At The Gym My Thoughts Are My Music

Yesterday at the gym I finished a set, put the weights down, looked up, and inadvertently made eye contact with another person who was also working out. I didn’t mean to lock eyes with this guy but he was staring at me as I did my set so naturally when I looked up in his direction our eyes locked. I see this guy every single day as he is also a rec center regular and when I caught his gaze I knew he had something to say. Sure enough he walked right over to me and asked a question:

“Hey man, isn’t it bullshit that they don’t have music playing right now?”

The guy was right. Instead of the 70’s rock hits or the assortment of Pink, Adele, Barenaked Ladies, and Jewel they usually have playing, on this day the place was silent. Instead of responding to his question with a question of my own asking him why he just doesn’t use a personal iPod like 95% of the people I see in the gym, I decided to trail off on my own thoughts…

I don’t use a personal music device at the gym. I don’t pay attention to the music that my workout center decides to push through the speakers. I don’t even realize it when the place is dead silent. When I work out, I don’t have lyrics aiding me as I sweat it out. I don’t have angry rock music screaming in my ears or a David Guetta beat sending energy through my veins. Rather, I just have my thoughts.

When I work out, I do my best thinking. I get into a trance, shut off the people around me, focus, and let my mind go wild as I move weight around and run the track. I definitely feel the physical toll on my body as I perform my workout regimen but it is made bearable because mentally I am always engaged in something interesting. When I work out I come up with my best ideas, look at work issues in a whole new light, come up with most of my blog topics, and evaluate my personal life. For me, music just kind of gets in the way.

Not that I don’t understand the value music can have on a good lifting session. In high school we routinely blared loud, obnoxious music during our zero hour weights class. I can admit that it got my adrenaline pumping a notch or two more and may have helped me add a few pounds to my maxes. I know our athletes at Montana like strong, beat dropping music during their workouts, I hear it each time I am within 500 feet of the athletic performance center. Seeing some of the big marks they have hit, obviously it is helping them too. But I am just past that point now.

I no longer need to lift heavy weights and max out every other week. Instead of lifting for numbers, I lift for myself. I lift for the body I want and at the pace I want. Because of this, I find music unnecessary. I just need my state of mind and I am ready to tackle my workout.

During my workout I argue with myself, bring myself down, lift myself up, and just dig deep. I am in continual dialogue with myself and it takes me through the whole duration of my physical activity. I definitely play a game of tug-of-war internally, but by the time I finish my workout and the endorphins are flowing I usually always feel that I have not only succeeded physically but mentally as well.

For someone like myself who is in charge of using music to amp up 26,000 people to ecstatic levels, you would think that I would depend on it for every facet of my life. But I don’t. In one of the most accepted avenues to use music as a motivator (the gym) I have the volume muted. I covet the time I have to really examine myself while working out and I don’t need music to get in the way…

Although the explanation probably took you a little longer to read, it actually only took me one second to give the guy his answer about the lack of the music. Not wanting to get in a long discussion with the guy, I gave him the easy answer so I could get back to my thoughts:

“Yeah man, it totally sucks.”

Don’t Blink.

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