Monday, November 29, 2010

Common Gym Mistakes

Working in a commercial gym for over a year now I have seen some good things but a lot more of the bad. So many people have trouble with creating an effective workout plan and sticking to it. I have seen people come and go, crazy antics, and daily members who are yet to see a single result. I want to share some of the common mistakes I have seen and how to correct these.

1. Consistency
This is the biggest aspect of creating results. From nutrition to the workout, if you aren't doing in consistently then you're not going to get where you want to go. Too many times I see people who make their way into the gym 5 days one week and then maybe once the next three weeks. You can't just work out when you feel like it. Whether you are on a 3-day plan, a 5-day plan, or 7-day plan, you have to stay consistent. Create goals of not missing a workout, not missing a set, and not missing a meal. Make your workout realistic though. If you can only get into the gym 3 days a week then make a 3-day program and stick to it. Make the most out of what time you can get and stay strong with it. If you are not consistent, you will not achieve the goals you are after.

2. Balance
I have touched on this topic many times before and I will continue to do so because it continues to be a huge problem. There is no balance in the majority of the gym and in every day life. I stress to my clients the importance of balance because today's society is front side dominant. Everything takes place in front of us. Forward head posture, slouching, and internally rotated shoulders are all too common because of desk jobs, computers, and just plain laziness. The problem becomes worse when people go to the gym and repeat sets of bench press, crunches, and bench press all week long. Everyone wants a six pack and a big chest. That's what we see from the front. The problem is, repetitive movements like these that just exacerbate our poor posture will create worse posture and lead to so many pains and problems. Start focusing on the back side. Work the butt, lower back, and upper back. Start doing double the amount of rowing movements compared to pressing movements. Work on full core exercises such as planks instead of abdominal based exercises like crunches and sit-ups. Improved posture will improve aesthetics. Pull the shoulders back and you will instantly look broader, bigger, and more athletic. For females, improving posture will make the waist look slimmer and the chest stand up. Focus on the weak links first.

3. Too Much Cardio
This plays off of the balance issue. Every day I see hundreds of people come into the gym, go straight to the treadmill or elliptical, spend an hour there, and leave. These same people never touch a weight and never see the body they want. Whether you are male or female, you cannot just do cardio. Even if your only goal is to lose weight, you need weight training as well. Cardio alone will burn some calories but will not build the muscle we need to boost metabolism, nor will it create the shapely bodies we all want. If you think about it from an aesthetics point of view, take a long distance runner. These people are very thin with no real shape to their body. Take a female soccer player, much more curvy, yet still thin and "toned". The soccer player has much more strength based demands in their sport when compared to a long distance runner who is strictly aerobic. So when you go to the gym, cut the cardio in half and add weight training. Free weights and full body workouts would be my suggestion. But make sure you get some help on creating a program and you're not just wondering around the gym doing this or that with no real rhyme or reason.

Later this week I will give a second list of mistakes that involve more nutrition and psychology.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Call Me a Slacker

Once again I have let a month go by without a single post. For that I apologize. Hear me out though. Over the past month we have been doing a lot of work around BodyQuest. We have done a lot of construction from tearing down old walls to putting up new ones and a lot of painting and cleaning in between. Along with all of that we are still training clients. Today as I type this our brand new equipment is being installed. We will now have a power rack, cable crossover, lat pull/seated row, dumbbell rack, glut ham raise, and a couple free benches. It is going to be a whole new look around here. In about 2 weeks we will be having our grand opening party to welcome everyone to the new and improved BodyQuest. Anyone interested in coming by to check it out leave me a comment and we will welcome you on over.

As for myself, besides training and getting this place fixed up, my training is a little more minimalistic right now. I have been focusing a lot on correcting a lot of issues I have been dealing with over the past few years. My hips and shoulders are very tight and my range of motion has been somewhat restricted on certain movements. Therefore the past two months have been focused more on soft tissue work and mobility training. I have still incorporated strength training into my weekly workouts but it has been more focused on movement versus amount of weight lifted. I am working up to January where I hope to have many of my issues improved if not resolved. At that point I will be phasing back into strength training working on building up maximal strength once again. This whole experience has been hard yet humbling. Everyone always wants to do the show workouts where large amounts of weight is moved around or muscle volume is being built and this is where the problems are created. We have to remember to take care of the small things such as movement, endurance, and tissue quality so that the more exciting things like maximal lifts can be performed properly and even improved more efficiently. It's not always fun to take care of the small things but it is definitely a must.