Friday, June 5, 2015

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: The Second Thirty

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 31
You are always a work in progress, not a work of perfection. No matter how good I think I look, someone always looks better. The goal is that I look better than the person I was staring at in the mirror the day before. If you are going to the gym with some fantasy of looking "better than" someone else, you may lose heart if you never get there. If you take your workouts seriously, and you merely compare the new you to the old you then you should find it easy enough to be impressed with the results.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 32
Always remember the basics. Push-ups will always work the chest and triceps. Pull-ups will always work the back and biceps. Squats will always work the legs and sit ups will always work the abdominals. If a day comes up where you can't make it to the gym, or you can't get a workout in, you can always find ways to get some exercise. Now it becomes a question of whether you really want to or not.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 33
When you master the art of slow and deliberate then everything will be ok. More people hurt themselves (yes this includes me) just thoughtlessly rushing through the setup process of working out. The days when you are sick in particular it is important to use proper form just setting up your weights and your machines. Trying to adjust things from the sides, lackadaisically lifting weights from the racks, and twisting improperly could throw out your back before you even do the things people EXPECT to throw out their backs.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 34
Don't forget to breath. Yeah this is used for a lot of things, but it is part of a larger function when you are lifting weights. Many people hold their breath when they are trying to strain out that last rep in a particularly hard set. This leaves many a person dizzy or even disoriented when they stand up, and can create a hazardous situation. It takes a little practice but anyone who has been bodybuilding for a while knows a different trick to get an extra little burst of strength or adrenaline, Close your eyes, I never have gotten a great answer on why this works but it does, and it will save your head for better things than being dizzy.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 35
Strike a pose! Yeah I know you think about the person who stares at themselves in the mirror, and you don't want to be "that guy" but this isn't exactly what I mean. To build muscle you are actually tearing it, and after you tear it, it heals itself bigger. This is the simplistic way of looking at it. For the couple of days that you aren't working the muscles in the gym you will get better results if you remember to flex the muscles in a way to aggravate them a little. You don't even have to do it in the mirror. I usually do it when I am out for a walk every few hours.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 36
Pay attention! Someone, somewhere in your gym is doing something unique that is probably the missing piece to your perfect workout. It doesn't matter who it is, and it doesn't matter how they compare to you physically. If you can't see a good exercise for what it is then you probably don't deserve any personal growth, much less physical growth. Heaven forbid you actually go over there and ask the person what body part they are working on too!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 37
Some days are long, some days are short. Just like the rest of you, I have a work schedule and my boss doesn't get the need for Uber-Jeremy, so I have to get in and punch that time clock. A short workout day for me is about an hour and a half, while a long workout day for me is about two and a half hours. You know which days are which, especially if you have responsibilities that don't involve the gym. The key is to understand and make the effort to really get into the grind on the days that you can. I look forward to Saturday and Sunday because I don't have to worry about how long my workouts are and I take advantage of it. Set your long days in stone and then you don't have to feel bad about the short ones!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 38
You ain't that cool, and deep down inside you know it. I know I may have burst a few bubbles with that one, but in a moment of honesty you and I and most people that go to the gym do so because they have a demon of some sort. In my case I still see the smallest kid on the playground getting beaten up by the bullies. Some still see that fat kid, they used to be, and others see that spouse that left them, Remember this when dealing with the timid in the gym, or you can always become that bully, which is even worse than the demon that chased you into the gym!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 39
Common muscle science is one of the hardest things to teach people. Especially if they think they are smarter than those that understand common muscle science. Just because you think your friend is a meathead, doesn't mean they don't at least understand kinetics and biology. The hardest thing in the world is the simplest statement of "all muscles pull, there are no muscles that push" can help your training immeasurably, assuming you can accept the statement.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 40
If you don't plan then you plan to fail. This is obvious if you have learned to succeed. When I don't plan time to work out, then I don't work out. If I don't plan what I am going to do when I work out, then I don't work out correctly. If I don't plan my diet then I don't diet. Very few people accomplish anything "seat of the pants" style, and when they do it is a fluke. The only thing that really makes them special is all the people who bring them up so they don't have to plan.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 41
Envy is a trend that never seems to go away. With that said it is hard to not allow others to make you discouraged by their off-handed remarks that really just mean they are jealous. You can't win either if you want to argue out what their issue is, so it is better to just do as Mark Twain would say, "Better to be silent and thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt," and of course leave the situation knowing that the person with an issue is NOT YOU!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 42
You can't lift every day. No seriously you can't lift every day. The off-day for a body builder is pretty damn important, and it isn't something you learn until you finally accept it. When I was new to lifting I refused to take an off day, but when I got older (and smarter) I started taking every 4th day to do some treadmill and an extra abdominal day. The results were, exactly what others told me it would be, and overall I felt better.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 43
Nobody knows you better than you. If your joints start feeling pain at a certain point, that is where you stop your movements. Don't let anyone else tell you what they, their high school gym teacher, their favorite Youtube channel, or even their mother told them to do. Trust yourself in these situations. You only work to the pain and never past it, if you want to maintain your healthy persona out in public anyway.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 44
