Local fitness enthusiast, S. Fincter, claims not to have heard anything, but since he was wearing headphones at the time, he can neither confirm nor deny the occurrence of an audible flatus.
It may or may not have happened during the last rep of a heavy squat when things got a little “loose and dark.” Mr. Fincter does acknowledge that his belt felt extra tight today likely due to the double meat burrito he consumed prior to the training session in question.
While racking the barbell, he was able to survey the scarcely populated weight room and found, to his relief, that the hot girl in the shorts was also wearing headphones.
Upon returning to his bench to rest, Fincter caught a hint of an odor that could be linked to the digestion of a one Barbacoa meat burrito. Local experts have been notified.
Sources have since informed us that Fincter has reduced the weight on the barbell, taken one trip to the restroom, and is currently pacing around the squat rack performing moderate head-banging and stealing occasional glimpses of himself in the mirror.
Feeling tired from work? Just show up.
Not sure you’ll hit your target weights? Just show up.
Tweaked your knee last time? Just show up.
Your usual lifting partner can’t make it? You can still show up.
You literally can’t even because you drank all the PSL’s lololol? JUST SHOW UP.
The simple act of getting to the gym may be one of the most common underlying good habits of lifters you look up to. These men and women who have become stronger and stronger over many years show up.
Change isn’t something we can expect to occur through prayer and wishes or inspirational Instagram posts; there need to be actionable steps. As much as you want to become stronger or change the way you look, nothing will happen if you don’t engage the process routinely. The first step of this process is walking through the gym door. This step becomes habit – it becomes elemental to the force that drives adaptation.
It’s simple: you can’t train if you don’t show up. It’s the most important component of any pre-workout blend.
Many of us tend to rely on the gym, or the squat cage in the garage, to be a place of solace and it typically lives up to these expectations. But just like there are great days which reinforce this comfort, there are also bad days in training which shake it. These bad days aren’t the fault of the gym and the fact that you still came in and did some work, even if things didn’t go as planned, strengthened your habit. Just let the gym be the place where you practice your habit. Make your habit unshakable, even if that means adjusting your expectations for now.
There are certainly times when you should probably let yourself of the hook. For example, don’t show up when you have Ebola. But for many other situations, rather than blowing off a whole training session, simply modify the session.
If you’re dealing with an injury, use the session to feel things out. Sometimes the aggravated area can feel better with the scheduled exercise at a reduced volume or intensity. If that’s a no-go, I bet there are one or two things you can still do, even if they aren’t typically in your program. Show up and try it out.
What if you’re not sure you’ll hit your target weights? TOO BAD. This is absolutely no excuse to do zero weights instead. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t hit your weights, but you certainly deserve a chance and you may even surprise yourself with a PR.
And on those days when spending two hours at the gym is just not something you can handle, go and do your warm-ups. Show up and do something you know you can handle. See what happens. Maybe you’ll be ready to do your worksets after you get through the first two empty bar sets. Often, these turn out to be great training days.
If you’re extremely short on time or one vacation, maybe you’ll have to modify quite a bit and revert to bodyweight exercises or running intervals, but at least you’re doing something regularly. When you return you’ll be less likely to delay “the comeback” and maybe have maintained some conditioning to make it less difficult.
Literally stepping into the gym routinely, especially on days when you do not want to, may be the simplest thing you can do establish the pathway for progress. You can bet you won’t regret it when you look back months and years from now.
After an epic training session earlier this evening, area female Mel Dewmino returned home to scroll through her 47 minutes of training footage only to find a complete and total lack of any #peachgang-worthy videos or still shots.
“I’m stunned,” Mel states taking a break to speak between sips of her kale smoothie beverage laced with protein powder, “I did squats AND double-unders!”
Miss Dewmino has an impressive social media following through which she provides inspiration and motivation to others on a fitness quest through training videos, honest and emotionally compelling selfies, and shout-outs to athletic apparel companies.
“Videos of Double-unders are usually good to post because it allows my followers to see my agility as an athlete,” Mel reports, “a side of me that is really inspired. And I have nice calves.”
Fitness is a huge part of Mel’s life despite the struggles of being a young woman in a testosterone-filled jungle that is the weight room. She wishes she could just lift in peace without constant harassment.
When asked how she’s going to bounce back from this, Mel stated that she’ll post a “powerful” quote about strength, independence and freedom from judgement. She’s grateful to have RDLs programmed for training tomorrow.
