Somehow overtime, working out has come to be thought of as hard work. I'm not here to tell you it’s not, but it doesn't have feel like death every time. Mental state is a huge factor, meaning that if you think it’s hard, it’s definitely going to be hard. Work out technique plays a part too. If you work out CORRECTLY with the CORRECT movements, you can get a lot done, in a little time, without it being hard work.
I’ll be one of the first to admit that, well, I'm lazy (I know, a lazy trainer?!?). Not like couch sloth lazy (debatable by some), but what I like to call “efficiently lazy”. I focus my precious time and effort toward the workouts that are going to give me the results I want, in as little as time as possible, with the least amount of work. Every single movement is going to have value. It takes time to learn this skill; to know what works for you and what doesn't, when to do reps, when to lift heavy. It all comes down to really tuning into yourself and body. If you are doing an exercise because you saw it online by some huge fit gym bro, it might not work for you. Your mechanics are not his mechanics. So, don’t keep mindlessly doing the exercise because social media told you to if you do not feel it’s working, or don’t know what it’s supposed to be working. This is a great way to hurt yourself and it just wastes your precious time that you could be doing literally anything else, like petting your dog.
I’ll give you an example of how technique can change your efficiency. There is a big difference between doing a curl and doing a correct curl. If you are doing a curl, check yourself.
How do a curl INCORRECTLY:
1. Grab the heaviest weights you can physically lift.
2. Walk over to a spot in the gym where everyone can see you.
3. For this exercise, make sure to use your shoulders, back, chest, neck, legs, and elbow.
4. Using your whole body, throw yourself into the weight and use the momentum to throw the weight up in a curl motion and let it pull your arm out of place when it drops back down.
5. Don’t forget to grunt loudly during the motion, it’s very important. If you fail to remember this step, no one will look at you, and the odds of you lifting the weight goes down about 70%.
When I work with my clients, I call the above ego lifting. This is a great way to train your ego and make you feel like a beast, but as soon as you leave the gym you will hurt and have little lasting results (other than potential long-term injuries). This will hinder following workouts and create quite the snowball effect on your progress. However, I’m all for personal freedom so if it makes you feel like a champ, you do you!
How to do a curl CORRECTLY:
1. Stand straight, shoulders back, elbows at your sides or just a little bit in front of you. Grab a weight that's heavy enough, but you can still stay in the correct position. If you cannot keep your shoulders in place or are using momentum to move the weight, it is too heavy.
2. With full control and still in that perfect position, focus on contracting your bicep while moving the weight towards your shoulder. In your mind picture the muscle contracting.
3. Still with full control and keeping position, picture the muscle lengthening and slowly lower the weight, don't let gravity take over. Make sure you are getting resistance. Really squeeze every bit of exercise out of the movements you do.
4. Pat yourself on the back. You have just done twice the amount of work that the ego lifter did, with less weight, in less time. HOW MAGIC IS THAT? YOU ARE FUCKING AWESOME. YOU ARE A WIZARD. YOU ARE POWERFUL. YOU ARE HAVE MASTERED BEING LAZY AND EFFICIENT. YOU ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST!
This is the difference between working out and working out correctly. Don’t forget that this goes for almost all lifts. There are always steps that should first be taken to build up the muscles, so injury is avoided.
Developing mind-muscle-body connection is what this all comes down to, know your body. Mentally picture the muscles working and building. I say lifting is my yoga, I am in my own world and paying attention to nothing else other than my muscles, movements, and how I’m feeling. Pay attention what movements are working for the muscles you are trying to target. Maybe study the human anatomy a bit to know what's going on under that beautiful skin you wear, it really helps when working out. Or, the better way and in true lazy fashion, let be your trainer and I can just tell you all of that instead. No studying involved!
Either way, take the time to know you inside and out. Don't worry about working out your ego, there are plenty of other ways to do that without injury. Love yourself enough to care of your long-term health and well-being. Don’t worry about what the person next to you is lifting, don’t work out to impress others. You only need to impress you, and compete with you, because you are the only one that matters.