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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Brandon’s Fitness Corner

    Walk into a gym or any other modern fitness facility nowadays and you’re more than likely to be bombarded with countless distractions that detract from the time you can spend training. The reason you go to the gym is to train your body, not to talk about your social life, pick your face in the mirror, or ogle the hot guy/girl in the corner running on the new Trackmaster 8604. Here are some things you should be wary of when and if you decide to make use of a public gym:

    1. Cell Phones – Unless you are on call with the volunteer fire department or volunteer ambulance corps (or anything else that requires you to carry a phone or a pager at all times), you do not need to bring your phone with you to the gym. An hour away from your phone isn’t going to kill you, and I’m sure whoever is calling you during that hour isn’t going to go get their feelings hurt if you don’t speak to them right away. Make sure your friends understand that you have a certain amount of time set aside for yourself.

    2. MP3 Players – Music can be a great training tool in that it drowns out the rest of the noise around you, be it the music playing in the gym, the guy blowing a gasket doing biceps curls, or the annoying friend that walks in the gym and keeps saying he’s tired when he hasn’t even done anything yet. If you choose to listen to music while you train, do not let the music get you carried away with yourself. Sure, you feel like you can bench three times your bodyweight when you plug those headphones into your ears, but be realistic and don’t overestimate your abilities. Also, don’t waste time browsing through your library of tracks to find the perfect song for this particular moment. Make a playlist before setting foot in the gym. The band I train to is AC/DC.

    3. Taking Breaks – There will inevitably be a time when you have to rest between doing sets of your selected exercises. However, don’t make those breaks last longer than they have to. It’s the small things you do during your breaks that will accumulate into large chunks of lost time. For example, instead of having to run to the paper towel dispenser every five minutes, take enough to last you the entire time you’re in the gym. Or, instead of having to make a trip to the water fountain after every set, bring your own water. One thing I see all too often is a person waiting for a piece of equipment. Don’t just stand there idly. Move on to another exercise and come back to that piece of equipment later. Do some bodyweight exercises to pass the time, such as push-ups, sit-ups, or bodyweight squats. You can determine how long your body needs to recover from what you just did. Shorter breaks equate to less time spent in the gym, not to mention an increased heart rate, something your metabolism could always benefit from.

    4. Socializing – The gym is a great place to socialize, but don’t get carried away with your conversations. You can catch up with your friends outside of the gym. Don’t be afraid to tell someone that you’ll talk to them later. Having a pair of headphones handy is the perfect tool for avoiding unwanted conversations. Even if you do hear the person trying to speak with you, you can pretend that you didn’t. If they’re really serious about training, or if they have any amount of respect for you, they’ll understand.

    5. Staring – Though stares from fellow gym goers may be a source of motivation for some, the majority of people would rather do without them. It’s fine to admire someone else’s physique or technique, but don’t get carried away. Staring can get pretty creepy, especially if there’s no verbal exchange between the person doing the staring and the person being stared at. Gentlemen, this is something that we are notoriously guilty of. Put some discipline in your body and concentrate on training. There’s always time to get to know each other some other time.

    6. Hogging Equipment – Just because part of your tuition goes towards your use of the fitness facilities on campus does not mean that you can monopolize a piece of equipment. Keep in mind that other people are in the gym with you. This is particularly true in the Residential Fitness Centers, where equipment is scarce and is likely to be used by more people during your trip there.

    7. Grunting – Do not attract attention to yourself by making animalistic sounds while training. It’s usually the show-offs in the gym that are prone to doing this. They seek validation through the reactions of those around them. While certain breathing techniques require you to compress your breath, it is not necessary to produce a soul-searing war cry when in the gym. If you are truly training properly, your physique should be enough proof that you’re busting your ass where it counts.

    When you’re in the gym, be wary of your habits and behaviors as it is very possible that some of them have been holding you back from reaching your full potential. In addition, always use common sense when training, and exercise common courtesy to each and every person in the gym, regardless of their level of experience.

    Brandon Chung

    [email protected]

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