Ego vs. Form
Hi, my name is Nathan Brearley. I’m 21 years old, a qualified personal trainer, nutritionist and owner of my business Brio Fitness & Nutrition. My goal is to provide readers with correct, non biased information about different topics of the fitness lifestyle. This can be anything from the food you eat to the different ways to get pumped up before and during your session.
Of course, if anyone has any questions they would like answered about anything fitness related then you can contact me at Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or via Athletes Fuel. If there are any constructive comments that you feel would help my articles then feel free to email me via the same address, including the article title in the ‘Subject’ box and leaving your name at the end of the email. If you feel the need to post anything offensive then do not expect a reply : )
Now that’s done, time for my first article!
Whenever I’ve entered a big gym it’s always been the same scenario; the gym has been split into 4 sections; Cardio, machine weights, free weight and an abs section. These areas also have their own split or sub-category of people.
Today I’ll be focussing on the free weights area and its various individuals that enter each day. Before you’ve even approached this dungeon of iron, you will be able to hear the distinct roar of this beast over any 1000lb barbell smashing down on the ground. That’s right I’m talking about The Screamer, this is the one that no matter what weight or amount of strain he’s under there will always be a grunt for each rep of each set. The one where turning your headphones up to 11 will still be a mere whisper to the loud cry of this being.
Of course there are the guys that stick their headphones in and get on with what they came to do, not striking conversation with anyone and if one is started by someone, it’s made clear that his entire workout and possibly his day has been ruined. Hmmm, when I think about it… That’s me!
There are plenty of different types of guys that use the free weights area but for now I’ll be focussing on The EGO Heavy or Go Home-ers. Now this article isn’t to have a pop or to make fun of these guys. This is a constructive blog that will hopefully help all these guys out there that know they lift way too much weight for their own good, but can’t face taking a plate or seven off that bar! I know that it makes you feel good to lift more than the guy next to you, no matter his size, but I am begging you from first-hand experience that it’s not worth it! If you’re one of these guys you’re probably thinking “But if I can lift it, pull it or press it then why shouldn’t I do it… to the MAX?!” I’m not telling you to not push yourself for each workout; in fact I encourage you to. But if you’re doing a certain exercise correctly you will still have to push yourself as much, if not more with half the weight than doing it the way you’re doing it now.
I know that a lot of people go into the gym thinking that the way to get big is to grab the heaviest weight they can lift and press it above their head or lift it off the floor as much as possible. But lifting weights is a very scientific method of movement that takes years of practice to perfect. So anyone that is new to lifting should definitely not be embarrassed to ask someone with more experience if their form is correct or if they could show them the correct way to perform a certain exercise.
There are many ways to find out if you’re performing exercises with correct form, i.e. breathing correctly, having proper posture, keeping your core tight, feet facing a certain way, the list goes on! The way I improved my technique was from the help of a variety of resources; my first insight of proper form was reading muscle magazines, looking through each article and photographic demonstration and memorising each phase of that specific exercise. This was a great way to start me off with a visualisation in my head of how it should look. After that I would look in the mirror, comparing the arch in my back with the model’s in the magazine. But I knew that there were clearer explanations. This is where the internet came in. The internet provides thousands of videos demonstrating exercises, step by step, sometimes with a famous bodybuilder or fitness model performing them for you. Beyond that, you can go into a gym and personally ask someone. Although you may feel embarrassed at first, this is a completely appropriate question to ask as it shows that you are someone who cares about their health and doesn’t want to sacrifice their future to impress their friends or satisfy their ego. Going against my previous statement that I’m extremely anti-social in the gym, I welcome questions from anyone in the gym about exercises, nutrition and general fitness as I know how complex each element is. The best way I’ve found to get a real in depth description, demonstration and to be given a complete breakdown of what muscles it works, why and anything else that you might need answering, is to get a personal trainer. Even if it is for a few sessions to help you get a full understanding of exercises and to start you off with correct form, instead of most definitely incurring an injury 6-12 months in that could potentially damage not only your lifting for years to come but your day to day life in general.
So before you go into the gym next, get into the mindset that the weight on the bar isn’t everything. Please take the time to analyse yourself, check your form in the mirror, look through videos and ask for advice. I encourage you to do whatever it takes to have a long, enjoyable, injury-free life inside the gym and outside of it.