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What 5 Years of Bodybuilding Taught Me About Tackling Mondays

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 gluten. 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.