Gym - Training, Ethics, Attitude 101

PWiD

Well-Known Member
20 Jul 2011
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Remember your first time in the gym? I did. I was forcefully dragged to it by my friends because of some phase in every dude's teenage life, trying to get stronger, fitter, et cetera.

Remember your first time being actually motivated and inspired by that one person who's out there making it big? Or just a friend/relative of yours that you hope to become one day? I sure did, and trust me it was more than just one person.

Actually I'm kind of curious as to why I'd suddenly have the urge to write something like this but here I am pulling it off because I'm bored. ANYWAAAAY! This post is something that would hopefully change your mind about a lot of things.

I understand that many of us, teenagers, young adults whatever the hell people or yourself would label each other as, step into the gym with usually one thing in mind - you wanna look good, draw the chicks in. Don't deny it, actually, be proud of it. It's in our blood to show our male dominance, kind of natural actually. But then slowly, from one obsession to another, you may end up finding other reasons to walk into the gym.

1 - You wanna someday be a better person (cliched shit but i don't care, i'm sure you get what i mean), stronger, healthier, or whichever. I strongly believe that training does make you a better person in a lot of ways

2 - You don't really have anything else to do. Fair enough, it happens to all of us.

3 - You encounter a lot of obstacles in life that put you at the edge of sanity, and the gym is your sanctuary where you let yourself have a taste of that freedom without anything holding you down.

4 - A hundred and one other reasons which I probably won't know about or I'm just too lazy to list out.

In short, and in one way or another, the end point is that you want to see results. So before I sound like a naggy old man with a thousand stories to tell, here's my take on how an average joe like you and I can get there.
 

PWiD

Well-Known Member
20 Jul 2011
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Number One Issue: Diet? No. Attitude.

I'm sure many of you see stuff like this at the gym - people taking a few dumbbells, weight plates and hog them all (don't even get me started on the machines). See these people? Don't become one of them. Drop sets, strip sets, supersets, I mean, seriously? Do you really need all that just to lift better, look better? Complaints aside, my point being, have some etiquette at the gym - be friendly, patient, and try to wear a smile if you're not in the middle of your lifts. It definitely pays to be the one person that doesn't look or behave like a total douchebag walking around with arms up wide like they have the lats of Dorian Yates. Now, I'm not accusing you of this, but it's just a general statement to get the ball rolling.

Being a well-conducted citizen is probably one of the first steps to being a disciplined gym-goer/lifter. Well you don't necessarily have to spend time talking that much to new friends you make of course. Be nice! Let that guy share the bench or weight with you. Need something? Ask if that fellow man would be so nice as to let you borrow it for a few sets. These are the simple things you learn in pre-school damn it. I don't see a reason why anyone should forget about little things like attitude and behaviour just because you've grown a few years.

Alright, understanding that you don't have to be a gigantic asshole in the gym is one thing. Another problem is that since most gym nowadays are fitness/community revolved, it's quite hard to get in the aggressive mood when you hit the weights. So here's the next point I wanna address.

You won't improve if you don't give it a 100%.

It's a simple concept, and I can definitely find you an endless list of phrases and idioms that will tell this same line over and over again. No one's going to blame you if you slack off at the gym, but ask yourself if that's what's really going to be beneficial to you. This might sound familiar, but how you go about doing things in any aspect of your life generally reflects your behaviour towards a million other things. Success is 99% perspiration - you won't get there if you don't spill some blood or sweat. And trust me when I say that how you train or behave in the gym does reflect on the kind of person that you are. It shows. Maybe you'd disagree with this, but I'll stay adamant about this point.

Next, Discipline. The heaviest lift of all time is getting your ass off that couch (something I saw printed on some lifting shirt). Getting yourself to the gym even though you're lethargic. Getting that last rep in as much as you feel like giving it a rest just because it's the last set. Not going out with your girlfriend just because you hate shopping with her. Wait. What? Anyway, I can't put enough emphasis on how important this is. It's essentially the key to progressing even in life or anything you're interested in. You are the only person who can get anything done. Anyone can give you guidance or advise, but you know very well it's you who calls the shots in your life. Following a routine to the very end of the session, getting your work done (school or work whichever matters to you right now), getting your chores done, spring cleaning once in a while to maintain hygiene (don't roll your eyes, I know many of you are lazy bastards who don't give a hoot about those stacks of porn magazines lying around on your filthy bed!)

So to end off this post (which would probably be neglected), be a man, do the right thing!
 

PWiD

Well-Known Member
20 Jul 2011
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Number Two Issue: Your Body.

