Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 7, 2012

Lessons from the Gym: The Determination (or Lack Thereof)

I recently started going to the gym again.

The two major reasons are to gear up for the upcoming softball season—because you have to be in peak physical condition to play a game with overweight, arthritic old men—and to earn a buttload of minutes for the annual GetFit challenge at work.

When I’m working out, I like to picture myself in the Rocky IV montage seen here:

Now, there are a few small differences between Rocky and me.

The first is that at the end of my workout instead of screaming “DRAAAAAGGGOOO” to show my intent to physically decimate another human-being; I’m usually mumbling “cheeeseburrrrger” because, well, I intended to decimate a cheeseburger.

Another difference is that while Rocky is training off in the remote, frozen tundra that is Cold War Russia, I’m in a swank gym using Nautilus equipment instead of lifting boulders and chopping wood.

The big difference between the two of us is determination.

While Rocky can find that extra something to run up a hill in the snow or lift an ox-cart containing all of his friends, I have a complete and utter inability to find that extra ounce of drive to push a little harder on the weight bench or run a little farther on the track.

No, no…instead, I find myself only reaching those levels of determination when I’m in the sauna after my workout.

Once I’m in that sauna, I get in the zone and it turns into a real challenge.

I try to push it and see how long I can stay in that hot box before I break. Can I go twenty minutes? Can I go half an hour? Can I make it a solid forty-five minutes in that thing?

If there’s anybody in there with me, it is officially an iron man contest to see who can outlast the other.

Sadly, that’s when I really get locked into pushing myself to the limits. I’ll be all dehydrated and struggling to keep from falling off the bench, but like hell if I’m not going to tough it out just long enough to watch the minute hand squeak past the five or to see the fat guy give up and lumber off to the showers in defeat.

I fear that my determination and willingness to test my limits is really being exerted in the wrong places.

Forget trying to get in that last bench press or another half mile. I’m all about pushing a little longer to sit on my sweaty ass in a tiny box with a bunch of equally sweat naked dudes just to prove I’ve got the eye of the tiger.



  1. …who ARE you?


    • I think it is pretty obvious who I am…The King of the Sauna!!


  2. Oh my gosh. That was too funny!

    I’m more like Rocky. I like to push myself. But usually I have to get really really fat first. Then I get disgusted with myself and how out of shape I am, then I start working out again, then I get re-addicted to the endorphins, then I remember how much fun exercise can be (well, it really does depend on the frame of mind, I think), and then I get all super-uber competitive with myself until I over do it, get hurt and end up nursing whatever wound is bothering me. And then the cycle repeats.

    Fun, huh?

    I’m only halfway kidding. Well, maybe not.


    • Everybody’s got their approach. I’m always a tad annoyed that I seem to get the most psyched up for the gym and working out at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping or in the middle of the workday when I’m busy. When I actually get to to the gym, I’ve usually lost the rush and I’m basically just going through the motions.

      Thus, I dominate the sauna.


  3. When you put the sauna like that, it sounds strangely S&Mish/homoerotic. Never been in one because of claustrophobia, but I do usually go to the gym 4-5 times weekly. Oddly enough, that Rocky IV montage is something I visualize. Often, in fact.


    • I think for me, any fear of claustrophobia is generally outweighed by the fact that I can pretend it is still part of the workout process, despite the fact I’m just sitting on my ass and sweating.

      I like that we’re on the same wavelength with Rocky IV.


  4. […] I think my recent obsession with proving I’m an iron man in the sauna coupled with reading zombie books before bed is coming back to haunt me whilst I slumber, but I’m […]


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