Mistakes in the Gym: General Training

November 18, 2008

One of my mistakes in the gym??

One of my mistakes in the gym??

I began my goal of beginning a career in fitness about two and a quarter years ago when I signed up for a personal trainer certification course at a YMCA in St Catharines at the beginning of my second year at Brock. As I mentioned 2 posts ago in the first installment of this series, I had been lifting weights for several years before that, which gave me lots of time to do stupid stuff in the gym!

1. Never doing less than 6 reps per set: My set/rep progressions for those first 3-4 years of training were only go from 10 reps to 8 reps to 6 reps (occasionally above 10 too), and add a 4th set when I got down to six reps per set. Now, for a beginner is this something to get all hell bent over — no — however once the beginner’s body has become accustomed to the repeated stress of strength training, using lower reps is necessary to build maximal strength.

2. Only doing the stuff I liked: Like a lot of unaware people, I stuck to using exercises that I was good at. Unfortunately it is usually the things we don’t like to do that we need to be doing! I missed out on years of chinups and bent-over rows and deadlifts because when I tried them I saw how weak I was at them. Instead of seeing the opportunity to build some serious muscle mass on the back side of my body, all I saw was the inital failure of being weak that first time. Unfortunately this is human nature — we do the things we like and are successful at, and we skip the things we don’t like or are unsuccessful at. Sorry, but in this instance, following human nature will not lead to above-average results!

3. Training like a bodybuilder: When I started lifting, I weighed about 115-120 soaking wet…at age 16! Little did I know that focusing on bodybuilder-esque high volume routines would not be most effective for me. I just needed to get stronger — at the basics! I didn’t need to do concentration curls, or flies from 3 different positions. I’ve always been told by my coaches and teachers that I had a very good work ethic, so fast forward to when I was 19 in my first year of university, and you would’ve seen me doing 2 hour weights-only workouts sessions (since renamed marathon sessions). Its great to have a good work ethic however what I didn’t realize was there’s a difference between working hard and working smart.

4. NOT EATING ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!: I can’t put enough exclamation marks behind this. When I was working out I didn’t change anything about my diet! I thought that all I had to do was lift weights to get big, become a superstar baseball player, and get all the girls! I’m going to end this list at this point because it was the biggest mistake I made in my quest for bigger guns and that baseball scholarship I so desperately wanted! To add to this, the trainers that gave me workouts when I was playing travel team ball never told me about nutrition and how it related to training and getting results. This isn’t a knock on them though entirely, since in hindsight I don’t know how I didn’t figure it out for myself.

As I have become a trainer and working at SST, I have made it a goal of mine to not make that mistake with any of the athletes. Fortunately at SST, we do a nutritional conselling with each incoming athlete, however I remember that when I was in high school, hearing something once wasn’t enough to get me to make it a habit. So I make sure to ask about an athlete’s nutrition if they have let me know that their goal is body composition related, to offer some amount of accountability to them.

Not the healthiest but a meal that size would have put some weight on 16 year old me!

Not the healthiest but a meal that size would have put some weight on 16 year old me!

These are only 4 of many mistakes I’ve made in the “iron game”, I encourage you to share yours!

Happy Tuesday!



3 Responses to “Mistakes in the Gym: General Training”

  1. That, up there on the ball, looks scary! I’d fall over or tear a ligament or something. My biggest gym mistake was doing cardio for years and thinking that as a chick I shouldn’t lift more than 10-15 lbs (and some women wont do more than the 3-5 lb). Crazyness.

  2. HAHA! great post… i love the pic of you on the ball. i used to do the same dumb shit.

    like you i have been around for a while and made a ton of stupid mistakes. just posted about some dumb shit i saw on youtube the other day.

    check it: http://www.hulsestrength.com/no-rules-training/


  3. Chris Brown Says:

    Actually thats not me on the ball, just a pic that I found that pretty much summed up “stupid things to do in the gym”.

    Youtube definitely has no shortage of examples similar to the guy in the pic tho!

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