You walk into the gym with your friend. You do what you did for the past 3 weeks. You don't feel or see how it is that you're improving. Your buddy busts out a new plan for you from somewhere that he has heard about. No I don't care if Arnnie did that routine when he started out. Nor do I care if you have fetishes about russian girls (yes, they're hot, we don't lie). You feel convinced, unfortunately, and you give it all up in hopes of finding a quick fix to your solution and grow even bigger.

Sounds familiar? I bet my rear it does.

Now many newbies who just hit the gym grow and get stronger regardless of what they do (hence the term, newbie gains). However, I personally would prefer if they started doing free weights - squats, bench, presses, whatever. It's good to develop your technique right from the start, and I assure you it's completely beneficial regardless of your level of athleticism. Even after a year of training, I STILL think you'd do better with simple routines rather than those... body-part split thingies (although I'm pretty guilty of doing it myself once in a while). But before we move on to why I stand so steadily in my judgment of routines, I shall first explain to you the beliefs of several of the most successful trainers, lifters and researchers.

How do we get stronger or bigger? By building more muscles, duh. Well, smartass, that's true. But what many of you don't realise is what moves your muscles and what makes your body tick. Yes, your brain. If you've been hardworking enough and done any bit of research, you'd know that I'm referring to the Central Nervous System (CNS, for short). Now I feel a little lazy when it comes to talking about all the science-y stuff, so I'll deal with it later and move on to what matters for now.

Like I said, we get stronger by building muscles (hypertrophy, crudely speaking). However, other than that, you get stronger and move heavier weights through neural adaptation. Your CNS triggers your muscle to move via contraction. Yes, your muscles contract in order to move things if you didn't know that. Do understand that when you rest, you not only recover from muscle soreness/microtrauma but you are also allowing your CNS to rest. If I had to explain it in simple analogy, it'd be put this way - your brain isn't exactly utilising a 100% of your muscles when you're lifting. Well, this might not be theoretically correct.... but it's as close as I can get by not confusing you guys.

So how does this relate to you growing bigger? Well, let's look at it this way. In laymen terms, your muscles grow after it repairs itself each time you bring about microtrauma during your training. Microtrauma refers to the microscopic tears in your muscles that take place when you lift weights or do any other physically demanding activity. This process is called hypertrophy. There're two types of muscle hypertrophy.

1 - Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy refers to growth due to the increase in sarcoplasmic fluid volumes in the muscles. Uhm, in short, your muscles grow but technically you don't get the same returns in strength. If I had to make an example it'd be the bodybuilder.

2 - Myofibrillar Hypertrohpy refers to increase in muscle fiber size and strength. In other words, you get stronger, and an example would be, the powerlifter.

These two are almost pathetic attempts I'm trying to make at making you understand the two forms of hypertrophy. However, don't let it get to you, there're a lot of unexplained processes and my examples aren't exactly accurate. The point of my explanation is just to get you familiarised with how your muscles grow. So stop whining.

Personally speaking, I find it difficult to go about looking at anyone and determine the form of hypertrophy that he usually undergoes, because it's usually a combination of both. I won't push unto you or force you to believe the same things that I myself believe in, so I'll go on to explain how and what forms of training would produce results.

Therefore, I'll just conclude here with a slight summary of what this whole post is a bout.

Firstly, there're 3 ways to go about getting stronger or bigger, that is to build up your muscle via hypertrophy(both), or via CNS adaptation

Secondly, you cannot have one without the other, but there's definitely a choice when it comes to how you want to progress with training

And allow me to leave you a small extract of what someone(ironaddict, go look him up) once said which left a mark on my training ethics, which will help you branch into the next post which revolves around training methods
Imagine how much bigger you would be, if you were benching 300lbs, squatting 400lbs, deadlifting 500lbs? You wouldn't even need to give a shit about lagging bodyparts or what not
 

PWiD

Well-Known Member
20 Jul 2011
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Number Three Issue: Training explained - Getting started.

Now with my previous post on CNS and hypertrophy done and dealt with, I can move on to the start of my favourite part of any long-assed thread - TRAINING!!!!

Yes, I will now bestow upon you the infinite knowledge of a hundred grandmasters!!! No, I'm just bulling.

If you've read through my previous 2 posts, you'd understand or deduce to a certain degree that I am in fact your average joe who believes that lifting bigger = getting bigger, and not getting bigger = lifting bigger. Yes, there's a huge world of difference in those 2. This isn't math mind you. There're a 1001 arguments on this though, but I couldn't give a rats ass, because this is my thread and I'm the one who's gonna brainwash you into listening to whatever I say. So stfu, sit tight, and get some popcorn! Oh wait, that was a trick. YOU SHOULDN'T EVEN BE EATING POPCORN RIGHT NOW!

