As Ashleigh’s prep goes along and she gets closer to the show, the tiredness really starts to set in, so I told her I would help out by writing a post for the blog. So if the writing is not up to the usual standard you all know why. I am the visual one – give me some design software and a creative brief and I am at home, but writing (other than headlines) is not something I do very often, but I’m giving it a shot to help her out. Lol
After I told Ash I would do this, I sat for a while trying to decide what I could write about. What did I want to voice an opinion on that might be helpful or change someone’s outlook on fitness and training and help them improve? Then it hit me while we were at the gym: Ego. Ego is a strange human trait, everyone has one, some people lean more towards the cocky/arrogant side and others on the side of confidence, whichever side you choose is entirely up to you. But, one may be limiting your training success.
How does ego play a part in training? In my opinion it plays a huge role, and this is one of my biggest sources of frustration in the gym. I am sure we have all seen that person walk into the gym and load every plate onto the leg press – leaving the rest of us on an Easter egg hunt for weights to continue with our own workout. They usually make a lot of noise, grunting, clapping their hands, probably pace around a little bit, stare at themselves in the mirror, and then when they feel enough people have stopped to watch, they will proceed to do one rep…maybe two, if you can even call them reps that consist of a range of motion of about an inch, before slamming the weight back into place and look around to see who watched their amazing display of strength. Or, my favourite ego lift usually comes on the bench press where the person has loaded way too much weight onto the bar for their strength. They proceed to do their set, however the spotter is killing themselves trying to help because they are doing all the work. If your spotter is sweating and more out of breath then you are after your set you’re doing it wrong!
What drives this behavior? “Ego”. Where does ego get you when it comes to building muscle? Absolutely nowhere. If you’re sacrificing a full range of motion and constant tension to say that you can lift some absurd amount of weight, then you’re missing out on a lot of muscle growth potential. This is why these people look exactly the same (or worse) even after months or years in the gym. To me that would be very discouraging because creating change and making improvements to my body is what drives me to continue and push harder each day. Why would anyone want this? Because their ego gets the better of them and at that point nothing else matters but how much they can lift regardless of form, technique, or creating change.
Now that I have gone through my little rant, what is my point to all of this? Leave your ego at the door! Don’t worry about what other people think of the weight you’re lifting, concentrate on you and your goals and train with the appropriate amount of weight to stimulate the muscle through a full range of motion and constant tension. Believe me when I say that lighter weight will do a lot more for you when done right than 4 plates done wrong. Someone once passed along this piece of information and it’s stuck with me ever since – “when you’re on stage have you ever had a judge ask you how much you can bench press?” The answer is no. Why don’t they ask this? Because it doesn’t matter! Bodybuilding is entirely based on how you look, not how you got there. The same goes for anyone, if you’re on the beach looking and feeling awesome in your bikini, no one is going to know or care if you can squat 60lbs or 400lb, so lift what you need to challenge yourself and make change, not to stroke your own ego, and you’ll get a lot more out of your training and the results will speak for themselves. And another added bonus – you’re less likely to seriously injure yourself if you lift an appropriate amount of weight for your strength! That alone should speak for itself.
Train smarter not harder!