T Nation

self esteem, ego, confidence etc

Hey guys, sort of a dorky question I guess, but any of you run into a little self-esteem brick wall at the gym? Just got back from my workout, and left feeling like nothing i lifted was as heavy as it should be, and that every guy in there was bigger than me. I get discouraged sometimes – feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Is this unusual? How have you guys handled it?


Yeah, I’ve felt this way, but then i stop and think. Who the hell cares. I look good, maybe not as good as those other guys, but f them. I mean when I’m in the gym next to them I feel like a weakling but its only 45min-1hour 4times a week. The rest of the week I’m around the “normal” population whom are getting more and more obese, even as we speak. Just think to yourself, “Do I look good?” I’m sure the answer will be yes.

Use all of that to keep you motivated. You said something about all the guys in the gym being bigger than you. Well just remember, that will always be true if you quit. If you learn your stuff, train hard, and eat right; you’ll be the “that guy” giving the others self-esteem issues.

Patience my friend. Educate yourself and steadily apply your knowledge. Nothing, and I mean nothing worth truly having in the bodybuilding world, comes without months and even years to accomplish. Pursue and remain intense and focused while at the gym. Do not let others step in the way of your true path. Onward and upward to higher and higher goals. Never envy others, for that will be the beginning of your end.
Best to you !!!

You know what always helps me? Concentrating on the improvement I’ve made. I just look through my training log (if you don’t have one, start now) at the last three or six months. Even if I’m not the strongest guy in the gym that day, I can see that I’ve been making progress.

And, to me, that’s really what it’s all about.


Exactly. I know what you mean my freind. I hit lows when this happens to me, but when I got back to school, I look at everyone else, and im bigger or in better shape then them. And I look stronger, just like you.

Use the fact that these gym guys are bigger than you to motivate you, and say "I will out grow them!’

I personally like it when there are bigger and stronger guys than me at the gym (which isn’t incredibly hard to do BTW).

I find it motivates me, to see what’s “possible”.

Don’t think of it as a competition against other guys, think of it as a competition against yourself. Did you lift more weight than last week or more reps? Did you push yourself harder? The workout log is an awesome motivator, as Tampa Terry told me, Success is a journey not individual steps.

Maybe you should take a week off from the gym and really examine your workout and food logs. I’m thinking you might need more food to support your workouts or even a new routine. And I also find it incredibly motivating when I see the bigger/stronger/leaner guys in the gym - you just don’t get that motivation in your basement.

Lots of guys are bigger than me in the gym, but I’m better in bed than they are.

See, it all evens out in the end… :wink:

After lifting for about a year I felt that way when my progress came to a screeching halt. I felt like nothing I was doing was working I felt like everyone around me was making gains accept me. Anyway, after learning more about productive training, I got back on the path to getting stronger and made tremendous progress over the next several years. It is natural to feel the way that you do. Just stick it out and keep learning about what works best for you. You are at the right place for the right info.

Dude, YOU are the master of your destiny. What’s to stop you getting up to the level of those guys, and surpassing them (with the knowledge of T-Mag on your side!). I also find it useful to think of “relative strength”- If you were as big as those guys, would you be lifting the same as them, or more? Probably the latter if you work on both strength and mass diligently. Good luck!

Hey guys. Thanks for responding and for the encouragement. I sorta hit a low point back there…reading the forum this evening as i usually do for a little inspiration before hitting the gym, and really appreciate the help. You guys said things I already know, but just forgot for a little while I guess. So thanks.


This is why I am a big fan of competing with one and only one person. ME! Are you keeping a notebook? If you are, look back about 6 weeks to the person you used to be. I have a twin brother and it is USELESS for us to compete against each other for various reasons.

Yeah, been keeping a training log for a couple of years now. Was the first thing that got me out of my first rut in the gym…can’t train without it now. started a food log about a year ago, but couldn’t keep up with it (i know, i know). definitely got to get this diet starightened out…starting my first attempt at massive eating soon, so that ought to break me out of this rut. Anyway, thanks again guys…time to head out and do some squats.

