Pumping Iron Pitfalls
Avoid these Things While Working Out if You are Serious
You were able to go to bed nice and early and managed a restorative eight hours sleep, allowing you to awaken rested, refreshed and energetic. You meticulously planned out and executed every meal perfectly, eating each right on time, 100% confident that you have consumed optimal amounts of complete proteins, high quality carbs and healthy fats. As you happily stroll through the gym doors you can sense that your pre-workout supplement is kicking in, as an unmistakable feeling of focus, strength, and “singleness of purpose” overtakes your mind, body and spirit. You place your gym bag in the gym locker and are more than ready to wage all-out war on the weights! Will this session be the ultimate workout of your entire life? Well, that depends on whether you manage to avoid these pitfalls while training?
1. TOO MUCH Talking/Texting/Posting on Your Cell Phone: This one irks me almost more than any other “pitfall” I will mention. Is it so hard to let go of social media for 1-2 hours of your day? Can you cease talking/texting with your bros (or lady friends) long enough to focus on your workout? Is it possible to wait until after your final rep to flirt with the all the girls you may met over the weekend? Listen, unless your wife is pregnant and in her 9th month or you are awaiting a pending 6-figure job offer at any moment, then leave your cell in your gym bag or locker if you are serious at all about making significant gains in the gym.
2. TOO MUCH Socializing: Of course, it is fun to see your friends in the gym - and it would be downright rude not to shake their hand and say “how’s it going” when you pass them by. But that does not mean you should interrupt your workout to have a 20-minute conversation about last night’s football game or to argue the merits of whey vs. casein protein! Focus your energy on destroying the weights first, and then when you are done, feel free to chat it up with your buddies or the hot gal working behind the front desk.
3. Waiting TOO LONG for Machines or Benches: It is always smart to plan out your workout ahead, and to base that plan upon the strengths and weaknesses of your physique. However, when you find that a machine/bench that you need is occupied, and that the person (or persons) using it will be there for an extended period, you have two choices: 1) Ask if you can work in, or 2) Find an alternate exercise to perform in its place. Do not simply stand there and wait for ten minutes until the piece of equipment is free, as you will more than likely “cool down,” lose your pump, and severely diminish your focus, drive and momentum.
4. NOT USING a Spotter: I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed someone getting caught helpless under a bench press, squat or leg press, with the result almost always being a minor to severe injury. While it is certainly not a necessity to have a “spot” on most exercises (as far as safety is concerned), please do not take foolish chances when it comes to potentially dangerous movements like BB bench presses, squats and angled/vertical leg presses. If you train solo, politely ask another gym member to watch you, especially during your heavier sets.
5. ALLOWING your Mind to Wonder: There are few things as vital to manifesting physical progress as remaining intensely focused on what you are doing and attempting to accomplish while you train. The mind/muscle connection is a scientifically and “in-the-trenches” proven phenomenon, so keep your head in the game throughout the entire workout. Even between sets, think about the muscle you are working and what you dream of looking like, if you are dead serious about building a great body.
6. UTILIZING Poor Technique: You just KNEW I had to mention this in an article such as this! Although it’s terrible I need to keep reminding people of this over and over. Stop swinging, swaying and using momentum please! Keep your exercise form tight and strict (at least until you reach failure). Constantly supplying tension on the muscle being worked is more important than the amount of weight that gets moved from point A to B. Stretch, squeeze, contract and feel the movement throughout the entire range of motion.
7. OVERSTAYING Your Welcome: There is no reason to be in the gym longer than 75 to 90 minutes, even for the most hardcore bodybuilder/athlete. If you train with maximum intensity and take a reasonable rest period between sets/exercises you do will not need to spend a great part of your day lifting weights. For most of us, too long a training session will result in a serious decline in testosterone, along with a complimentary rise in cortisol, which will only hinder your progress. Get in there; kill it, then get out and eat/rest/recover.
8. Eating WHILE Training: There is no need for protein bars or even protein powder while performing your actual workout. Anything that your body needs to digest and break down will divert vital blood flow to the stomach instead of the working muscles, which is not what you want while lifting. In addition, eating while training can cause stomach upset, irritation and bloating. It’s perfectly ok to consume important individual amino acids, such as BCAA’s, while training, but not whole foods/proteins.