Do you know whatMonday is in the fitness world?
It's not what it is in the working world, that's for sure. It's not the day where everyone drags their feet into the office, bags under their eyes. It's not the day people sit in front of their computers and start complaining about what a long week it's going to be. And it's definitely not the day that people dread.
In fact, it's the complete opposite.
In the fitness world, more specifically the world of bodybuilding, Monday is chest day. Monday is a national celebration. Monday is the day the gym is the most packed, every bench is taken, and every single person is hyped up on pre-workout eager to work their favorite body part.
I'm actually not joking.
Chest day is a real thing, and it's every Monday, of every week, 52 weeks a year.
For 5 years, I lived like a bodybuilder. When I was 18 years old, I graduated high school barely weighing over 100 pounds, severely malnourished from years of not knowing that I had Celiac Disease--an allergy to wheat. By the time I turned 23, I weighed 170 pounds, carried almost no body fat, and was a fitness model.
In fact, I told the story in one of my earliest answers on Quora, and it went viral. Front page of Reddit and over 1M views.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that the gym community loves Mondays. Monday is actually the best day of the week, because no body part is as fun to lift as chest (well, maybe biceps). Walk into any gym on a Monday and you'll see all the benches taken. Spend enough time in the same gym, and you'll overhear conversations of lifters on a Monday: "Man, I've been looking forward to this all weekend." There is no complaining that it's Monday. There is no, "I wish it was the weekend again."
Do you know why? Because the weekend was maintenance, and calves, and forearms, and all the little things you don't get to hit during the week. The weekend is actually less fun than a Monday.
When I started my first real job out of college, and decided I didn't really want to make bodybuilding my life, I was floored by the difference in mentality between the gym and the working world. Mondays, to everyone else, were National Complaining Day. Instead of hearing the screams and shouts of hundreds of pounds being pressed toward the sky, there were whines for the weekend and wishes that it would be Friday already.
I learned a lot of lessons from my years as a bodybuilder.
For five years, I ate six meals a day. I lifted for 2-3 hours a night. I slept a full eight hours, for maximum muscle recovery. I walked around with a gallon of water filled with strawberry BCAAs. I sat in my college creative writing classes flexing my calves, hoping to build muscle while we talked about Hemingway. I carried rice cakes around with me in my backpack, so that I'd never enter a catabolic state. I didn't party. Didn't drink alcohol. And diligently tracked how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats I was eating on a daily basis.
There are a lot of lessons I have carried with me from the bodybuilding world and applied to entrepreneurship. I look around and see so many of my peers (and even those much older) barely hanging on by a thread, sleep deprived and hung over, rushing from one event to the next with no regard for their own schedule, their own disciplines, and their own priorities. They are caught in a constant chase of both approval and attention--and then come Monday morning, feel utterly exhausted. They complain. They whine. They act as if life is happening to them, instead of realizing that their life is a reflection of the choices they make.
But most importantly, I wake up to a world that dreads Mondays. Dreads them, and goes to great lengths to explain why the day is so bad.
Mondays are the days I miss my old group of bodybuilding friends the most. Because nobody complained.
In fact, complaining was the farthest thing from any of our minds.
We would grab the 100 pound dumbbells, sit back on the bench, and smile.
Monday was chest day.