People train for one reason, and that is to get better. Rather they are hoping to lose weight, gain muscle, become a better athlete, or get the girl they are afraid to talk to in class, they all have one thing in common, and that is the desire to get better. However, many people often associate getting better with other falsehoods that are designed to look like greatness. We must change the way we think about training and change our mindset. So what are those falsehoods?
Do you feel better? Might be a dumb question, but do you feel better when you train and after you train? Often times I see people who fall into the mindset of “no pain, no gain.” In other words, if they aren’t limping out of the gym with bloody knees, convulsing on the ground, and laying in a pool of sweat then it wasn’t actually “working out.” The phrase “de-load week” is forbidden and to speak of it is treason. While I admire the effort to come in and bust your butt every day no one should ever be saying, “man that was a great workout, my knees are killing me!!” If you want to get your butt handed to you on a daily basis go pick a fight with a UFC fighter. Re-think what you want to get out of your training session.
“If I were to take you behind the gym and hit you in the back, the knees, and just beat the crap out of you with a baseball bat you wouldn’t be ok with that right? Or would you be like thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow at the same time, and I’ll bring my friends. No of course not, so why do you let someone do that to you with weights”- Mike Boyle
Take away here is you should feel better when you are training. Is there going to be a little soreness? Absolutely! Are mistakes going to happen? Yes, every now and again people will get injured. But if training is done right you should not be in agony, grabbing your lower back, and having to re-think sitting on the toilet because your knees hurt so bad.
Who are you taking advice from? Bigger is better, biceps are cool, and men wearing tank tops made for middle school boys are in and accepted. We have all seen this in some way, fashion, or form. Guy walks in a gym (and yes its almost always a guy) wearing a tank top three sizes too small. They walk over to the dumbbells and start curling so much weight their tiny legs look like they are going to crumble right below them. And then you get the “hey bro what kind of workouts do you do?” Come on now, its 2016 we are better than that and I hold our society to a higher standard. Be careful who you listen to and what workouts they prescribe you. Maybe the first workout you pull from a body building website isn’t the best fit for you. If I have learned anything from being in this industry, it’s that most people actually do enjoy helping. If not, why else would they be in this business? Do a little research, pick up a phone, send an email and ask advice from someone who is worthy of asking. Is every coach going to respond to your request? No, but some definitely will, and if they can’t directly help you maybe they can at least point you in the right direction.
Trainer only talks about gaining/losing pounds: Some people judge success in the gym by a number. A number! Something that can change in a matter of seconds simply by drinking a bottle of water or eating at Taco Bell the night before. This piggy backs off my first point of do you feel better? I once knew a guy who would tell every client that walked into his gym that they would lose 15lbs in just 4 weeks. I remember thinking, “man it must be nice to be that confident. He has found the Holy Grail of training.” The problem was (as I came to realize) is that “common sense is not so common”, Voltaire, and people would believe this man. This same guy use to also claim that one burpee would burn seven calories. Just think! Please! For as many great genuine hard working people as there are in this business there are also a few who do not have your best interest at heart. They lie, scam, and prey on the naivety of desperate people who only hope to better themselves. Do yourself a favor and develop a “B.S meter.” If someone just throws out big words and does nothing except talk about their way of training and how it’s second to none then let that B.S meter rise and tell your brain to get out.
Comparing Yourself to Others: Don’t let your greatness be defined by what others are doing or have already done. If your goal is to bench press 300lbs and you are currently doing 275 but started at only 135 then be proud of that feat. Don’t get down on yourself because you saw a video of someone knocking out 300 in their warm up sets. We all have different paths and histories. Some played professional sports, while others will see a gym for the first time in their 40’s after having 3 kids. Its human nature to be competitive with our peers and wanting to be the best, but be realistic. Stay positive and stay focused on YOUR GOALS.
Brett Cummins, CSCS, USAW, CSAC, CSAS, CFSC
Trainer at Forge-Rx