we all move forward to our goal of having a successful blog and business.

Patricia Perth Australia

January 20th, 2011 | 11:11 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Pat. Yes, we literally can learn all types of lessons from anyone if we keep our minds open. These folks at the health club might not know what I’ve learned from them other than ideas on working out, but I get to use them to my advantage anyway.

January 20th, 2011 | 1:00 PM

The way you wrote this post reminded me of the guy you described who does 30 sets of 50 curls, slowly and deliberately. I think the results speak for themselves. Great stuff. And if you can ever find out what your wife told that woman, you could probably open up your own health club — and be flooded with members.

(I hope you aren’t going to say you wrote this in ten minutes.)

January 20th, 2011 | 11:34 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Charles, I wrote this in 10 minutes. lol I did think about it before I started writing, though, so I didn’t just write it off the cuff. In my own way, it was a pretty deliberate post, one thought at a time as I recalled all the people I’ve met at the health club and who has helped me along the way.

January 20th, 2011 | 1:05 PM

Mitch, this post is great! This really proves that everything in life can be a learning experience no matter how much things seem unrelated. Being able to find lessons in other aspects of your life is a creative skill and shows how much you know about both.

January 20th, 2011 | 1:06 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Keith; I appreciate that, as I’m betting you’ve probably met some of these same people.

January 20th, 2011 | 1:21 PM
Jessica Sieghart:

That sounds like a super friendly health club. I went to one once (yep, once) and didn’t care for it. I prefer to get my exercise in Zumba and belly dancing classes or by just finding some really loud band in a bar and jumping around for 4 hours. How do you write your posts so quickly? That’s amazing! It takes me f.o.r.e.v.e.r (ok, an hour at least) to write a post. I keep fooling with different ways to say something and even after I hit Publish, I think of more and want to go back and edit it. I think the learning things from everybody is a cool concept. Everyone has their own style and technique and ways of doing things and you don’t have to be an A-lister to have something valuable to share!

January 20th, 2011 | 3:22 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Jessica, I’m not really sure why I write so fast; I just do. I kind of see what I want to say and I just say it. If I have to research something then that’s one thing, but the writing always seems to go fast, luckily enough. And I never thought I’d like going to the health club as much as I have, though I have to say that I also wrote on my business blog about the issue of turnover of employees; I don’t like that part as much.

January 20th, 2011 | 5:20 PM

Great analogy Mitch! I especially like the way it ties to blogging that you can’t expect to go from physically phytt to physically fit in a week, and you can’t go from newbie blogger to nuclear blogger instantly either. Both take a lot of work and perseverance.

Great job, and “keep pumpin”!

January 20th, 2011 | 4:59 PM

Mitch, although all your posts are good this is truly one of the better ones. I’m shocked to see only one person has tweeted it. I’ve added to the tally and I’m hoping more people follow suit because it really deserves it.

I love analogies and you used the gym one very well, relating each part of gym training to a facet of blogging. Well done mate. 🙂

January 20th, 2011 | 7:28 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Sire; I try! 😉 And it was fun; I got to acknowledge some people yet they’ll never know it.

January 20th, 2011 | 9:23 PM

I agree with Sire, Mitch. This is definitely one of your better bests. 🙂 I am also nodding in agreement with you when you said we don’t have to learn from the gurus.

Everyone, everywhere can offer something that we can learn from. We can even learn from kids if we really listen to them. They have a practical and simple way of seeing things that when we think about it, they can really provide something worthwhile.

Maybe, it’s because we are too intent on looking for the grander scheme of things, we forget that there might be a simpler approach that is more effective. In a way, your posts remind me of kids’ views, Mitch. No offense meant. In fact, I mean it as a compliment. You have a simple yet profound way of seeing things. Maybe that is why you are able to write so fast. You write what you want to say up straight without going for the frivolities that many of us fall victim to. Kudos to you! 🙂

January 20th, 2011 | 9:38 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I like that comparison, Wes; my wife says I’m kind of kid-like, although she’s not always saying that as a good thing. lol I’m the watcher; I love watching people and seeing what they do and what lessons I can learn from them. I’m also the listener in my regular, non-online life. People just talk to me, so I get to see how people live and think. When they ask me my opinion, I often give options instead of a blanket statement unless one is needed. And when it’s time to help… well, you see how I do this blog. But it’s nice to see that others are not only willing to help, but that the lessons they impart can be used to understand other lessons as well. Thanks for the kudos.

January 21st, 2011 | 12:05 AM

No problem, Mitch. I always give credit where it is due and in this case, you rock, man! 🙂

January 21st, 2011 | 3:38 AM

Hi Mitch,

There are awesome tips from a health club that you have shared with us..

I agree that its best to learn from people who have been there and made their mistakes, or the best is from ourself, learn from the mistakes we have made, and change or improve it.