Mel explained to us that she performs RDL, or Romanian Deadlifts, to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. Upon seeing a demonstration of the movement, it would seem this exercise could be easily mistaken by innocent bystanders as permission to look into one’s soul via the anus.
Mel can be followed on Instagram as @shakes_and_shorts_XOXO.
It’s not hard to become a trainer. I know, because I shouldn’t have been one.
I started training people in 2009 and had absolutely no business doing it. At that point I had an educational and professional background in Construction Management and an exercise (not training) background in cardio bunny-ing, yoga, step class, shallow knee bends with a barbell and on a leg press machine and an extreme, yet unrequited, dedication to the good-girl/bad-girl machines.
About a year before I started training people, I was introduced to barbell training. I did not do it consistently. I was not serious about it. I still frequented my globo-gym buffet of exercises. A skinny-fat, aimlessly eager girl. (Sounds like a Friday night on Tinder, amiright??)
Not long after meeting the barbell, I started CrossFit and in less than a year I was “coaching” people. I do not recall learning about the General Adaptation Syndrome and how it pertains to training and I had very limited experience with performing or teaching the barbell movements with an actual barbell, but I was hella decent at instructing a clean with a medicine ball.
So, here I was with a certificate from a weekend course that didn’t even require an exam, instructing people on how to move weights and themselves under varying levels of fatigue, hoping to not give them rhabdo yet also expecting of them to work hard enough to puke.
Since I had such little valid experience, what did I fall-back on while coaching? Emotions. I cheered for people. I wanted them to feel good about what they were doing in the moment. I knew that CrossFit was supposed to be hard, so since I couldn’t provide anything useful for how they were moving, I encouraged them to do whatever the hell they were doing HARDER, FASTER, STRONGER, with MOAR CHALK and MOAR BLOOD, for their families, for kittens, and for Jesus ‘Merica Christ!
And when they were done, I lied to them. I said “Great job!” A year later I opened up a CrossFit gym.
During that time when I co-owned that gym, I went on to get a training certificate from ACE, attended the CrossFit Level 2 and the Catalyst Athletics seminar and then FINALLY read Starting Strength. Later, in 2013, I attended the Starting Strength Seminar and subsequently became a coach, which was a lot more intensive of a process than any other training credential I had been exposed to. You can read about it here. (The linked article describes a “Level II” seminar, which is now the Complete Method seminar during which an attendee can opt-in for the coaching credential.)
It wasn’t until I became a Starting Strength Coach that I fully appreciated what should be expected of a Coach and have consequently built a much more complex and diverse arsenal for teaching than just emotional appeal.
I do not think my early history as a trainer is unique. Perhaps your trainer started with a different series of letters after their name or had an educational background in an exercise-related field, but when this (see below) is the extent of the deadlift teaching model by the most recognized strength and conditioning trainer certification, CSCS, we got 99 problems…and probably more.
During these first couple of years as a trainer and gym owner, I was a classic example of the know-it-all of the Dunning-Kruger effect. My poor sister was always getting an earful of the new best functional fitness sermon. I knew everything and I wouldn’t shut-up about it. And thank you “Facebook Memories” for these reminders.
Back then I would hardly question the “why” behind articles or methods or programs, but now I am a skeptic and whether you are a coach or a student, you should be one, too.
Understanding the “why” is extremely important. It’s how we fix what’s going wrong with a lift or our progress. It’s how you can sift through all the fitness propaganda bullshit that pervades the internet and your social media. It’s how you can stop spending money at GNC on whale sperm extract that’s been collected and bro-ified to scorch body fat AND increase muscle size and power optimization. It’s what really separates a “Coach” from a “Trainer”.
A Coach uses a model to provide feedback while a Trainer lacks a guide for analysis. A Coach is interested in and capable of developing and teaching you. A Trainer is interested in making you feel the burn and will cheer for you rather than providing constructive feedback for sustained progress. A Coach isn’t going to watch you squat a weight PR 1” high and lie to you by saying, “Great job!”
Your coach should understand the principle of Stress and Recovery to drive Adaptation rather than solely rely on what champions are doing. There are thousands of programs on the internets and many ways to go about getting stronger, but even if the program has proven its worth for some, it may not be right for you right now. Swipe left.
When you pay another person to help you with your training, you deserve a Coach. You deserve a person who is not going to let you get away with silly bullshit and will do more for you than be a shirtless, cheerleading DJ. A Coach doesn’t care much for your feelings, we’re mean that way. We care about making you stronger by doing things correctly and systematically by giving you properly timed cues and explanations, and keeping your long-term development in mind.
