“You Limit Yourself By Having Low Expectations.”

A friend of mine at the gym at school got sponsored not too long ago.  He does physique stuff (hasn’t actually competed, but is still jacked enough to pick up a sponsorship.  Pretty legit), so we come to a discussion with totally different paradigms.  He has helped me a lot with “feeling” muscles that don’t seem to want to fire properly, and I help him with approaching strength-based programming.  It’s a surprisingly productive relationship for a commercial gym.

Source: “Strong” Is Determined By the Size of Your Pond

I have my own personal goals that are much less open ended than being strong. I specifically want to be able to do certain things and feel a certain way. I do not understand this open ended quest to be “strong”. Strength without purpose to me seems like a potential waste of time and possible injuries.

Heck, I don’t get any open ended goal. It’s kinda like just saying I want to be rich. I don’t. I want to be secure, with a house paid off in 15 years, and the ability to at least have the option of only working part time. Just chasing an idea of rich is going to cause some unneeded sacrifices and perhaps even lose some great opportunities because I didn’t understand what risks I could take, trying to sock away money with no real end goal.

And also, I don’t worry about others and what they’re doing because their needs and life path are not mine. I only worry about how I’m achieving my goals and if I’m doing my best to get to those goals. And also throwing in there reflection time to re evaluate those goals, for wants and needs change over time, you need time to think and make sure yesterday’s goal is still today’s goal.

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Spruce Up Your Home Gym With Mirrors and Good Lighting

A home gym can definitely push you to achieve your workout goals—who doesn’t love the idea of getting in a quick jog while you wait for dinner to cook? When it’s that easy, your workouts will practically do themselves, right?

In practice, however, a home workout space presents some design challenges that can weigh down your workouts—literally. A cramped, expensive or dim room doesn’t exactly spur on a flurry of fitness, especially when it’s relegated to a tiny, untended corner of your home. But unlike getting fit, there’s an easy and quick solution here. Most home gym problems can be fixed through a few minor adjustments, which will put the spring back in your stride.

Source: 5 Sneaky Design Tips to Improve Your Home Gym

For the authentic gym atmosphere, add the soundtrack of  grunting of a muscle-bound lunker in a lift belt, dropping weights at the end of each set. Bonus if he’s constantly suggesting corrections to your form.

Kidding aside, mirrors trick into looking like there’s more space.  But they are also a great tool for self assessment and correction, once you get past being self-conscious.

The Best Cheap or Free Places to Get a Great Workout

If paying for a standard gym membership just doesn’t fit your budget, there are plenty of low-cost, or even free, options that offer effective ways to work out. From public or non-profit fitness centers to bodyweight exercises in the playground, you can get a great workout without the membership fees.

Source: The Best Cheap or Free Places to Get a Great Workout

Too self-conscious for the gym?  Don’t be, there are always people more ridiculous than you at the gym. Such as the dudes that wear air depriving masks and look like Bane. Or the people that twerk during cycle classes…

Try “Micro Changes” in the Gym For Big Results

If you’ve been benching the same weight for months and feel like you’re still not ready to move up, you might be tempted to ditch the exercise entirely and do something different. Instead, all you may need is to make a small adjustment—like a change in your grip or stance. You never know when a “micro change” could make all the difference to get things going again.

Source: Try “Micro Changes” in the Gym For Big Results

This is where it really pays to have someone looking at your form.  That used to mean being onhand… I spoke with a high level coach recently about how the technology has revolutionized her ability to provide feedback to clients because she can now have them upload footage for her to review on her time.  I remember how self conscious I felt being in front of large mirrors, but once I got over the anxiety I found them to be an excellent tool.

Please Stop Bumping Uglies at the Gym, Ok?

Welp, looks like there’s another benefit to going to the gym. Nearly 25 percent of British gym-goers have had sex at their place of fitness, according to a recent survey.

More than half of those surveyed said they’ve used the gym as a place to hook up, while 10 percent said they stash a condom in their gym bag.

