HOW TO FEEL LIKE YOU OWN THE DAMN GYM

Dressing the part in the gym is one thing that helps make the difference in terms of motivation. After all, the saying goes "look good; feel good". While there is something to be said about that - it might not be for everybody. Instead of just saying "dress well, even in the gym",  I've put together 3 tips around fitness gear that will help you get the most out of your time in the gym (...and look pretty great while doing it too).

1.) WEAR A HAT TO SOLVE THE STARING PROBLEM

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I used to think that my gym had a "staring" problem. I'd always look up from a set and feel countless eyes glancing at me and burning holes into me during my working sets. I would often get really annoyed, and complain about the staring problem in my gym. 

Over time though I realized that it wasn't the gym that had the staring problem; it was me. I realize that the gym is really just a room full of people glancing at each other, all thinking "why is everybody staring at me?". 

So I decided that I would start wearing a hat, pulled very low, every time I work out. Not only does it make me look super hardcore - but it also completely eliminates the staring problem. I don't know if it was me or the gym with the staring problem - but its not a problem anymore. The truth is that it probably was me - and now that I've gotten out of my own head - it really means that I've gotten out of my own way. Over the years the gym has become a second home to me; and not feeling like I'm being judged or scrutinized while being there has been an important piece of that. 

2.) UPGRADE TO WIRELESS HEADPHONES

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I'm sure a lot you already have - but in case you haven't: it's a total game-changer. In and out of the gym. 

I used have to adjust my headphones several times during a workout. After every set, before any kind of exercise involving dumbbells, and constantly through anything involving cables. It was really one of those problems I didn't know the extent of until after I had solved it. Last year I got my first pair of wireless headphones as a gift from my brother, and they've totally changed my workout fluidity. 

When I leave the locker room, I put my headphones in - and don't take them out until after I'm done. I had no clue how much of a difference that simple thing would make. It may seem like a relatively minor quality of life thing (and really, it is) but the satisfaction of getting through a workout with one less distraction has been so great that I can't help but make this recommendation. 

You can get a pair for around 30 bucks on Amazon.ca (not an affiliate link!)

3.) KEEP IT MINIMAL; USE A LOCKER IF YOU CAN.

Wear brands you like, opt-out of the wearables trend (at least for the next little while), and keep your bag as light as possible. Having a bag that is easy to lug around will make it easier mentally to make it out to the gym every single day. Keep it to shorts, a light shirt, socks, shoes, a towel, and a water bottle. Even then I'd find ways to keep this even lighter. If you have access to a locker leave as many of these items as possible in there as you can. Rotate used items out after each session. I personally don't mind carrying items back from the gym - but strongly prefer a lighter load on my way to the gym.

SOMETHING THAT WORKS FOR ME THAT I DON'T RECOMMEND.

I do NOT recommend the following to anybody. 

As a man with a very mild eyeglass prescription - I'm able to function fully when I leave them in my locker at the start of workouts. In fact I've found that I actually function better when I do

It started out as a necessity for me - because I found my frames to be an annoyance when performing exercises (before I had discovered the wonders of wireless headphones). I quickly found however that doing so further solves the "staring problem" I mentioned earlier. In fact I discovered this long before I started wearing hats in the gym. Combing them has helped me take the "at home in the gym" mentality to almost literal heights, as I'm often able these days to nearly fully tune out others in the gym. As a result I'm able to get in a much better workout session. 

The point is I experimented and found the techniques that helped me feel like I wasn't being judged constantly. These pointers are intended to help you do the same - but to fully get there you should try things on your own!