Instagym: Thumbbells, Dumbbells, and Social Media While Working Out

10!  11!!  12!!!  

Upon racking the weight, I’m instantly gasping for air, drenched in a pool of my own sweat.  It’s leg day number two this week, and I’ve just finished my third set of this workout’s opening exercise, romanian deadlifts.  As I continue panting, the wonderfully familiar feeling of blood rushing and pulsing through my quads and hammies gives me a sense of euphoria that my fellow lifters can all relate to.  The Pump.  Oh yeah, here it comes, I silently tell myself.  Only three sets in, and I can tell that my pre-workout meal of 12 oz. of filet mignon and 20 oz. of sweet potato is already working its way into my muscles.

Damn, your legs are looking full and pumped already!  Then, I get the itch.  I haven’t always gotten the itch while working out, but it’s grown stronger as of late.  The itch to take my phone out and snap a pic of this wondrous moment.  Selfie time, baby.

I bust the phone out and do as my inner voice insists.  A few snaps later, I’ve captured an image that I feel successfully conveys what I’m feeling.  Alright, let’s upload this puppy to Facebook and Instagram.  A few more clicks and swipes later, it’s been uploaded.  Free for the whole world to see.

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“But first, let me take a selfie.”

I continue my workout, continuing to check my social media after making the post. Although it slows me down, I’m too preoccupied with my FB and IG addiction to give a damn.

But recently, my perception on all of that changed.  I was listening to a very prominent figure in the fitness industry speak, and he presented quite a strong diatribe against the fitness world’s increasing fascination with being on social media while working out.  At the end, he said something in particular that struck me: “You know, becoming a great bodybuilder is about focus.  And frankly, to me, social media takes the focus off what you’re trying to accomplish.”

He was right – and it’s not just bodybuilding that requires a tremendous amount of focus to be great – it’s anything.  This, combined with my own realization that I was spending far too much time idling around while “working out” made me realize it was a time for change.  Enter airplane mode.

photo 1 (3)

“Sayonara, distractions. It’s time to focus in and be completely present.” Also, disregard the Facebook URL underneath what’s playing – the file was originally ripped from Facebook and put onto SoundCloud, and I downloaded the file onto my phone, so that’s what shows, even in Airplane mode.  Arghhh – even when you escape social media, its presence still lingers!

Upon arriving at the gym, I started putting my phone in Airplane mode.  Amazingly (or, not so amazingly depending on how you look at it), I started completing my workouts in two-thirds of the time I had been before I stopped finagling around on my phone.  Now, the sweat doesn’t just drip, it pours.  When I’m there, I’m 100% tuned in to making sure I’m working out to the best of my ability.

While I still spend time on social media – and still take selfies and progress pics – I now never do inside the confines of my workout.  And as a result, my training bouts are more productive, intense, faster, and efficient.  My selfie game might have taken a hit, but in the name of focus, I’m fine with that.

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