LSE Management student Kim Lippoth takes us down the path to gains and greatness…
The gym is the equivalent of the animal kingdom. For newbies it can be quite an intimidating environment with jacked up beef-heads walking around their natural habitat, determining which machine they are going to use next. Looking too long at another person could lead to confrontation. Admiring your newly gained muscle could lead to embarrassing moments. Of course, this is all up in your head. You know why? Because everyone is obsessed with their own reflection in the mirror.
Just like there is a mating season in the animal kingdom, the population within the gym grows exponentially in January, curiously right after New Year’s Eve. All have committed to different purposes: varying from wanting to look toned or wanting to look like the next enhanced Dwayne Johnson, because everyone knows that the Rock does not use steroids and is as natural as a rock.
Whether you are one of the hatchlings, a regular or one of the gods amongst the kingdom, this article could be an interesting food for gains and thought.
On the way of dropping me at the gym my father would always remind me that there would be no correlation between my arm size and future income. What a way to motivate your son. The last place you would expect paradigm shifts and philosophical inputs is within the gym. But we tend to find things in the weirdest places.
There is a common misconception that heavy weight and working out hours on end will eventually lead to muscular development. This mentality will inevitably lead to overworking your muscles and joint damages, leading to a long-term fall in muscular development. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously wrote in his book ‘The New Encyclopaedia of Bodybuilding’: “It is not how fast you can go but how far you can go”. Sustainability is not just an issue for our environment but also more importantly for our gains.
So, what can we do? Kai Greene, one of the most iconic modern bodybuilders talks about the muscle-mind connection. Your mind and your body form a bi-directional system. We act according to our mental-state and our mental-state is determined by our actions. That means we must get into the right mindset to get the most out of our workout. Start of by seeing the weights as a tool rather than an enemy to tackle. Their entire purpose of existence is to help you grow. If you are working out a muscle you must feel its contractions.
The weights’ purpose is to add resistance to this contraction to maximize your gains. Instead of going for the four-digit weights, try out with the lighter ones and find out with which weight you can perform 8-12 clean repetitions whilst feeling the targeted muscle. The time in the gym is your personal time. Just like you did as a young teenager, you should experiment on yourself. Try out different diets and different workouts available online. Stick to them and find out what works for you and use the weights and machines as your tool. Do not be ashamed of going a little lighter, because no one is watching except for you.