Sunday, January 13, 2008

Listening to self-proclaimed experts in the gym..

...could be pretty detrimental. Yet, in every gym there are some self-proclaimed gurus whom, for a lack of a better term, prey on beginners and everyone willing to listen. I remember years ago that people would step up to me and provide me with unsolicited advice on how to lift, which exercises to use, how to cycle macronutritients, what supplements to take, how long to rest between sets, and what intensity and durations to use for cardio. Now, different yet identical individuals are bothering other people.

Curiously, the people who insist on pushing their training and nutrition philosophies on other people rarely look like anything special. Typically, their sum total of skillz is limited to being able to cheat-curl 40 kilos and wear every gym accessory known to mankind. The other side of the stereotype is that they provide extremely bad advice - it's a good thing that the people who accept their advice are incapable of lifting heavy weights, or they could screw up their backs, knees and shoulders something fierce. Deadlifting with hunched backs and shoulder rotations at the top of the movement, bar bouncing off the rib cage and hips lifted during bench presses, knees twisting sideways during squats - in short, doing everything they're not supposed to.

In our gym, we've got a tiny fella' who struts around like he was a local Milos Sarcev. Granted, we've also got the standard Big Brother duos, where the bigger of the two late teens/early 20's lifters coach the smaller one, but this aforementioned dude is special. Special in that he targets the teenage boys, and is very hands-on with his instructions. And also in the sense that he has "special" versions of every exercise, and that he's got protective gear on every moveable joint in his body. Does he look like he knows what he's talking about? Not really.

What surprises me is that the certified PTs at the gym, of which there is an abundance - don't intervene when they see these "experts" showing honest beginners how to transform an exercise into a tool of self-mutilation. Not to mention that they ought to intervene when some 70-kilo mass monster with hyooge invisible suitcases is discussing gear with a beginner.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, though. A couple of days before New Years, the biggest of the PTs (whom actually seems to know what he's talkin' about when he instructs people, btw) rolled up to me while I was doin' rack deads and commented "Lookin' good, bro - you're almost in competition shape now". A couple of days after Christmas eve. Right. Obviously he's never seen someone in competition shape in person.


Anders said...

Not that I've seen the inside of a gym since my prime in the mid/late 90's, but I do enjoy reading your stories and reflections from the gym.

Wilhelm said...

Why thank you very much. I think it would be very interesting to conduct some interviews with some of these people - first and foremost for the sheer entertainment value, but also for possible publication in Journal of Behavioral Science or something.

Anders said...

I also noticed that my "since my prime in the mid/late 90's" comment went unnoticed by you. Yes, I was huuuuuge!

Wilhelm said...

Yeah brah - you was Diezel back in da day! A true, jurassic mass monster.