Thanks for sharing.

January 21st, 2011 | 4:00 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

No problem Kimi, and thanks for your words. Sometimes, even if you’re a bad example you can teach someone something. 😉

January 21st, 2011 | 12:05 PM
Carl:

For me sport have give me a lot, good health and discipline. As well great contacts and friends which always help to learn a lot new things.

January 21st, 2011 | 5:09 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good stuff, Carl. It’s always good when we can learn something, no matter where it comes from.

January 21st, 2011 | 12:06 PM

You can’t inspiration about your business life in your everyday life as well, and this really shows it.
Sometimes I get lessons from places I wouldn’t really think I could, so what I get out of it is to always be alert for golden chances to learn something new and beneficial for you and people you work with.

January 21st, 2011 | 5:48 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for sharing that, Gabriele. I will also own up to the fact that sometimes you don’t know that you’ve learned any lessons until you’re reflecting on it later on.

January 21st, 2011 | 12:06 PM
John:

Hey, Mitch I know what you’re talking about. I just started going to the gym a few weeks ago and there are some great people there that are genuinely interested in helping you. Great post, I really enjoyed reading the comparisons. I liked number 3 with Mandingo. You’re right, it is impossible to be able to be good at every technique out there. Just be the best you can be and master the techniques you are good at. Thanks for sharing.

January 21st, 2011 | 8:14 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Well, his real name is Richard; I’m glad he’ll never know about this blog. lol And you make a great point, John, we can’t be masters at everything. I just have to stop hurting myself when I try new things.

January 21st, 2011 | 12:11 PM

Good observation, Mitch. You’re quite a reflective practitioner. Just curious, are you melancholic? Because most melancholics are deep thinker and they are genius prone. 8)
It’s true indeed, blogging has to be built up constantly and a good foundation is a must.

January 21st, 2011 | 8:45 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Wow Anne, nice catch! I definitely am melancholic, always thinking about things, how to improve my lot in life, how to improve the lot of others, how to find ways of making marshmallow treats so they don’t leave smells throughout the house that my wife picks up on and thus knows I’ve made them… well, you catch my drift. 🙂

I do believe blogging is one of those things people either build up to or quit on, just like exercise. Either it’s too hard or it starts getting good to you. I’m glad both have finally gotten good to me.

January 21st, 2011 | 12:13 PM

I think it’s easy to identify people with the same sort of personality. In other words we’ve got the same feather. But you’re one of the higer order 😉
Well, good for you, Mitch, it’s nice to meet people who actually can testify of hard work and the fruit that it yields. Keep it up!

January 22nd, 2011 | 5:17 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Anne; I’d blush, but I never blush. Two people thinking alike; I guess that means we’re both going to be rich one day.

January 22nd, 2011 | 6:05 PM

Good stuff here for just about everyone Mitch. Thanks.

January 21st, 2011 | 12:39 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks for your comment, Anne; certainly trying my best.

January 21st, 2011 | 8:21 PM

Hey Mitch,

I see that you interact a lot with all kinds of people. I must say that I didn’t know that doing a lot of reps with smaller weights but doing it slowly does more then pushing big weights (yet an other thing I learned).

Also, this just shows you that not only as a blogger but as a human being you never stop learning and every place has it’s own piece of wisdom ;).

January 21st, 2011 | 1:21 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Alex, I’m not sure it does more, but it’s just another way of going at it. And his way you’ll never hurt yourself; I’ve seen guys push too much weight & get hurt. Actually, that’s me as well sometimes. lol And yes, we can learn something from almost everyone we meet.

January 21st, 2011 | 4:38 PM

This was such a great post. Brendan Burchard says that we all have something that we can teach someone else, and not to ever underestimate or dismiss our own experiences. Reciprocally, we should never dismiss anyone else’s experiences, either, because they also have something to teach someone.

We just have to remember to keep our eyes open. And our minds! Thanks for the reminder.
Delena

January 22nd, 2011 | 1:21 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thank you for your comments, Delena. It seems such a great concept, learning from everyone and everything, but so many people close their eyes to it all. I know I probably miss a lot of things, but luckily I also catch a lot of things.

January 22nd, 2011 | 1:37 AM

What a great way to give us blogging tips sandwiched between conversations and observations from your gym experience. I know the samples will help me remember the tips. Magical.

January 24th, 2011 | 12:36 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Nick; I try to learn something from many different sources.

January 24th, 2011 | 12:53 AM

Hey Mitch,
Thanks for the insight. I’m just getting going with a new blog, and some new perspective like this is just what I need. Thanks again, looking forward to more good posts

January 25th, 2011 | 8:49 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Navid. Good luck with your blog; I’m sure it’ll be great.

January 25th, 2011 | 11:10 PM