Introducing a new category: “my thoughts on…”, kicking it off with gym personalities, you and your values! Grab a chair and get ready for some no bullsh*t, straight up, no-nonsense talk, based on absolutely zero point zero scientific evidence.
How you tackle your workout, is in my opinion a physical expression of your true personality. It reflects your primal, inner beast when it is just you against you, or on occasion against others. An expression of your deepest self. You at your purest. I’m feeling poetic here. I might even make a Shakespeare referral later on. And so there are many ways of attacking a workout: some good, some bad.
Let’s start off with an overview of some personalities in the gym/on the field/track:
The laid back athlete
Always in good spirits and likes to have a laugh. Fun to train with. Don’t be mistaking: these people can be very hard workers.
Often know when to focus and when to relax. Some of them always have a beer after practice, and some even look like they might have had a few before as well. Some like being in the gym and express themselves in this way, others do not though and take this approach of having fun as a way to escape the dreadfulness of training. Jamaican.
Don’t even talk to him/her. You won’t get a reply anyway. All their work sets are precisely timed, of course after an optimal warmup and the exact same routine every single time. These people ride the fine line between being extremely driven and being obsessive-compulsive.
The shy guy
Often the new kid on the block. Doesn’t know what to do. Feels helpless. Will look from afar to what others are doing. Is afraid of making a mistake and therefore makes sure he/she does only what is within his/her limits. Never thinks he/she is good enough. I wanted to include a picture, but shy guy ran off when I tried to do so.
Walks up in the gym like he/she owns it. Overly confident. Thinks he/she can handle anything. High amount of SWAG. Will try to pursue higher goals to stay the best. Tend to overestimate themselves, which can lead to bad technique. Sometimes wears a cape.
Well, not the real coach, but the person who thinks he/she is a coach. This includes telling others what to do. Can be helpful, but can also be annoying. Highly focusses on technique and
execution. Might shout motivational slogans in your ears when you least expect it.
Or so it seems. This person is going so hard that you are keeping an eye open on whether he/she will pass out or not. Will give you 110% every single day, without asking. Only knows one gear: the highest one. I’ll take it easy when I’m dead. Often a Crossfitter.
So which one are you? Or have I not included you? You probably don’t fit into one of these extreme stereotypes (I hope), but you might have picked up on some things which are spot on. Like your mom said: you are unique. All of these stereotypes have positive and negative sides to them. As the famous saying by Shakespeare (aha here it is, I told you so!) goes: ‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.
Well, not quite. I call bullsh*t on that William. There are definitely some things which are no-goes for me personally.
The cardinal sins
No matter how your personality is, these things below are some of the behaviors which are always unacceptable. Don’t even consider them. And they can all be generalized to life outside of sports.
Cheating in a workout is cheating yourself. You’re not fooling anyone by cutting the corners or doing 10 reps when you should be doing 20. And don’t even think about not stopping when the coach isn’t looking. All you’re doing is blocking your potential for the likes of others or out of laziness. The short-term satisfaction of other people thinking you performed better than you actually did, will soon be overtaken by the feeling of shame when people catch up on your lies.
I believe this is an attitude which can be omnipresent in your entire life. Cheat in a workout, cheat at work, lie about your nutrition, the list goes on… (cheat on your husband/wife?) By cheating, you are disrespecting others and yourself. And you’re not getting any better in the process. Your workout should be out of intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic! What’s the point of “getting better” when you’re not really getting better? Personally, I prefer to be bad at something than to be cheating and pretend to be better than I am. It’s a matter of pride and honour.
Bad form and ego lifting
There is a big difference between bad form and ego lifting. The first is something which you might not know yourself. Your knees are coming in during that heavy squat, but you’re not doing it purposely, it just happens. These people are not committing any sins, they are just unaware of their incorrect motor patterns. Guidance and feedback will help them a ton.
But then these are the ego-lifters and no-technique-Timmy’s (yes I just invented that word). These people know very well they have horrible technique, yet choose to continue doing so because it allows them to get better numbers.
In a way, this is similar to the cheaters who also try to keep up
appearances, yet these people are a little better: they actually do something. But incorrectly. And they know they are. If you enter a gym or playing field, leave your ego in the locker room.
Some people don’t think of this as an unacceptable behavior, but the truth is this can be very harmful for you in the long run. If you are afraid of asking for advice or guidance on subjects you need help on, you’re setting yourself up for long-term failure. Don’t be scared to open your mouth and speak up! We were all once beginners. Chances are the person you will ask your question to will have gone through the exact same issues you have. Insecurity can also express itself in a disbelief of being able to perform in a certain way. If you don’t believe you are able to do a handstand, trust me, you won’t do it. It all starts by believing in yourself. By not doing so, you are limiting your potential. So toughen up you baby.
This is also very applicable to life in general. Don’t be scared to ask for help advice on something you don’t know anything about, but also try not to be afraid of taking action and stating your opinion. The list of applications is endless.
Not keeping an open mind
There is endless information out there, and the truth is very hard to find. This holds especially true for sports and nutrition. Heck, recently a new leg muscle was discovered. And it wasn’t exactly a small one either… Knowing all is impossible, there is always stuff to be learned. That is why you should always keep an open mind and listen to what people have to say, even if you think they are full of it. The day you stop learning is the day you start falling.
Obviously this has huge implications on your daily live as well. You are just 1 person. The 10 other people you are talking too have an opinion too. That opinion is equally valuable as yours. So listen to what they have to say, you might learn from them.
By respecting these things above, you are respecting yourself. Use the gym examples as stepping-stones to building yourself outside of it. Start by keeping a high standard for yourself by not taking any shortcuts and performing the exercises properly, and soon you will carry this on to your daily live activities. After all, life is more than sports.