3 Things I wish I knew when I started training!
Performance Trainer, Assistant S&C coach,
Goliath High Performance Training.
Whatsup Goliath Family, Jaco here for another edition of #WisdomWednesday! This week I want to get a little personal and share some wisdom with some our youth athletes, or anyone new to their fitness journey! These points come from looking back at the beginning of my training journey through the lenses of my personal training education glasses. Trust me if I had a time machine, I’d go back and smack myself upside the head, tell myself to read this blog, and re adjust my path.
Here is a list of 5 things I wish I knew when I started training.
There is more than 1 source of information. USE THEM!
I started exercising when I was about 14 years old with my older brother, 18 at the time. I was mostly doing what he was doing mainly because we would go at the same time and also because he was my only source of information about the gym at the time. I would follow his routine, listen to his cues, and try to figure out his explanations. But, I’ll be honest, for a long time I just was not “getting” it. In retrospect I realize that I was putting all of my trust into 1 source of information and only later started diving into some self driven research on “How to” workout.
The gym is FILLED with various sorts of info that will help you along your journey, you just need to know where and how to look for it. Your gym is filled with personal trainers, most of them will have social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or a website. Follow them and you can utilize this to increase the amount of quality information you receive. They would have, or atleast should have already filtered through most of the garbage you find on the internet these days therefore you don't have to be fooled by fads or bad information.
Keep an eye out for informational posters on anatomy, exercise form etc. Read the pamphlets and brochures if your gym keeps some, you never know what you might find. If there's a piece of equipment you might not understand, ask what it is and research it on your own time. You’ll be surprised at how satisfying it is to not know something, researching for yourself, and then finding the answer!
There’s an etiquette, LEARN IT.
There’s a rule of the land inside the gym and if you don’t learn it you will be told it and trust me, it is better to learn it before hand than to be shamed into it by a regular gym goer. There are some pre and post duties to be completed as you work out and these tricks act as a form of respect for the facility, and for other members. Remember, everyone shares the place so do your part to keep it in tune. Here is some gym etiquette tips to help you out.
Pay attention to water bottles, notepads, phones etc laying around near or on equipment. This is usually a sign that someone is using said equipment and is in a way “marking their territory” temporarily. If you’re unsure, just ask. “Hey are you using this?” Or if they have headphones on, literally just point and they’ll know what you mean. Don’t just assume it’s free as you might be stealing it from someone mid workout, and you wouldn’t want someone doing that to you!
Clean up your station/equipment when you are finished. I have never stepped into a gym that does not have a bottle and rag lying around or at least some wipes for the occasion. Respect the facility and the next user of the equipment by cleaning of your sweat! Next time your in the gym take a look around and find the sweatiest person in the room. Now think to yourself, “Do I want to bench press on that person's bench after they walk away?” Cause you never know, they might not have cleaned the bench and well… visualize the rest.
Put your weights back where they belong when you’re done. Now where they belong is also a factor to notice. This correlates back to the first point. If you walked to the only free bench available by the free weights but there are dumbbells on the ground, you would notice someone might be using the bench and not steal it. But 10 minutes later and still the weights are there but the person left the facility and now you’ve waited like an idiot to use a bench that’s been free for 10 minutes. Put your weights back as a courtesy to people who want to use the same weights!
These are just some pointers I’ve had to learn the hard way, there are a few more and more than likely they are posted around the gym. Find the list, read it and respect the rules!
Drop the weight bro, NO ONE is here to look at you.
As I became more proficient at exercising and some small gains of muscle mass started to accumulate naturally I started noticing everyone checking me out at the gym. Girls peeking over as I train biceps, jealous dudes wishing they could be me, wishing they could lift what I lift. So obviously I’d grab the 45lb dumbbells and curl those puppies with a hella arched back, crazy momentum and rolled shoulders. Now in hindsight, NONE of those things were happening AT ALL. EVER. Except the horrible form due to high ego, yeah that happened to many times.
My advice to you is to take the time you’re in the gym to focus on nothing but your own personal development. No one is there for you. They, like you should be, are there for themselves, to get better and improve their own capabilities. Rather than lifting those 45s with horrible technique, drop the weight and focus on full, controlled ranges of motion, tempo, form, muscle contraction (ex. “Squeezing” at the top) etc.. Improving these aspects are much more important than the number on a piece of equipment and the perceived respect they dont hold. Gains will come with patience, time, and diligence, so don’t worry about lifting the heaviest weights right off the bat! Now this does not mean that you will never curl the 45s, it just means that you have to adjust your goals,trust the process, progressively overload, and get to that point in a safe manner.
Thanks for tuning in to this weeks #WisdomWednesday if you ever have any suggestions on what we should talk about, questions you want answers, or suggestions to better the blog please feel free to comment or email me at email@example.com.
You can also follow and DM on Instagram @labfit.pt or head over to @goliath_highperformance to do the same!
If you know anyone who might benefit from these tips feel free to share this with them!