-If not, you should
Well..., unless you want to look, feel and actually be older than your age, that is
Without a proper workout at least a couple of times a week, your posture will become poor and unhealthy, you will be prone to injury, your brain will lose its plasticity and capacity for learning, you risk getting Alzheimer's earlier in life. In short you, if you don't exercise, you will be a weaker, less intelligent and less attractive person, as well as perish sooner with a lower quality of life your last years.
The science is quite clear on this subject. Humans need exercise. You too. Luckily, it doesn't have to be something complicated, dangerous or heavy. A nice run three times a week or a brisk half hour walk more or less every day is definitely enough. That said, you should still seriously consider going to the gym and lift weights (or, albeit a bit impractical, to the forest and throw around logs and stones).
I am sure you are not caught with these preposterous blunders:
If you are new in the gym it's easy to feel lost, silly and stupid. But, take my word for it, the veterans are not looking and definitely not judging the odd newbie faux pas. However, if you are a little more experienced you do not want to be guilty of the following nonsensical mistakes:
- Using poor form, when obviously experienced
- If you are strong and obviously experienced in the gym but still only do half range movements, such as quarter squats, swinging half-dips, touch'n'go bouncing deadlifts (dead means 'still and dead on the ground') or similar harebrained stunts to show off more plates on the bar, the pro's will shake their heads thinking "ass!"
- If you don't bring the bar all the way down to the chest you are not benchpressing. Period.
- If you bounce the bar on your chest, you are only fooling yourself, and risk getting hurt to boot. In any case, you are not getting stronger, rather your actual capacity for pressing the dead bar off your chest diminishes
- If you lift your ass off the bench you are an ass. It's not pretty, it's not safe, it's definitely not an approved technique if you want to record your 1RM
- Feets in the air... Jesus! Are you recording adult entertainment? Do you want to get injured? Okay, maybe you are already injured; then you are forgiven; Just keep your wheelchair close
- Thumbs on top of the bar, the same side as your fingers. Great, we are always looking for candidates to the Darwin award. That guy actually has a correct thumb grip, but seemed intent to close himself off from the future gene pool nevertheless.
- Check your ego at the door; meaning don't be a poser, don't try to be something you aren't, don't use poor form to lift more than you are capable of, don't lift for the session and the spectators, lift for you, for life. Progress steadily and intelligently, slightly outside your comfort zone. That's the true meaning of hard and disciplined; not cheating and trying to impress
- Whether it be benchpress, overhead press, cross cables, flys or kettlebells, lock the grip with your thumb when lifting weights above your head. Any other way is just silly. If this guy can use his thumbs intelligently, you should too
- Unsolicited advice in the gym is like walking up naked, very closely, to a stranger in the shower and striking up a conversation. Only an ass with his head up his own butt does things like that.
- Don't drop the weights on the floor. If you can't put them down, don't pick them up in the first place.
- Don't grunt more than needed. By all means, do what comes naturally when making an all out effort, but don't be theatrical about it. Watch women's tennis if you have no clue of where to draw the line.
- Training is supposed to be uncomfortable; that's how you get better, stronger, bigger. If you just keep doing what you have always done, always staying on the safe side you'll never grow physically or mentally.
- It's a fine line between married to your comfort zone or lazy and risking injury. However, do not ever risk being seriously hurt in the gym. It is silly, stupid and will take a very long time to work around once it happens.
- Do you seriously think you will get anywhere unless you know where you want to go?
- How will you ever get there if you don't know how?
- The body and the mind are primed to adopt to new challenges. New. Challenges. If you don't vary your programme you will reach a plateau and then gradually fall back from there. Worst case, you'll lose your motivation and give up altogether.
- Changing your workout programme every other week is not variation, it's schizofrenic. There is no way to keep track of your progress (if you are doing any) and thus no way to keep incrementally increasing your workload
- Caring about others (yes they flop around doing kipping this and that, yes they wear smelly, ripped, silly, sexy clothes, yes they have fallen for the latest rope/crossfit/TRX-band fad). Remember, they are not you, hence not your problem
How to look professional from day one and become one fast
- Dress neutrally and be clean. You'll look at home instantly
- Be clear on your targets. Write it down. Follow up.
- Ask for advice on proper form. The sooner the better. Make sure you ask the right person; trust your instincts; lifting should be beautiful. Verify the advice through other sources
- Get sweaty, strain yourself, grunt a little (like you would if you hit your toe under the table at an office meeting). Focus on your workout (check your programme, look at the weights, lift them, rest). Challenge your comfort zone.
- Vary your training every three months, by changing exercises and the order of exercises
- Don't train injured. Eyes on the prize (train for life, not to pose or impress)
- Ignore the fools. Focus. I know the gym can be a freak show of posers, instructors, people hurting themselves etc., but you can find that on the internet later. Acknowledge their existence, maybe shake your head in disbelief if needed, and then do your thing.
As an example of going outside the comfort zone. Today, I trained with a slight wrist injury, hurting my back (cramp) in the bench press, and then still forcing myself through heavy deadlifts, despite being nauseous by back pain and at first hardly able to lift the empty bar from the floor. I actually missed twice (zero reps) on my last warm-up weight and then went on to do a series of 3,3,3,3,5 (!) on a 15% higher weight. A fine line indeed.
Today's bench press: