I can’t stop, won’t stop, being flabbergasted at things I see at the gym.
Like, in one day, I can find ten things to complain about. And that’s not even counting Spin class, since I felt the need to expound on the problems for an entire blog post.
But yeah. I see things. I know things.
First of all, it’s 2013. If you haven’t gotten the memo that you need to rest body parts in between strength training, I give up.
I know, I know. You do it anyway and you get some results and so you think, huh, it must not be so bad. Plus, working out is good, and more is good, so more working out is always good? Logic fail.
But listen: you’re comparing doing this sub-optimally with being sedentary, not doing things sub-optimally and doing them optimally.
In other words, you’re sub-optimal. If you don’t give your muscles enough time to regenerate and regrow, larger and stronger, you’re missing the point (and your own potential).
Which brings me to the second cardinal mistake: copying what the fitness instructors do. Yes, they are skinny and toned. They probably don’t even eat, and some most likely have exercise and eating issues. Don’t look at them teaching four sculpt classes four days in a row and think that means you should do it too.
You are not them. They are not you. They are doing it for work (or eating disorders) and they may be lifting lighter than they would otherwise to get through another class. Left to their own devices they’d probably lift heavier and then rest in between. The ones who look super strong and fit? They are doing other things than what they are telling you to do in their class (lift eight pounds a million times). They are telling you that because the class is geared toward the middle common denominator. If they want to get stronger, they lift heavier in the weight room. Come to the weight room. You will even SEE them there.
So stop copying them. Don’t do two classes two days in a row with lower body strength exercises. That makes no sense. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Do you. You with rest days.
Now, don’t worry. I will pick on the instructors as well.
My biggest criticism is that they constantly assume everyone at the gym must, by definition, have a disordered relationship with food.
No. Girl, no. “We just burned 600 calories, now we can all go home and eat a sliver of pie since it’s a holiday! Yay!”
I was going to eat several slices of pie, anyway, whether I worked our or not, and even on non-holiday days as well. Don’t speak for me.
I like to eat, and I like life, and enjoying myself, and to get even more radical about this, I don’t even work out to change how I look. I work out because I like it and I want to get better at shit I do.
Speaking of calories, really? You use calories to see how hard you’re working? I could walk all day and burn a shit-ton of calories. Do you think that will make me look or feel or be fit?
No. It’s like when people think sweating automatically means intense aerobic exertion. I could work up a sweat waving my hands in the air. Not a good workout. I can get sweaty if I feel embarrassed. Embarrassment is not a cardiovascular training tool.
I know I talked about Spin class ad nauseum already, but listen, spinning in second or third gear may SEEM harder, because you’re bouncing around and you may even sweat, but no. You are not working as hard as sitting down and adding gear. Aren’t we trying to simulate riding bikes and not elliptical machines?
Other things that seem like good ideas but actually aren’t: the negative weight pull-up machine. I used to use this, then did some research and figured out why it wasn’t helping me do an actual pull-up after months of using it. It doesn’t use the right muscles. To do things you have to actually do them (shocking right?) So what do you do if you can’t do a pull-up?
You do negatives. Get a chair, use it to get to the top, then slowly control your descent. x30.
Seated adductor and abductor machines.
Since I’ve been ranting a lot about what not to do, I will be fair and post some things I actually do.
Am I a bitch or what? Disclaimer: I am not a licensed physical trainer or doctor, I just play someone who’s smart in my every day life.