While it’s our job to communicate with you, we also know when it’s time to step back and shut the hell up. There will be times during a lift when you just need to lift, you don’t need noise. And unless we’re specifically coaching your depth or timing, you don’t need to be told to go “UP!” Like, no shit, that’s what you’re trying to do.
On the subject of over-involved coaching, I see “coaches” touching bars for all over Instagram and Facebook. When someone touches your weight, it’s no longer your weight because they’ve interfered with your bar path and taken weight off the bar. This person has stolen your rep; THESE REPS DON’T COUNT. Best to stop giving this person your money and your reps.
So you go to a gym with a class format? You still deserve to be cued on how to move better, not just faster. Too many times, even in recent history, have I been lifting at a CrossFit gym and witnessed participants either plummeting to the bottom of a squat, not breaking depth or lifting in complete flexion and instead of the “coach” providing any valuable feedback on improving ANYTHING, the lifter receives time call-outs. There are surely great coaches in the CF community, go to those gyms and get your money’s worth.
Here’s a quick guide you can use the next time you’re working with the person you’re paying to train you for strength, see which category he or she fits into during these scenarios:
|What you hear when you’re squatting:||Depends on what, if anything, needs to be fixed.||“DOWN DOWN DOWN!! UP!! UP!! UP!! UP!!”|
|What you hear when you’re deadlifting:||Depends on what, if anything, needs to be fixed.||“UP!!!” Or “UP!!!!”|
|What you hear when you’re benching:||Depends on what, if anything, needs to be fixed.||“UP!!!” Or “PRESS!!!”|
|What you’re told at the end of a session:||“Remember to eat and sleep so you can go up in weight next time.”||“Follow me on instagram.” “LIKE!!!!” “Excellent job!”
“Which training package would you like to purchase?”
|When you ask, “Should I switch to sumo?”:||“Let’s see if your hips are higher than your shoulders in a conventional set-up.”||“Yes, because it’s more athletic.”|
|When you text and say, “I’m going to train for a marathon!”:||“RIP gainzzz.”||“ Great! Time for you to lean out, anyway. ”|
As a consumer, it’s difficult to know which gym or trainer is better than the other, especially when we cannot rely on the top certifying agencies to properly teach instruction of barbell movements. Nearly anyone who can pay the money for a weekend certification can open up a gym, remember, I was this person!
Find a coach that has experience training themselves and others, uses a model for instruction and analysis, and calls you out on silly bullshit even at the risk of not getting your money. Remember to be a skeptic and don’t fall for sensational appeal, it’s the push-up bra of the fitness coaching industry and the results you get from that kind of basic shit won’t last.
1. You have to take responsibility for your training.
When it comes down to it, no one really cares about your training but you. And it doesn’t matter how many Instagram “likes” you get; you need to train for you.
I encourage you to find a coach who can properly teach you how to lift and can answer your questions, of which you should have thousands. Don’t rely on the goddam internet to coach you, you’ll end up attempting 1 Rep Max sumo deadlifts after 6 months of training, ugh.
Even if you have a coach, just showing up to the gym isn’t enough. Be ready to work and keep a log to monitor your progress. Logs are a great tool to use to watch for trends and are great to look back on year after year especially after you’ve made it to 500lb Squat Land. The longer you lift, the more you learn about how you respond to training. Tracking your data and training feels can help you be a more productive lifter.
2. You have to make sacrifices.
Before every PR attempt, you’ll need to sacrifice a virgin. Good luck finding one of those nowadays.
Progress in training is an adaptation. This happens when enough stress has been applied and an adequate amount of recovery has occurred. For a novice, this cycle takes about 24-72 hours, the more advanced a lifter gets the longer the cycle takes, ranging from weeks to months.
Applying the stress (lifting the weights) has its own difficulties, but for many reasons, the recovery aspect can be a lot more challenging. Basically you work for 1.5-2.5 hours training and then you have up to 72 hours of opportunities to screw yourself over.
Recovering from lifting makes you stronger. To recover you need to eat, sleep and do the best you can manage stress.
Stress management does NOT involve getting shit-housed and crushing pussy every other night. Pussy-crushing aside, limiting booze intake gets to be pretty important and is one of the toughest things a new lifter has to learn. I train a lot of 20-30 year old men and women with no kids in a city where a lot of socializing occurs in bars and around booze.
