Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How My Pre-Workout Became a Crutch

This morning, for probably the 4th time this month, I woke up at 6:30, had a slice of toast with peanut butter, chugged back some pre-workout, and then sat down on the couch and started reading the first volume of Robin: Son of Batman (fantastic read by the way, will post a review when I finish). 30 minutes later, I’m halfway through the book when I realize that my window for heading to the gym before work is closing, and fast.

My face is sufficiently tingly, my left heel is tapping on the hardwood, and I feel great; ecstatic, actually. After 10 more minutes of feeling good and not doing anything, I jumped in the shower, threw on some clothes, grabbed my bag, and headed for the metro to work.

When I first started lifting seriously back in my freshman year of college, (like most American guys tend to do), I couldn’t wait to head to the gym to get that rush that made me feel alive – that alleviated any anxiety I had and made up for the crippling Seasonal Affective Disorder caused by ridiculously long and dark North-Eastern winters. Once I had reached a sufficient level, I incorporated pre-workout into my routine. I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker so, in my mind, that Kool-Aid-concentrate-flavored combination of barely legal chemicals (the ingredients list looks like a cheat sheet for an AP chemistry class) was a perfectly acceptable substitute.

Soon I was using it as a way to get my ass to the gym even when I didn’t feel like lifting. I never understood how my friends never seemed to get the motivation to go to the gym; ten minutes after throwing down a scoop of powder amphetamine-substitute I was barely able to sit still without sweating and my face going slightly numb. I was chomping at the bit to get to the Iron Throne and start making gains.

In the past year I’ve left college, got a new job, and moved to a new city. Working 9-5 (realistically longer) now dominates my life and as much as I love the gym and even prioritize it, it’s not always easy to find the time to go. Worse, having left most of my best friends who are now all over the country, and having to make new friends in a non-collegiate environment, I’m finding it more difficult to find gym-minded friends who can workout with me around my schedule.

This lack of competition and mutual gains-making has taken a toll on me that I’ve only recently come to realize: I simply don’t have as much drive or energy to go to the gym.

This morning when I sat on my couch with that fantastic feeling washing over me, I wasn’t getting ready to go to the gym. I had already, however unconsciously, made the decision not to go. The artificial feeling of the pre-workout had completely changed its job. It no longer acted as the extra boost I needed to get my tired ass to the gym and earn the release of cortisol and endorphins in my body; instead, it replaced it.

Pre-workout and the artificial positive feeling and energy it provides, became the end rather than a means. I used it to replace my workout; so I could go to work and feel good without having really earned it.

Luckily, admitting this flaw in a public forum is gonna be my first step in forcing myself to go to the gym in the morning – that and the ridiculous price of Mr. Hyde and even that shitty new formula for C4.

…Do they call it Mr. Hyde because it turns you into the energetic, ecstatic, crazy foil to Dr. Jekyll?

Anyway, leave a comment in the comments section if you have something you wanna say!

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