As September begins, many gyms are offering back to school specials. Ours is no different–our first Fundamentals class begins tomorrow, and we’ll surely offer it throughout the year.
Unfortunately, with the new year comes the old fitspo rehashing the same cheap ploys built on fear, intimidation, and guilt. As 3rd Bass sang way back when, we can give that stuff the gasface. Here’s the stuff you can let go in one ear and out the other:
1) Harder is always better. Stop with this. You don’t need to prove anything to anybody, and if you’re such a stressball that you can’t accommodate 5 minutes in a checkout line without taking to social media, you certainly don’t need to start with sloppy burpees. Better is always better–get to a place that prioritizes movement before intensity, especially if you’re already scheduled and pushed to the brim, as most of us are.
2) Ripped equals strong. Low bodyfat and visible abs are fantastic, if them’s your goals. They are almost exclusively the product of genetics, diet, and a willingness to suffer through privation outside of the gym, however, and certainly don’t confer strength in and of themselves. Strong is strong, and that has everything to do with what you can lift and how you can move.
3) You need to hit the gym every day. Movement is tonic. Yes, we absolutely should be up and about every day. But some days this can mean a walk with your friends, going out to dance, or doing some yardwork. Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder (see #2) or find it very difficult to get moving without structured gym attendance, 2 or 3 hours a week at a good gym will do you just fine.
4) You need to move constantly when you’re at the gym or it doesn’t count. Again, this is a matter of preference. If this is what you want because it makes you happy irrespective of results, sure, get after it. But if you’re going to the gym to get into better shape and improve your quality of life, leave every segment to its own devices. Lift when you’re supposed to lift, go hard when you’re supposed to go hard, and go light when you’re supposed to go light. Cramming everything into the sweaty middle by orbiting around the place like Andy Dick at the VMAs is a surefire way to stall yourself out.
5) Big muscles and big weights equal toughness. Nah. Let’s get back to #1…we don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Sure, it’s great to get stronger and if you want to get bigger and are willing to do the kitchen work to make that happen, more GAINZZZZ to you. But gainz a hardass do not make. Show me someone who shows up, uses weights that are heavy enough to cause an adaptation but not so heavy to create a circus, and I’ll show you someone who is tough enough to do the necessary grunt work.
There’s more, for sure, but those are good starts. Above all, realize that there is a right place and a right routine for everyone–ours is one, of course, but be good to yourself and make sure the spot you’re at plays to the better angels of your nature, not the things we’re told to fear.