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BLOG FITNESS, LIFESTYLE, HEALTH

August 18, 2014
Phrases and Ideas that Should be Banned from the Gym

The gym is a magical place, full of hope, effort, and support. It is a safe place where you can go and know that most everyone else is looking to achieve practically the same goal: to progress their health and fitness and be happier in their own skin.  Of course there are specific differences in goals, but the gist is the same. People go workout to get better and/or feel better. While at the gym, you may have heard a few strange sounding phrases, or some weird ideas about how to get fit. Some of these words and ideas need to be banned. There is such thing as a bad idea. Hopefully we can squash a few of them after discussing them below. 


“I can’t”
This is both a phrase and an idea. This is the worst thing you can say in the gym. I would rather you shout at the top of your lungs, “someone vomited in the drinking fountain!...” than say those two self-defeating words. So an exercise or particular weight might challenge you. Just because it is a challenge does not mean that you can’t do it. When you say those two words, you sound just like the kid who stands at the edge of the diving board and won’t jump in. Yes, WON’T jump in. You know as well as I do that kid at the pool could just take one little step off the diving board and fall into the pool. He can swim, and you know what, he just might like it after he takes the first jump. Scratch that… you know darn well he will like the diving board after he gets over that first leap. You are the same way in the gym. If your trainer or class instructor demonstrates an exercise you are going to do, trust that they believe in you. If they thought you would fail miserably at it, they would not recommend it. If they think it will be a challenge for you, then it probably will be, and that is okay.


Your brain will not want to make a liar out of you. If you think and say, “I can’t,” you will shut down and stop thinking about the exercise that is about to ruin your day. However, if you choose a different thought, one that admits it is going to be challenging yet doable, then you keep your brain open and working for a solution. Let’s look at an example: You come up to your house and the door is locked. You cannot find your house key and you have a thought, “the door is locked, and I can’t open it. I can’t get inside.” Oh no, you better just sit there and wait for your spouse to come home. What if you had a different thought instead? How about, “hmmm, the door is locked and I don’t have my key. How am I going to get inside?” When you ask yourself a question, your brain will start searching for answers. You could kick the door open, climb through a window, look for your keys again, call the locksmith, etc. When you say “I can’t,” you are not even asking a question, so your brain does not search for an answer. When confronted with a challenge, ask yourself, “how can I do this” instead of thinking, “I can’t.” If you tend to think I-can’t thoughts often, then this may take some practice. If you catch yourself saying those two curse words, give a moment to pause and think about a more effective question. No one ever accomplished anything by saying “I can’t.” Plus, it sounds weak. Make a stronger and more confident statement and I promise your body will back you up with greater confidence and strength.


“Get results fast”
This is a terrible idea yet it is one that our mammalian brains love. Your brain is always searching for the shortcut and the easy way. It yearns for the magic pill. That is why the marketing of magic pills is so effective. There is one idea that should be firm in your mind: results takes effort. There are more and less efficient ways to reach your results, but reaching them quickly is not in the cards. Bruce Springsteen did not learn to play the guitar in a day. It took years before he developed those awesome skills. To maintain those skills he had to practice on a consistent basis. Changing your health will take the same dedication. You have to learn new skills and you have to consistently practice them. The term “get results fast” should tell you that the results are temporary, or you are buying snake oil.


“Do you work out here?”
We addressed hitting on people at the gym in a previous post. Don’t be that guy (or that girl.)


“I worked out so hard I puked”
This is another terrible idea. Vomiting from a workout is caused by one or two things: you are really out of shape for the workout you are doing, or your workout is way more advanced than your current conditioning. These are practically the same thing with a slight difference in frame of reference. If you vomit from a workout you are stressing your body past the point where you need to. Workouts that crush you like that often require more recovery time, and that just eats into the workout you could have had the next day. If you are working with a trainer who is trying to make you puke, fire them. Get a smarter trainer. Instead of puking, just push yourself as hard as you can and then stop. Don’t keep going past the point of no return. Results come from effort. But more is not always better. Better is better.


“Have you tried (insert name of fad here)”
This is a difficult idea to write about. Fads help to bring new and effective training methodologies to the world of exercise. Typically, when a fad comes, the pendulum of action swings wildly the other direction. When barefoot running was all the rage, many folks took up running in minimalist shoes. Because of the pendulum swing many runners starting running a ton of miles and did not ease into it. The barefoot running movement actually had many great things to teach people about proper running technique. If it wasn’t for that dang pendulum swing. When it comes to fads, avoid the pendulum. Assess what the fad is about, take what is good, and ditch the bad. If the latest fad happens to be a diet, the same rules apply. Most fads are based on magic… I mean their popularity is due to making you feel like they have the missing magic key to your elusive success. This magic is what has to go. Take the good info from barefoot running, the paleo diet, or gluten free eating, and ditch the rest. If you are not a content expert, I recommend gaining insight from your trainer or dietitian.


This is a pretty negative article overall so let’s try to brighten the day up by talking about some awesome words and ideas you must have at the gym!


“I can.”
That’s right. You bet you can. You can do 10 pushups. Ladies, you can do a pull up. Maybe not right now, but with practice I guarantee you can. With the “I can” attitude your brain will try to figure out how to accomplish the task at hand. The I-can attitude is the only one that will get you to achieve your goals. The I-can’t attitude will leave you stranded on the edge of the diving board.

 
“I earn my results.”
This idea is the opposite of getting results fast. Your results take effort. When you achieve them, you should be proud and empowered. You earned your results! Just like being awesome at the guitar, maintaining your health takes consistent attention and practice. Keep earning your health!


So, stay positive and confident. Ditch the negativity and magical thinking. Keep at it and keep up the effort. You can do this.

Written by Clark Masterson

 
 

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