I know which clients choke down another chicken breast and get 8 hours of sleep and which ones choke down Jameson. You’ll decide what’s important to you and it’ll show in how long you are able to keep adding weight to the bar.
Not ready to give it up? Here’s a dose of cold, hard science on “Booze and Barbells” from Jordan Feigenbaum.
Now, with that said, you don’t have to quit having a social life, like we need to make dating more disappointing, or avoid family gatherings. Finding a balance is possible as your priorities shift through the year and through your training.
3. You’re going to have to fix your shit.
Especially if you train on your own, picking up bad habits and form creep happens.
A good rule, if not THE rule, for getting stronger is to lift using the most amount of muscle possible over the most effective range of motion with the most weight possible. When your form breaks down, you are likely sacrificing one of these criteria. Obvious examples are range of motion shortcuts, such as a “high” squat, when you stand up before your hip crease passes below the top of your knee cap, or you bench press without touching the bar to your chest or you pull sumo.
While shortcuts may get an extra rep or a few more pounds on the bar, you’ve robbed yourself of the training effect that “the rule” provides and it’s going to hold you back in the long run.
Fixing shit can be hard and takes a lot of focus. For longer than I’d like to admit, during a heavy squat or during my last rep of a set when I was tired I would raise my chest and let my knees cave in. This would kill my hip drive, which means I wasn’t able to use the most amount of muscle possible. My squat was stuck for MONTHS. The cue that works for me is so simple,”DON’T RAISE YOUR g*****m CHEST you m**********r” (the expletives tend to vary) but it takes a lot of focus to execute that. For every inch on the way up, I have to recommit to staying in my hips.
When addressing form creep, you may need to take some weight off the bar and you’re going to have to focus on keeping that creepy form out of your reps. During these “fixing shit” reps, when it gets a difficult, you HAVE TO DO IT RIGHT. Yes, it’s going to be harder than what you were used to and yes, it may slow you down a bit but you’re setting yourself up to be capable of more, which is what training is about.
4. You’re going to deal with an injury.
Training occasionally involves pushing beyond limits. While you do your best to keep your back tight, drive your knees out and protect your shoulders, you’re probably going to fail at some point and you may get hurt.
There’s an unfortunate stigma that lifting weights is dangerous. There are many circumstances that can make this stigma true, such as poor form, improper loading and training in unsafe environments with faulty equipment, but the sport itself is relatively very safe. More of my clients get injured from running, sitting or sleeping than lifting.
While an injury or bout of tendonitis may be a set-back, it is certainly not a good enough reason to skip the gym and give up on being strong. Even if you only train the Big 5 lifts, get creative with them when the situation calls for it.
Focus on what you CAN do. Change the positions (switch to a box squat), equipment (use dumbbells), range of motion (do a rack pull), number of reps, etc. There are tons of ways to augment your training. You’re not dead yet, so stay positive and get your butt to the gym.
5. You’re going to miss reps.
Progress isn’t always linear; it won’t always be a pretty, sunny, straight line up to 500lb Squat Land.
You’re not a complete and total failure when you miss a rep, unless maybe you are because you didn’t take point #2 seriously.
Question what happened. It may be time to make changes to your training program or recovery habits. Maybe you came out of position and couldn’t overcome the forces at play. And sometimes it’s just as simple as “not being there today”.
Since missing reps will happen, be sure to lift in a safe space equipped with safety pins and/or good spotters, not to be confused with a sheltered and delusional “safe space“.
Learn how to miss safely so you don’t die, shake it off and keep training.
Thanks to Vera Nahce for this enlightening post.
What you’re getting into:
I’m going to make this short, to the point, and unfiltered, just like the videos I like to watch on InstaFacetagrambook, also how I like my dates to go. Let’s talk about trimming videos.
Do you have a cool set-up routine? I doubt it.
Unless you have a great ass, I don’t want to watch you walk away from the camera, shake your bar, sacrifice a goat and twerk into position before you lift. You only have 15 seconds on Instagram and I don’t need to see your latest audition tape for Kink.com, a.k.a, your bench set-up, I want to see you lift so I can adequately judge you and compare you to myself.
I want to see your lift at an angle from which I can see most of your body, the bar bath and how much weight you are doing. If you’re not going to do that, just post a cat meme.
Here’s are some helpful links for trimming video on your phone:
Do you have an Android? Click here.
Have an iPhone? Click here.
Did you take a video of a shitty lift with bad angles? Click on this:
That’s all for today folks. Go out there and get some “Likes”!