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I sometimes train at commercial fitness centers.  It serves to keep me in touch with what  the general public is doing, or more specifically doing wrong.  I have to admit that sometimes I feel as though I need to find the nearest eyewash stations to wash out the nightmares that I witness there.  The things I do in the name of research.

Will someone please tell me what this is?!

Unfortunately the above video is NOT a unique occurrence.  It happens all the time.  The other day I was at a local “chrome and curl”.  I literally watched this guy, in a wife beater no less, walk in the door and make a B-Line to the bench.  Strange thing was that it wasn’t even Monday, “National Bench and Biceps Day” in case you didn’t know.  He went straight to loading the bar with 155lbs.  I honestly blacked out at some point from watching it, but he did 2 or 3 shaky sets of 5-6 reps that vaguely resembled a baby giraffe being born.  And then he proceeded on to the next exercise he could bastardize.

It seriously took me a while to process what I just saw.  I hypothesized that maybe he was in an extreme hurry, but that was not the case because 45 minutes later he was still there doing it wrong.  Whenever I see things like this I really wonder WHY?!

Why do people fear warming up?

Why do people fear doing a movement correctly with less weight?

Why don’t people that make little to no progress change their routine?

Why would someone keep going to the gym with nothing to show for it?

I really do not know.  However, I have speculated the majority of the people go to the gym just to say that they “go to the gym”.  When I was working in fitness centers as a personal trainer, many of my female clients never wanted to work hard they just wanted to say they had a personal trainer.  That’s not a knock against women, just against these particular women.  It is just as true for some of the guys.

Basically it comes down to two things.  The main culprit is EGO.  People are so worried about being judged at the gym that they cannot be seen using just the bar to warm up.  They honestly don’t care what their form looks like as long as they have “big weight” on there.  And no one else notices that it’s bad form because they are doing the same thing.  They do partial knee bends and call them squats.  They use a spotter to do a two man push-pull while yelling “all you” and call it a bench press.  It truly is a vicious cycle.  The ironic part is that the same thing that motivates people to go to the gym (ie. acceptance of others) is the thing that  causes them to feel the need to “impress” people at the gym.  The ironic part is that I know a ton of 500, 600, 700lb benchers that warm up with the bar.  Mike Ruggeria always starts with the Bar X A Bazillion.

The other problem is that we are an instant gratification society.  I think the internet and DSL has magnified that trait in all of us.  If you click on theLINK below this paragraph and it doesn’t load in milliseconds then it is taking too long.  It is frightening that people expect the same thing in the gym.  They are always looking for that “quick fix”.  They want the instant results.  And unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way.  The problem with wanting results instantly is that not only is it unrealistic, but it is also very short sighted.  When it comes to fitness, many people can’t see past the end of their nose.

That’s the difference between working out and training.  I would like to think that the people reading this site train.  Training is focused, has specific goals and a plan to get there.  Take a closer look at the people “working out”.  They rarely make progress, and look exactly the same year after year.  Is that really what you want?!  Check out these tips to make sure you are training, rather than working out.

5 Tips to Stop Working Out and Start Training:

  1. Don’t worry about what other people at the gym think.
  2. Set long and short term goals.
  3. Learn proper exercise technique, don’t ask “some guy” at the gym.
  4. Give yourself enough time to reach your goals.
  5. Stop looking for shortcuts, and realize it takes hard work.

These are really basic tips.  I know there is nothing earthshaking here.  However, if you aren’t already doing these five things, following them would make a huge difference in your progress.  And that’s what it’s all about…PROGRESS!!  Don’t just go to the gym to workout, mindlessly going through the motions.  Put in the effort that demands results from your body, and if you aren’t making progress change something.  Otherwise, why bother?!

If you are interested in how to warm up correctly, you should check out, “The Complete Dynamic Warm Up” by Jeremy Boyle

dynamic warmup

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Don Johnson

Head Strength Coach at Mammoth Strength
Don is the founder and Head Strength Coach at Mammoth Strength. His strength and conditioning facility specializes in small group athletic training for serious athletes from Junior High School to Professional Ranks in all sports...as well as men and women of all ages looking to shred pounds of fat and get extremely fit.

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