I have spoke about my humble beginnings in the past, but recently I was thinking about an occasion from one of my early forays into the commercial gym.
It must of been somewhere around the late nineties and I had a mind-set of becoming as ridiculously huge as possible.
We had a newborn son and recently moved into a new apartment and I was without a gym, so I joined a local athletic club.
This was a time in which I was focused completely on adding as much mass as possible and in retrospect the routines that I constructed tended to be, shall we say a little asymmetrical.
I remember putting a huge emphasis on pushing exercises (bench press, overhead presses, dips, squats, leg presses etc.) and the rest tended to be a virtual afterthought in focus and application.
I think a good portion of new trainees tend to fall into this as well probably simply because the fact that other than biceps, the pushing muscles are what you see each time you gaze into the mirror (without effort.)
I’ll never forget, I was hammering out some heavy weighted dips and just sort of locked in to the movement, feeling the pump and the satisfaction of the hard work I was doing when I went to the water fountain to get a drink.
“You know, you really should balance out your training with some pull-downs now.”
I turned around to see a kind of short, squat, fifty-something year-old women, with the athletic club’s logo on her shirt. She was a new trainer in the gym.
I was sort of confused and my ego was feeling a bit of a twitch.
Here was someone that didn’t even look like they worked out telling ME what I should be doing in my training.
I said “I’m sorry?”
“Look how your shoulders are rounded forward.” “You are spending way too much time doing exercises like you just finished (dips.)”
At this point I was sort of offended.
“You have the posture of a gorilla” she said.
Now I was more offended.
I told her thanks for the information and walked back to the dip station.
I was pretty angered. The nerve of this woman to tell me how I should be training.
I finished up and left.
I remember telling probably anyone that would listen about this interaction.
My family, friends, the mailman etc.
I couldn’t believe how this lady with her fresh personal training certification was an now an “expert” spewing unsolicited advice to someone that obviously had much more experience.
Today, when I look at the photographic evidence and the actual programming I was doing, this woman was absolutely correct.
Sure, she could of been a little more eloquent, but maybe that slap to the face is what I needed.
Maybe, her bluntness is why it struck a chord then and also why I remember it nearly twenty years later.
Also, I actually am grateful because I believe even though I was in no way receptive to her suggestions, it is very possible that subconsciously a seed was planted that eventually bloomed into what is now a balanced approach to my training philosophies.
Next time, I will elaborate further on how I brought more balance into my training and how you can too.