Anyway, I'll cut the crap and just say this blatantly. You're not a bodybuilder, amateur or professional. You don't use steroids nor are you rich enough to afford the hundreds of supplements that'll let you grow like those genetic monsters out there. You are, an average person. You're not special. Maybe you are, applause, but that's not entirely my concern. So stop doing so many exercises, because you don't need them, unless your athletic coach or you're a national athlete and your coach says otherwise, because I can't beat them.

You don't need to do fancy exercises. You know what I'm talking about. Because quite many of you are guilty of it. Why're you behaving like a pro lifter/bodybuilder and doing concentrated curls with 7.5kg weights? Why're you hauling your ass around doing all those weird pull-ups when you're not a rock-climber or what not? Have you been mesmerised by the male models on Men's Health doing all those exercises? Do you see anyone else other than yourself doing that? I highly doubt that. I'm sorry if i sound arrogant when it comes to this but it PISSES me and a lot of other people off when you do all that crap and pretend like you own the gym. Your ego is probably bigger than your head.

All you even need to get started with is just push-ups, pull-ups/chin-ups, plyometric jumps and crunches. That's even the bare minimum. So wtf is that taichi motion you're doing with those weights? Seriously, it's stupid. Stop it. Any self-respecting male individual wouldn't come close to doing that. Now you maaaay have done it before, or are doing it now, it's alright. Just, make sure it actually does good for you, like physio or something (that's damned valid)

Another thing, make sure you get this hammered into your head - you're in there to own the weights. Nothing else. No distractions. It's just you, and the iron.

Number Three Issue: Training explained - Training method

Now with all the ranting aside, I'll get into the details. Notice I said Training 'method', because there's only one. Routines on the other hand, will be mentioned later.

Once again, like I've said at least twice, stronger = bigger. So the main focus of my personal (or a hundred other successful trainers) method is to get you to become stronger through various means. As the other threads in this forum has mentioned, there's a specific 5 x 5 method employed for beginners. Yes. 5 x 5. Simple math, surprisingly, and the shocking fact is that the gains are real, and quick. My own experience? Okay. Bench - 40kg to 75kg. Squat - 50kg to 90kg. Deadlift - 40kg to 90kg. Not impressive numbers, but the gains are there. However, there're MULTIPLE 5 x 5 routines out there that you can find, but I'll help those people out by explaining to you WHY this works.

First, do you think you'd get stronger or bigger doing just bicep curls compared to pull-ups? lunges compared to squats? back extensions to deadlifts? If you have any idea of how your body works, you'd know that the latter options would promote better growth for many reasons. Here are some.

1 - Your body functions as a unit. Hence, it progresses better as a whole. It's quite difficult as a natural for you to bring up your specific bodyparts without improving the rest. You might see your arms growing up a size or two but trust me, it won't last, and most of it's bound to be blood or water volume.

2 - Doing huge, compound movements involves more than one muscle. This makes it easier for you to increase the poundages on these lifts as more muscles are involved in the movement itself. And what did I say earlier? Getting stronger = bigger. You do the math.

3 - Exercises like squats and deadlifts actually promote growth via the release of hormones. This is a complex process and I won't explain it, you can do some research if you'd like.

Yeap, these are actually good enough reasons to get you to do these compound exercises. Now I'm not saying you should go in and start some ego-lifting. Uh, if you don't know what it means, I'm not explaining it to you. Form is key to safety and nurtures good posture. Hey, chicks love dudes that stand upright and firm like a pillar okay! Not only that, form ensures that your growth is not uneven - one side bigger than the other, one muscle bigger than the other, whatever. It's also a good gauge of when you should rest and allow your body to recover.

So what are the main exercises recommended?
The Bench Press, Overhead Press (Standing is preferred), Squats, Deadlift, Barbell Rows, Pull-ups/Chin-ups. This is as simple as it gets. Olympic lifts like Cleans, Power Cleans, Snatches, Clean and Jerks, Push Presses are fine if your gym allows it, or if you have the appropriate psychomotor skills. Some people don't, it's fine. I don't blame you.

This means that you should be focusing on the above mentioned movements, master their technique, improve on your poundages and confidence, find your preferred grips/stances (yes there's more than one way of doing a certain exercise).
As a beginner, which I suspect many of us are, you will be making linear progress - you will see yourself putting on 2.5kg each week to your lifts and see yourself making constant improvements. And when you fail to continue this, such as form failing, or finding it difficult to achieve the number of reps needed, slow bar acceleration, you'd know it's time to deload.
Deloading is the process of cutting back on the amount of weight, sets, reps or just completely stopping training for a period of time (usually 1 or 2 weeks) to allow your CNS to recuperate. This happens even more so with lifting heavy weights, as your CNS burns out much faster than your ligaments or muscles do. From there on, you work back up to the original amount you were lifting before you hit your first wall in progress, and attempt to break that record, setting newer personal bests.