I always look for gyms with tough girls and men.
I try not to make any excuses to why they are in better shape than I am -I just kick myself for not being focused enough!
Thank you guys for this intensely motivating thread

Hi jdav1,

I had the same problem with diet logs. I have always had the training part down but I never really spent anytime learning the food part. Then some of the helpful folks here pointed me to WWW.FITDAY. COM It has made keeping a food log really easy (And it’s free). That and learning & annoying people on the board here about my diet and I have made some huge gains since last Sept. Check it out, It may help you get that diet under control.


I feel the same way. I train at a pretty hardcore gym, and there’s always a lot of big guys in there, lifting real big weights. However, one thing I’ve noticed, is a lot of them suffer from what would be sort of a “professional bodybuilder syndrome”, I.E.- A lot of them don’t know jack shit about training.

I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m pretty young (21 on Feb. 8th). A lot of the guys in there have been training for years and years longer than me. Also, a lot of them are, IMO, using drugs. Which, I have no problem with at all and may eventually do myself, but I think we all agree on this board, far too many people use them who don’t have a right to. I don’t have a right to myself at the moment, as I’m not to my full potential yet, so I don’t.

Anyway, I train real hard, as I’m sure everyone on this board does (We are T-Men and T-Vixens after all…No place to be a wuss.) I use lighter weights than a lot of these guys do, but keep in mind your form also has a lot to do with that. As Ian King said, load is overrated.
One of my weakest bodyparts is my lower back, which I’m trying to correct. After years of neglecting it, coupled with the fact that I’m an independent professional wrestler and have fucked my back up bad enough for everyone on this board already, lol, I have a really weak lower back. Yesterday, I was training my lower back/glutes/hams, and jumped on the reverse hyper after some semi-stiff legged deadlifts. I was only using 20 lbs on the thing, on a 3-1-1 tempo, and it was honestly too much. I switched to ten lbs and did my sets. I was somewhat embarrassed to be honest. After I got through with those sets, it was hard to even walk out of the gym my back was so tapped, from only ten lbs, but in the strictest of form. Then I felt better. I watched this HUGE guy, who, incidentally, was drinking a DIET COKE while training (so much for a good anticatabolic shake for him), and who’s name had been on the sign in sheet for over TWO AND A HALF HOURS, throw 140 lbs on this machine, and do something resembling a mix between a mechanical bull ride and what you would find in ‘The Kama Sutra- The Advanced Guide’. I was mortified. Afterwards, he got off, and sat there laughing and talking with his friends for about another 15 minutes before moving along to another “exercise”. The sad part is, my gym is full of huge guys who all train that same way.

The point is, don’t look to these guys and feel bad because they’re bigger or moving more weights than you are. Most have no idea what real, hardcore training/nutrition is about. Feel good that you do. Feel good that your workouts, while lower in weights, are so strict, so smart and so intense. They’re people who have taken the easy way out, grabbed the latest Flex workout and use the shittiest of form coupled with large amounts of drugs and bad nutrition to “look huge”. T-People are people who train in the brutalest of ways, and train not only to look great, but to find their true limits, to see how much you can really take, to push yourself to the utmost limits, and then blast through them into something way past the “pain zone”. Training isn’t just to look good and lift a heavier weight. It’s a jouney of self exploration to see how hardcore you truly are. To paraphrase Brad Pitt in ‘Fight Club’, “How much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never trained T-Man style?”


Comparing yourself to those less fortunate than yourself helps in most aspects of life, it’ll probably work here.

don’t worry about that. if you’re doing everything that you can to rip yourself apart everytime you go into that gym and you do so with proper form when you’re lifting the weights then don’t worry about anything. and if those bigger guys are smart, they’ll commend you on your efforts and good form.