Posted by Mitch Mitchell 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.
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. 😉