By the looks of my Facebook timeline, there seems to be a growing number of women that are becoming passionate about lifting weights. They are taking the time to learn how to properly execute the squat, deadlift, and pull-up, along with other big movements and working them into their training repertoire. This absolutely thrills me because of the myriad of benefits that a solid strength training program can provide to people, both in and out of the gym. Enhanced health, increased bone density, additional confidence, and a more desirable body composition just to name a few.
However, I have also noticed another growing trend on the ol’ Facebook timeline: A plethora of people bashing and belittling others for doing certain exercises or activities, ranging anywhere from bicep curls and lateral raises to distance running or Zumba. The powerlifters tease the runners, the runners make fun of the bodybuilders, the bodybuilders laugh at the fitness class attendees. Can’t we all just get along?
“I deadlifted a new max tonight while the dude next to me did bicep curls. What a loser!”
Trust me, I get it. Doing bicep curls isn’t recruiting nearly as much muscle as a deadlift. However, not everybody
B) likes to deadlift (blasphemous, I know!),
C) knows any better, or
D) aspires to have the beefiest deadlift in all the land.
Plus I have a secret to tell you: while I love to deadlift, I also do bicep curls. That’s right, I said it! I love doing bicep curls and I happen to think that good ol’ curls give arms a nice shape – a shape that is not always achieved by some people without a little direct work.
|Erin does bicep curls and I’m not mad at it.|
Fitness encompasses many things
I am a nutrition coach, trainer, elite level work-er out-er, and all-around fitness enthusiast, which means I have seen and heard it all; from crazy eating fads to exercises that only a Cirque de Soleil performer should be doing.
Some of the stuff A lot of the stuff I see is admittedly quite disconcerting. We’ve all seen That Guy at the gym wobbling violently on an upside-down BOSU ball while squeezing a Thighmaster between his knees and simultaneously attempting to throw a 30lb medicine ball overhead. You watch in horror as you proactively dial 9-1 on your phone and wait to dial that final ‘1’ when he inevitably tumbles off the BOSU headfirst.
But here’s a crazy thought: what if he actually enjoys the challenge of that acrobatic movement? Or what if he really thinks it’s helping him? Does that give anybody a right to make fun of him?
Hell no. Different strokes for different folks.
And what I find the most disturbing about all of this, is that some of the derogatory comments I’ve seen are coming from “fitness professionals.
Isn’t it the job of a fitness professional to support, encourage, educate, and help?
Since when does that entitle you to make fun of people when we don’t even know their story? What if somebody can’t do squats due to physical limitations? What if they don’t deadlift because they simply aren’t aware of the benefits, or maybe they are so intimidated by it that they resort to bicep curls because they are more straightforward?
Save Your Judgemental B.S.
As somebody in the Health, Inspiration, and Coaching industry, I think it is absolutely imperative that we refrain from judging. For example, I watched a friend do bicep curls, chest press, and a variety of other machine based movements yesterday at the gym because he has a horrible case of Sciatica and he is currently unable to squat, deadlift, or bench. Loser? Not a chance. He is incredibly strong and has an amazing body!
My brother works out at Planet Fitness because it is walking distance from his house and it has all of the equipment that he personally needs in order to enhance his sport and maintain his incredible physique, which is downhill mountain bike racing and motorcross. Loser? Ha. He is one of the most impressive athletes I know.
|My brother works out at Planet Fitness. Seems to be working pretty well for him and his personal goals.|
In Defense of Group Fitness
I participated in and taught Group Fitness classes for years and years and I don’t regret a single moment of it. In fact, I’m grateful for those experiences and it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had at the gym. While my personal opinion is that Group Fitness likely won’t deliver most people the body of their dreams, it does have many upsides. First, the camaraderie! I met some of my closest friends doing Spin, Body Pump, and kickboxing – friends that I’m still very close to years later. I know so many people that unfortunately hate their job and the only thing that they look forward to each day is getting to the gym at night to take their favorite group fitness class with their friends. Think that has health benefits? You betcher sweet ass. Health benefits don’t only come in the form of lifting heavy weights – it also comes by way of happiness. If it weren’t for Group Fitness, some people wouldn’t get any exercise at all. I’d rather have somebody doing something rather than nothing, and if that something gets them moving and puts a smile on their face then I’m all for it!
I’ve been accused of having what is known as “fuck-around-itis” in the gym. Well… guilty as charged. This means that I don’t have a set plan or any rhyme or reason at all for doing what I occasionally do – but instead I do the things that I enjoy. Granted, this isn’t the most effective path to take for strength or performance gains but it makes me happy, and that, my friends, is my top priority. Some days I go in and pull a ~300lb deadlift, but other days I go in and do circuits that you better believe includes bicep curls or lateral raises. Sometimes a girl just needs to sweat, get a good pump, and feel the delicious rush of endorphins. Some people have asked me why I take yoga 5 days a week on top of training and frequent brisk walks outside. Simple. Because it makes me happy. Sometimes I load my iPod full of new music, hop on the elliptical and just zone out for an hour because, as crazy as that will sound to most, I dig it. It gives me a chance to listen to good music, shut down my always-buzzing brain, and move my body – ahhhh, feels so good!
Some people don’t aspire to be the strongest, the leanest, or the fastest, and that is a-okay! We are in no place to judge their fitness journey. It’s crucial that we be respectful of other peoples fitness goals and what makes them tick. If somebody asks me my opinion on what is more effective – x, y, or z – I’ll be happy to give them my input. But until then, as long as you’re taking the time to do something, whether it be squats, bicep curls, leg extensions or cardio kickbox, then you have my support.
What do you think? Have you noticed fitness peeps that think that their way is the only way and everybody else is just wasting their time?
**Disclaimer: If somebody is doing something that is obviously dangerous, I will say something to them out of concern for their safety and will do my best to do so tactfully.
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