Easy isn't it? All of a sudden getting bigger and stronger isn't as difficult as it seems. Well, it has always been that simple. It's primarily because of marketing and advertising that causes us to develop a lousy habit of wanting a fast and popular solution. And a lack of discipline or passion to actually do some research about the stuff we're interested in.

Anyway, so how are we going to put these exercises together in order to produce a program that works? I'll get to that later, no rush. And you'll be happy to hear that barbell curls and some isolation exercises are used in the following routines. But in order to prepare you for the next post, I will let you know that you will be using one of these exercises as a 'main character' that you wish to develop so that you'd have a rough idea what you'd be busting your ass on in the gym. They are... Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift, Overhead Press
 

PWiD

Well-Known Member
20 Jul 2011
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Number Three Issue: Training Explained - The Essence of It All

So you've seen the exercises. Hopefully, you've done some research on them, because I won't be so gracious as to spoon-feed you and write out a passage on how to do these exercises. However, I will explain why.

The Bench Press - The test of manhood, the one exercise that is used as a measure of your upper body's pressing strength. Next to the Overhead Press, the Bench Press brings about growth mainly in your chest, shoulders and triceps. That's pretty much the jist of it. Nothing else to be explained.

The Overhead Press - You might find it odd, but I believe that the Overhead Press has got to be one of the more practical exercises compared to the Bench Press in real-life application - where the fuck are you gonna lie down and push something off from your chest? Well, I don't know what you've been up to, but it rarely happens, I bet. This is an essential exercise, and was an actual Olympic lift until judging it was a pain in the ass so they abolished it in most nations. This is an essential strongman exercise as well, carrying over to the log press.

The Squat - The king of all lifts. No more chicken legs! Muscular and firmed lower body guaranteed! What else do i have to say? Our legs are an important part of our body. Couldn't hurt to have a strong pair now could we? Releases hormones and makes use of almost the whole body when done correctly. A surefire way to making gains.

The Deadlift - The other mother of all lifts. Many people pussy out and are afraid of wrecking their back. But if you do it right, you wouldn't. I promise. No pinky twists though. This is the answer to creating a huge-ass, door blocking back. V-taper? No problem. Think I'm wrong? Check out Arnie's best friend, Franco Columbu. Sure, he's on juice, but that's not the point. In fact, I like him as an athlete more than I like Arnold. He's a monster when it comes to deadlifts. Another example? Sure. Dorian Yates. Ronnie Coleman. Johnnie Jackson. And the list goes on.

Now, you've met your fine selection of the most important compound movements. While I do mention that you could choose to master any one of them, do understand that all of them are equally important. When I ask that you choose to master a certain technique, I don't actually mean you go head-in into things without considering what works better for you. Let me explain why.

Ryu and Ken both just started their journey in weight-lifting. Both of them prefer different selections of exercises. However, chancing upon this particular thread has allowed them to fine-pick one out of the four exercises to work with. Now, the wrong thing for Ryu and Ken to do now would be to pick one exercise based on their emotional bias. Ryu likes the bench more than Ken, and Ken likes the press more than Ryu. Hence they start a road to self-destruction and slow gains because they have no idea exactly WHAT works. Now. What Ryu and Ken SHOULD have done would be something like this...

1 - Follow a standard/basic 5 x 5 or 3 x 5 template, which usually focuses around the Squat for gains. Examples such as Mark Rippetoe, Bill Starr, Stronglifts.com, et cetera. Another valid routine would be Reg Parker's 3 x 5 for the bodybuilder

2 - Discover what exercises they can adapt to quickly and up their poundages on a weekly basis without exaggerated failure of form or speed (slight deterioration is definitely unavoidable due to adaptation to new and heavier workloads).

3 - Choose an exercise to specialise in after you've took this template seriously for at least 6 months, or training experience of a year or two. However, choose it for one of these two reasons: To accelerate growth by abusing what you're mechanically/genetically good at, or Bringing up lagging exercises/body parts via the improvement of an exercise that you may not be good at.

Now, if Ryu and Ken does it right, they might both come to find out that the exercises they initially preferred may not be the right ones. But for the sake of example and what's to come next, let's just say they'd both like to abuse what they're good at; the Bench Press and the Overhead Press Respectively. Alright. Get the picture so far? If you do, let's move on, otherwise, bust a nut and reread everything till you understand every single phrase I've typed out.

