The word transformation means, “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance”. Transformation. A word so commonly used to inspire people and to promote change in someone's life. Ultimately, transformation was a key word for me as I decided to make a change in my life along with a goal to empower and better myself. So often I could pass by with being mediocre or average, and I was content with that.

I had always had big dreams and aspirations, but what was I really doing to achieve those? Playing computer games. Watching movies. Laying in bed till noon. All of which are excusable because that's what college students do right? Wrong. It took me a while (2 years to be exact) to realize this does not have to be the case. If I wanted to get somewhere in life, I had to realize that I was not defined by labels or people's perceptions of me, but rather, I needed to get out and strive to learn more about my passions and nail down my life goals.

Fitness helped me realize this and I'm glad it came sooner rather than later. So many times we see fitness as a way to improve physically but through my journey, I realized that I learned far much more about myself internally than I did externally. As satisfying as it is seeing your body change and your muscles form the way you had always envisioned, when you look back on the journey you appreciate the lessons you learned along the way far greater than any physical change that took place. For these are the things that are truly priceless and can only be taught and never bought.

So here are the 8 lessons I have learned along my fitness journey and bear with me as I try to avoid being cliché.

1. It's Good to Have a Routine

Everyday of this last semester I lifted from 4-6, Monday through Friday, and it taught me the importance of having a routine. They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit and if you can dedicate all your will power to making it that long, you will not even think about it the next time.

Having a routine lets you know what you are up against and helped me get into the right mindset to do work. Whether it is weight lifting or any type of work for that matter, having a routine better prepares you to tackle the tasks at hand in life.

2. Making Excuses

There's a weight lifting quote that goes, “The Iron Never Lies”. A squat bar with 495 pounds does not care either you are tired, sore, hungry, or emotionally exhausted. It weighs 495 pounds and will always be 495 pounds no matter how you feel about it. Blame the weight for not getting that rep in and it will just stare back at you in utter silence.

All of this to say do not blame your accessibility to perform something on something or someone else. Ask yourself if you have done everything in your power to succeed and meet your goals. Focus on the task ahead without making excuses whether its work, school, or anything else in your life and I can promise you will be successful.

3. Show Up Even If You Do not Want To

Everyone has those days when they are gassed and it feels like the last ounce of energy has been depleted. It's always easier to skip that workout and find a million excuses as to why you could not do it rather than why you should. If you are passionate about something you will have those hard days where you want to quit, but do not because in the end if it is your passion it will all be worth it. Even when its easier to make excuses step up to the challenge and push yourself.

4. Do More Than Just Show Up

Going along with point 3, if you are going to show up, actually show up. To be successful in life and in the gym, you have to do more than just make an appearance. If you are looking to reach your goals and your full potential, it requires hard work and determination. Do not be that person who simply goes through the motors. We have all seen those types of people in different scenario's and more times than not, we cringe watching them, thankful we are not in their shoes. If you want results, you need to constantly push yourself to the best possible. You can not expect to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. That's simply crazy!

5. Set Goals

One of the things that makes me irritated the most is when people go into a weight room and randomly starting doing a plethora of random exercises. I never understand this and to this day still do not! Set goals and carry out a plan. In order to achieve your goals, you need to know and do the necessary steps to get there. Whether it's at the gym or working towards a promotion at work, you will be lost without a plan. Also, if you do not even set goals then that's just another whole problem of its own.

6. Hard Work Pays Off

If there is one thing that I have benefited from the most it's definitely this one. As much as I would like to say I have always been a hard worker, I would be lying to you. The amount of effort you put into something is the amount you will receive out of it. There were many days when I did not feel like getting into the gym, but I knew that in the end it would all be worth it. It was worth all those sweat drops and late nights of hard work to achieve my goals and become the person I am today. Whether it's at the gym or some other aspect of your life, hard work pays off and in the end you will reap the benefits. Stick with it and do not give up!

7. Celebrate Success, Then Set New Goals

When I first squatted 250, it was a huge success for me and a goal I had long been after. It took a lot of hard work and time to achieve that goal, and I had many successes and many failures leading up to it. However, after the celebrations were over it was onto my next goal, 315 lbs.

That feeling of triumph and success is indescribable, but do not get too much up in it. Set new goals and start the process over again. If you do not, you will certainly be a spectator, as others pass you by.

8. You Are Capable of Greatness

Most importantly, the lesson I learned the most is that with hard work, I was able to do things I never would have imagined. I hit new PR's (personal records for those of you who are not familiar with gym-terms), sculpted my body the way I had set out to, and most importantly became a better man through the constant lessons I learned in the gym. I changed my life because I wanted to achieve something and did not let anything stand in my way. Never let someone tell you you are incapable of doing something!

You do not have to be the largest or the strongest guy in the world to learn these practical life lessons, but it takes a humble man to realize there is always room for improvement. I have enjoyed every step of my journey so far and even when I have been met with adversity, I have learned I can do whatever I put my mind to and grind through the rough patches!

If you have stuck with me and made it all the way to the bottom thanks for reading, and I would love to hear some life lessons you have learned through your fitness journey below in the comment section! Until next time!