Source: A Ridiculous Number Of People Are Having Sex At The Gym

I admire those of you who can regard yourselves as erotic hotshots post-workout. Personally, I look like a reddened, hunched over ghoul. I won’t even make eye contact with you unless you’re handing me ice water or rescuing me from whatever machine has imprisoned me that day due to my grievous misinterpretation of it.

In any case, be careful out there, lovers. At least wear your shower shoes.

Why Finding the Right Gym Culture Makes You Stick to Your Workouts

The equipment in your gym doesn’t matter.

Sorry bro, but your favorite squat rack, sled, barbell, and battling rope are mere accessories to the one thing that every great gym has.

It’s that secret sauce that turns a gym into the gym. 

I’m talking about gym culture. 

Source: From Gold’s to Planet Fitness: Importance of Gym Culture

Your gym culture can often make or break your fitness experience, so it’s important that you go to one that suits you. There’s a reason CrossFit appeals to so many fitness first-timers and veterans alike: It’s more of a community than it is a place where you splash around in a puddle of your own sweat.

Why It’s Dangerous to Ask a Stranger For a Spot

It makes no sense to ask just anyone to spot for a bench press, as athletes of all types increasingly hit weight rooms…

Source: A Risky Weightlifting Courtesy: Spotting For a Bench Press

It’s also important to learn how to fail safely way before you get to the point of failing. Knowing what it feels like to dump a squat on the safety bars will make it much safer when you have to do it for real. Same with not putting collars on your bench bar so you can dump the weights off to the side. Will it make a loud noise and will you feel like a fool? Absolutely. Better than serious injury or death!

More Weight or More Reps: Which Should I Focus On First?

By the time you need to think about adding more weight or the number of reps, you’ve figured out that your body has adapted to what those in fitness circles call your current “training stimulus”—in other words, you’ve made progress! Unfortunately, as you know, the journey to strength isn’t a nonstop flight to funky town.

Source: More Weight or More Reps: Which Should I Focus On First?

Start out with low reps (but also low weights as well) for a month to focus on technique. I have found that sometimes with high reps, fatigue sets in and form breaks down… People tend to brute force the weight up instead. After the initial learning month, I agree that working on higher reps is safer for most people, but there comes a point that weight must be increased for more stimulus and adaptation.

At the end of the day it really is the long-term view that your coach or trainer is providing. Are they managing your total training volume vs. recovery appropriately? A good trainer will have a road map laid out for progress. This is a good question to ask about when vetting a trainer or coach!

How to Work Out When the Gym Is Crowded

It’s the least wonderful time of the year to get a peaceful workout. Throngs of eager exercisers will fill the nation’s gyms this week to work on their resolutions. Whether you’re one of the newbies or just a regular trying to get your scheduled sweat on, here’s how to deal with, or ditch, the crowds.

Source: How to Work Out When the Gym Is Crowded

Related read: 10 Rules for Gym Etiquette

That said, tough it out.  People start dropping off as early as mid January.  By February, most are gone.

It’s also good to know how to do the same exercise with different equipment: like a machine, barbell, and dumbbell version of bench press for example.  This way, you can still do your exercise if your first choice of equipment isn’t available.

Gym Wildlife

They forgot about the hunter-gatherer that piles dumbbells while alternating between four sets of different weights, hoarding them all.  But the video didn’t mention my people: Awkwardly looking around trying to find an exercise that I know how to do and isn’t crowded …but eventually settling by doing a set of curls and then going home.

Funny thing is, each of those things you see are based on a real story or video…

Worth a read: 10 rules for gym etiquette.

They start mentioning the New Years Resolution’ers (NYRs), but stop short of mentioning the fact the NYR reality.  Room capacity would be pushed to the limit, and gradually fall off as it got closer to February.  I’m with Terry Crews – think of the gym as being a spa.  Know the tricks gyms use to get you to buy a membership.