Stop chasing dragons. There are urban legends in the gym just like there are on the internet, at work, or anywhere else. Most of these urban legends are because you personally want to believe them and all they will do is keep you from doing the right things to accomplish your goals. Some of them are true, but the truth itself is a little twisted. Identifying them doesn't take a lot of hard work either, it really just takes common sense most of the time. Hard work, determination, and unfortunately for those that have a short attention span, time are what it takes to get there from here.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 45
Fussy eaters make lousy dieters. They also make a hard task nearly impossible. If you find yourself spending any time whatsoever trying to convince someone else to eat the right foods, and they are constitutionally incapable of doing it. Stop. The one thing that every successful dieter understands is that dieting is hard work, and it requires hard choices. Some people just don't have it, and if they won't change the way they eat, don't change the way you conduct your day over it.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 46
Find a way to like the days you hate. If I had my way, every day would be chest - arms day. Why? Because my arms are my best feature, and my chest needs work. What about those other days I hate? Well I have tricked myself into liking those days almost as much. Back - Shoulders day is the one that always makes me lumber around like a professional wrestler (so I go with that) and leg - torso day is actually the easiest one to get results so I fake it til I make it on that one. You all have it in you to figure out what will get you to the gym.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 47
You're always in hot pursuit of the perfect set. Almost every workout I have I am able to say, "That was the perfect set," and almost every time I say that I am almost correct. Yes it appears that I use a lot of "almost" when I talk about perfection which would seem to be an oxymoron wouldn't it? The fact of the matter is, that no set is completely perfect, and even if that last set was as close to perfect as I have ever been, it's nothing compared to how "almost" perfect my next set will be. Grow or go my friends!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 48
You are what you eat. Yeah I didn't exactly make that one up, but many famous (or at least a lot more famous than myself) bodybuilders and muscle scientists have realized that the human body gets about 80% of the nutrients they need to back up a good workout within two hours of having a good workout. This is assuming that they are there. Because of this I devised (like many people more famous than myself) the easiest way to just dump a cocktail of nutrients into myself right after my workout. No fuss, because it is planned. Mine consists of 2 scoops of whatever whey protein I buy that month and a yogurt. The trick is for you to find the balance you need after a workout. Feel free to try mine and play around with it til you have yours!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 49
Nobody owns the patent on feelings and emotions. If you have a good laugh at someone else for no other reason than being a jerk then you have no right to be offended when someone has a good laugh at you for assuming you are a jerk. Instead of enjoying a laugh at someone at the gym, why not go over and see if they could use a little friendship? The gym can be a lonely place when you are new or out of shape, and if you don't remember those days then you probably have issues Prozac won't solve. Making new friends is always a good workout in my book.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 50
Progress is between you and God, not the person who constantly points out your failings. Now of course tips, pointers, and even a constructive criticism now and then can be helpful and to many welcome, but if the "brutal honesty" of some gets to be too brutal, it might be because they are an asshole. If you feel good at the end of your workouts, then that is all that matters, and you should be proud of yourself for feeling that way, not plowed under by the expectations of others.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 51
Good bodybuilders have great imaginations. People question their intelligence, which is why they lift. This of course is silly because of all of the science that goes into sculpting a human body, but what about the imagination of a bodybuilder? You are talking about a person who lifts weights today in hopes of how good it will make them look "someday" and all. Give credit where credit is due when you see someone with a particularly good build. The obviously have a great imagination.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 52
Fake it til you make it. I would love to fill you up with the sunshine and lollipops of how great the gym is and how everyone will always want to be there. You know it isn't true and although I want to be a good coach, I would be lying if I said everyday is easy. The trick is to shut up and do it. If you don't want to go to the gym, go anyway, if you want to leave early, stay a little longer. Do the motions until the motions are part of your day.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 53
One rep, one set at a time. I know I get into debates with myself whenever I am being particularly lazy, and don't let anyone fool you, we ALL get lazy at one time or another. The worst is when you manage to convince yourself that you've done enough, or worse than that when you can "do a little less" because you will make up for it. This never works folks. The attitude that I can just do 6 reps here because I still have another set, or the next group I will really push myself but I am gong to skip this last set. The only thing your mind needs to know is, one more rep and one more set. No making bargains with yourself, it's self defeating!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 54
Pins and needles are never a good thing. If you think waking up in the morning and your arm is all pins and needles is a normal part of life it isn't. You somehow managed to pinch a nerve and the pins and needles are the mechanism to tell you this. If you have this problem when you are working out, then it is even worse. Chances are pretty good that you have a pinched nerve in your neck or your spine and the sooner you see a doctor about it, the easier it will be to take care of it. It almost never goes away and gets worse over time. Take it from me, I've been there.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 55
Ah shit here comes THAT GUY. Yes everyone has that guy, and I am no different. That guy is the one that I see walking down the walk in the gym, and he is going to do the same thing every time. Walk over to whatever I am using, take it over, refuse to share, and take his time doing it. Usually playing on a cell phone half the time. I have tried all the different ways to deal with that guy, from politely asking if we can share (makes him a bigger dick) rushing through my workout so that I don't leave the side of the cable he's going to take over if I do (makes me a bigger dick) and what I have started doing instead these days, moving on to something else and coming back. Yeah it doesn't seem all that fair but who wants to occupy the same space as a dick, especially when it makes ME a dick? (Oh and he stopped needing to use whatever I was on when he didn't get a reaction anymore. What a dick!)

