Today’s post is inspired by a small interaction I had with a bold young gentlemen at the gym last week - so kudos to you, inspiring stuff.
I tend to keep to myself when I train. I spend quite a bit of time in various gym settings as part of my job, so when I train myself I try and get in and out pretty quickly (particularly if I am training by myself). I don’t like interrupting others, and while I am perfectly happy to offer advice or help if someone asks, I certainly don’t dish it out without an invitation.
Anyhow, back to this small interaction.
I was half way through my third (or fourth?) set of Bulgarian split squats (and to be completely honest, I was not having a great time at this point) when a young man wearing jeans, a snap back cap (Miami dolphins I believe), and a stringlet thought it would be appropriate to interrupt me - mid set - to tell me that I was performing the movement incorrectly.
He quite cheerfully told me that my knee was coming beyond my toes, which would undoubtedly result in a serious knee injury.
While I politely thanked the the gentlemen for his overwhelming concern, completed my set and then re-racked the dumbbells, I really started thinking.
Some people think that they are doing the right thing by giving some advice. They truly believe it will be beneficial (even if that advice is…. well, outdated misinformation - my knees will be fine...) .
But here’s the thing.
You see, the gym can be an intimidating place.
And while for most of us who have been training for a decent amount of time it certainly doesn’t feel that way now, if we look back to our first month at the gym I can guarantee at one point or another it did.
Just imagine someone who has been coming to the gym for a couple of weeks.
They have been spending majority of their time in the cardio area, working up a solid sweat, but want to make the transition to the weight room. They know that lifting weights can have some serious benefits, and realize that they should start implementing it into their own training.
But, the kicker?
There is a bunch of big, sweaty, meatheads over there.
Now I am not saying for a second that there is anything wrong with being a big, sweaty meathead. Or that any of these big sweaty meatheads are not lovely people in their own right.
What I am saying is that these big, sweaty meatheads may appear somewhat intimidating to any individual who does not know them personally.
But, despite the people over there, this person knows that lifting weights is important. Not only to help them lose weight, but to improve their health as well.
So they go into the weights room with a pretty solid beginners program they got off the internet, and start training.
And then, a few minutes into their session, some peanut wearing jeans and a stringlet comes over and tells them that they are performing a movement incorrectly.
They are shattered.
They feel embarrassed that they have been performing a movement ‘wrong’ the entire time they were in the weights room.
As a result, they associate lifting weights with feelings of embarrassment and intimidation.
They stop using the weights room.
Now, this person had literally made a huge step in the right direction for their health. Who cares if they weren’t performing a movement perfectly?
Once someone becomes more comfortable in that setting they will ask for advice, whether it be from a gym goer or a personal trainer (it does not really matter).
It is much more important that actually get in there and train than perform every movement perfectly.
So the next time you’re in the gym and see someone performing a squat with limited range, or a slightly ugly pull down, maybe take a quick second to think about where they have come from, and probably keep your advice to yourself – if they want advice they will ask.