When you actually choose something to specialise in, you don't abandon the other exercises. On the other hand, you can choose to either do the same number of sets and raise up the frequency of your chosen exercise (provided you have reached a stage of physical development and CNS adaptation that allows you to train with much more intensity), or you can include assistance exercises to help you improve even faster with the lift in question. Sounds familiar? If you've ever heard of Westside Barbell's Conjugate Method you'd get what I'm driving at. But in all manners of seriousness, the reason why you're even reading this and taking this whole thread seriously is probably because you haven't even reached the level of development that would force you to take that path because you've stalled on your lifts regardless of how much you try to break your plateaus. So, newbiegainer, I shall not fatigue your mind with non-essential things for now.

To conclude, getting bigger is essentially quite simple as a beginner. There's no golden rule, and you're definitely not the 'exception' in this world of weight lifting, because more often than not, you're just an average joe, skinny or fat I don't really care. If you were genetically gifted, then I'll let you stare at weights since you can grow by doing that : DDD Otherwise, just lift hard, and give it every fragment of your soul that you can when you're at it - you can hit on that russian chick after you're done with your workout.
 

PWiD

Well-Known Member
20 Jul 2011
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Number Three Issue: Training Explained - Motif and Motivation

Motivation in my opinion takes two forms,

The first, getting your ass to the gym.

The second, conquering that inner little girl that's afraid to break plateaus.

Do understand that no one is forcing you or pushing you to the gym to 'change' yourself. You're your own master and it's inexcusably your choice ultimately. However, once you do make a decision to do something about your fitness or strength or whatchamacallit, you better be sure as hell that you'd squeeze in all that energy into making it to the gym. If you don't, and somehow your reason is valid, it's fine. However, do keep in mind, once you miss a workout, you miss it. DO NOT attempt to squeeze it together with the next one, or push your scheduled workouts backwards just to make up for your lack of discipline. It's gone, forever, you just missed one workout within the 52 weeks of every year. All of a sudden the idea that you only have 52 weeks in a year changes your perception of that one workout a week didn't it? Well there you have it.

Now... as for the second one... psyching yourself into lifting weights or breaking records. Hmm. I'd like to write a huge paragraph on that, but this picture definitely says it all.

squat.jpg

Yeeeeeaaaaaah. Trust me, this is a fact. They're not as fat as you are, but definitely squat waaaay more than you do. So, nut up or shut up. No excuses.

Well, since you're probably mind-fucking yourself after seeing that picture, I'll just cut short the Motiff part of this post.

One fine day, confine yourself in your own room. Turn of the lights. Sit down and close your eyes. Now touch yourse- I mean, touch your heart and ask yourself this - Why do I bother spending all that money on supplements and food and time on all that training? Nothing is uglier than the truth. Reflect well on this, and ask yourself if you truly have the right to spend either your own money or your allowance from your parents (I know A LOT of people who do this, tsk tsk) on all these things based on your motifs. I might sound downright idiotic or judgmental, but you know the idea behind what I'm talking about.

So there you go. It's time to wake up and face the real world, dude.
 

sinful

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1 Jun 2011
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gymkaki.com
It all boils down to a simple cause and effect. Most people think that you need to be motivated to take action. You don't have to. Whether you are motivated or not, if you run on the treadmill for an hour, you will lose some weight.

That is just simple cause and effect.

That is why professional athletics train even when they dont feel motivated because they know that even if they are just going thru the motions, they are getting results.

Having said that, you will agree that if you know you need to take certain actions, you might as well be motivated and enjoy the process.
 

makano

New Member
1 Nov 2011
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Well I rarely go to a gym because most gyms in my location requires a trainer at all times. I don't want someone who shouts numbers and say "you can do it" for every 10 seconds near me.
 

Germs

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9 Nov 2011
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Wow, very helpful guide.

Certainly the best post I've seen yet, bookmarked this page to read again.
 

Shawndellah

New Member
29 Nov 2011
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I agree with Germs. This is an excellent post and guide to be really helpful. Thank you for taking so much time to put into the guide for us. I have to keep in mind that the biggest part about health and fitness is total commitment to the idea.
 

mika

Member
3 Nov 2011
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I think the best reason to motivate oneself is 1 - You wanna someday be a better person.
It was setting or conditioning our minds that we have a goal which is to be better. Although running for an hour motivated or not, could help lose weight. Having motivation makes a better result since it is the one that could make us run for another hour or run in a daily basis with more intense and more enthusiasm. Working out motivated could also make our workout day happier and better.