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 56
Hanging around the gym literally is what you probably need. Need to stretch your upper body the way God intended you to? Try hanging from something. Between all of my chest, back or shoulder sets I go over to the chin up bar and hang while swinging back and forth slightly. It stretches out my upper body real nice, keeps my neck from getting pinched, and lets face it, it's kinda fun too!

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 57
Some people are never going to get it, and they are going to take you with them. This is a really hard one for a lot more people than you think. Most people think a healthy person is narcissistic and doesn't pay much attention to anyone other than themselves. Sadly most of the bodybuilders I know, myself included, really want everyone else to feel as good as they do, and try to be helpful. Unfortunately there are those that are never going to get healthy, and worse yet they get bitter when you constantly try to help them. Then there are those that constantly want help but are never going to take any of your advice. Cut bait before they drag you down with them. A constant burden of need will make you want to avoid your own workouts sooner or later, and what good is that?

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 58
It takes a lot of sweat equity to to call your time at the gym an investment. Now I spend a lot of time at the gym, and some have said it's an unreasonable amount of time. 2 hours out of a 24 hour day is the investment I am willing to make. What slays me are the people that are standing against the wall talking when I come in and standing against the same wall talking when I leave. Seriously, that's what coffee shops are for, but if they were to just meander over to the treadmills and chat while they walk they could easily chop away at around 1000 calories. Think about that. If you don't break a sweat you were never really there.

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 59
Don't play the compensation game. I'm at the gym everyday and I have seen every type of gym user there is. The "over-compensators" are the ones that I wonder about the most. We've all seen them, they come into the gym once a week, and they do every body part, to the point of injury. They do the strangest exercises to compensate for the fact that they haven't been there in a week. Guy just last week walked around the gym in a circle with a 45 lb weight over his head for 20 minutes, after he had blown through all the leg machines. Damn dude, do a few less things and I'll see you tomorrow ok?

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 60
Can you go sixty days? Yeah this is a play on the fact that this is my 60th rule, tip, entry or whatever I end up deciding to call it, but it got me to thinking. You see I have done sixty of these which shows a level of determination, and the attitude to keep going. If you ask anyone who has tried to get healthy, and then ask someone who has done it, the one difference is always the same. Determination. Sixty days will change your life. If you look back on your life you will realize that sixty days isn't all that much, but for some reason if you look forward it seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Go figure, but the secret is to just work out to the best of your ability today, and then when tomorrow is today you do the same thing. Sixty days will sneak up on you just as fast as it passed you by.