The title of this blog could be applied to many areas of life but in this case, it relates to working out in the gym.
A very important principle of muscle building and I have followed it since I learned of it in my late teens, slowly accumulated my hours in the gym. There are many variables to building muscles and many principles to training. Leaving your ego at the door would have to be one of the most important philosophies because aside from allowing me to get the most out of each workout and get maximum gains in muscle building, it would also be a significant reason why I have stayed injury-free for over two decades of training with weights in the gym.
Well, I tell all the youth that I see training with less than ideal technique in the gym, “to get muscle gains you need to leave your ego at the door”. Drop the weight down and use something you can handle safely. What I mean by this is that if its muscle-maximization you’re after, then, lose the thought that if you lift very heavy weights, you will automatically get bigger muscles. True but not true. Firstly, accept that you’re not a weight-lifter or power-lifter. How strong you are does not build the biggest muscles. Strength does correlate to muscle-size but only to a point. So, to build muscles one must try to focus on control and feel for any exercise one is doing. You need to keep it simple and have continuous tension on the muscle group throughout the range of motion with good form.
If you load up the weight and sacrifice good form, you’re unlikely to build muscle but instead increase your risk of injury. This could then keep you from the gym which then may get you down and de-motivated. You take one step forward, four steps back in your quest to build muscle and transform your physique. End result: mediocre muscle development. Not what you desired.
Its not how much you lift that matters but how you lift. Ask yourself the question “how well am I doing this exercise?” each time you perform it. Keep it simple. Focus on the feel of the exercise and maintain control throughout the execution of the exercise. It is highly likely that you are using a weight that is too heavy for you if you lose control and feel while performing a ‘set’ of your exercise and not completing the required number of repetitions at a specific tempo. Instead of building muscle, you’re only working your ego. Now if that is your intention then fine but if you’re serious about getting good results, stay away from the old, hard-core maxim: No pain, no gain! Seems to only apply when you’re using excessive weights. Instead keep my maxim below in mind: “Work the muscle, not the joint!”
Working out in the gym is a great way to transform your physique from the person you see in the mirror now to the person you imagine yourself to be. To do so, keep your ego in check, leave your ego at the door and instead be patient and make incremental steps towards your ultimate strength and body re-engineering goals.
Learn proper technique. Practise it religiously. Be patient with your progress. Become a better master of your instrument ‘your body’, just like a musician would with practise. Eat nutritionally-balanced meals aligned with your goals and give your body adequate rest and recovery time to adapt and develop.
Train well. Eat well. Rest well. Repeat.
Until next time,