The longer you stick with your exercise program, and the more you learn, the harder it gets to watch others exercise at the gym. This is the case with anything new. At first, you’re naive. You might walk into walls, but you’re so excited, it doesn’t matter. Life is great! You gobble up advice like a kid eating cake.
Then you read a book or you train with someone who actually knows what she’s doing. Suddenly, all you see are the mistakes. The gym is full of idiots. Even the old you was so uninformed. So glad you’re not her anymore.
Over time, you learn that things you once understood as fact, may not be so factual. You may start to doubt the validity of any education, especially since it seems everyone has an opinion and they never seem to match.
Stick with it. Look for the oldest information, the basics. Learn from people who are doing the most boring workouts, the people who are still in shape even though life is mostly in the rearview mirror.
Keep your eyes up, ears open, mouth closed, and your mind focused. Most importantly, don’t say any of this stupid crap.
“I’m addicted to exercise.”
This is top of the list for a reason. Addiction, by loose definition, includes repeated behaviors, which cause pain so severe, no one in their her mind would ask for it.
One could argue that it’s possible to take exercise to the point of unhealthy, but on balance, that’s not what we’re talking about. When people use addiction to talk about gym frequency, they’re taking poetic liberties.
They don’t mean addictive behavior, they mean habitual behavior.
IMHO… If someone accuses you of addiction to exercise, it’s likely because the person is lazy. Your determination highlights their laziness. Please proceed.
“That’s a bad exercise.”
This one I hear from the mouths of trainers. There are very few moves in the gym I would classify as bad.
There are better ways, more efficient or less painful ways to complete any move in your spectrum of movements, but the exercises themselves are not bad.
Seated hip adduction gets a bad rap because most folks use too much weight. There are better moves to accomplish what most users intend to do on that machine, but the exercise is not bad.
Hate the player, not the game.
“It’s all about proper form.”
Ask ten people what the definition of proper form is and you’ll get eleven different answers. They will say something about the shape and movement of one’s limbs through a range of motion.
Perceptions of form are flawed. Form judgments rely on an outsider’s perspective to judge what is happening inside the body. It’s like picking a car by the paint job alone.
If from my perception of your form, I can tell you have flawed movement, it’s too late. There isn’t something wrong with your form. It’s your technique.
In simple terms, technique is the order and way in which you fire all your muscles to support your frame to move through a range of motion. It might be your range of motion, joint limitations, adhesions in your soft tissue, I can’t tell from your form.
We’re gonna have to slow down to figure things out.
“Pain is the body’s way of getting out the weakness.”
The next time someone repeats this phrase in earnest, reach over to slap his mouth. Pain is NOT the body’s way of getting out weakness. It is the body advising you of friction.
There is pain that is good, like the burn in your muscles when you push it. There is also pain that is concerning, like pinching sensations, shocks or numbness. These types of pain may indicate you are doing damage to nerves.
Ignoring those pain indicators in an effort to toughen up could cause irreparable damage.
Instead of blanket statements about nervous receptors, let’s learn to distinguish good pain from concerning pain. If you can’t tell, it’s concerning. Start asking questions.
“Don’t ever weight yourself.”
This is some trendy advice that won’t go away. It lives next door to, “don’t check your bank balance because it’s not 100% accurate…” or “checking your bank balance will drive you crazy.” Yeah, if it’s moving the wrong way, it will.
Not keeping is demonstrative of immaturity. Part of being a grown up is accepting that data points are that: information. They do not tell the whole picture.
There is no absolute, but some metrics give us the best running snapshot of how we are progressing.
If you managed your bank account by always spending every dime you had according to what your online balance read, you’d discover financial pain. You have to consider auto pay, uncleared withdrawals, checks not cashed, and other pending items.
You also have to have the emotional maturity to recognize that your bank balance does not define your actual worth. Like the scale, it’s a number.
If you’re guilty of these bone-headed comments, don’t feel bad. I’ll admit it. A couple on this list once came out of my mouth–not saying which–but we live and we learn.
Get your education from books, but not the trendy ones. Read the old books with the leather covers, dusty and faded. Listen to the pros who learned from the great trainers.
Stay away from anything Doctor Phil or Doctor Oz say.
You’ll be fine. You look terrific. Keep it up.