Are You Doing Enough in the Gym? Part 1

Posted: June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Before we begin, let me issue an apology:

To everyone in the past few years that I’ve talked to about fitness, please allow me to apologize.  I have not been doing my job as a Fitness Professional very well.  In fact I’ve been pretty terrible at it.  You see, for those who have never met me, I am a very laid back individual.  I believe that everyone has the right to make up their own minds about basically anything.  I used to have this approach to training that would allow people to do whatever they damn well pleased as long as they did SOMETHING.  I let people carry on like this even if I thought they weren’t doing enough for themselves.

Over the past few years I’ve watched my friends hurt themselves doing who knows what and battle recurring injuries.  I’ve stood by and watched as useless and sometimes harmful information was passed around right in front of my face.  And I’ve seen people do some things in gyms that make me wonder if they had any idea of what they were doing.  And to be honest a good majority of the time, those people didn’t.  At all.  But you know what?   That’s okay.

What’s not okay is that I more or less let this all slide without so much as lifting a finger.  Sure I trained the clients I had and made suggestions to friends about things they might want to try, but I never put my foot down about anything.  Well that’s about to change.. hold on…


See that right there?  The foot.  Is down.  On the ground.  Like a boss. or… something.  Whatever.  Hear this and hear this well people of the interwebz:  If you are not doing enough for yourself in terms of your fitness, it is now and forever my responsibility to tell you so.

This is part 1 of a 4 part series that will detail what I’ve come to find are the most important aspects of developing fitness through constant learning and actual in the trenches training.  In part 1 I will briefly go over what these aspects are and why we should pay attention to them.

Now, does this mean you have to listen to me?  Of course not.  You’re all adults reading this and can make your own decisions (And if you’re not, please make sure mommy or daddy knows you’re here.  Then make them read this too).  But keep in mind that the information I intend to pass on through this blog comes from coaches and trainers that have forgotten more about training than you and I know.  Combined.  Times fifty-three.  They’re kinda smart.  So you should listen to them and in turn me or whichever way that’s supposed to work.

So what exactly is enough?

Let me be clear about one thing.  There is a big difference between a lot and enough.  You may participate in a host of different sports and activities and even do your share of weight training and running.  Hell, you might even go for runs across the Sahara while chewing on rusty nails and using broken glass as insoles.  But if you are not paying attention to the most crucial parts of your training, all of that ‘a lot’ is not enough.  The things I list here and will cover in detail over the next week are important for every athlete regardless of their goals, training experience, age, or even their genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist status.

(Ok. So the rules might not apply if you wear a bad ass metal suit and have Gwyneth Paltrow as your personal assistant and main squeeze. My bad.)

And yes I said athlete.  You.  Are.  An.  Athlete.  If you speed up, slow down

“I will find you. And I will dunk on you.”

and change directions, you are an athlete.  Sure, LeBron James might express these things a bit differently than you and I as he’s attacking the tin with more force than a Jedi Master storming through Europe in search of his daughter, but he does these things none the less.

In order to take advantage of the athleticism we possess, we must train with the following 3 principles in mind:

  • Mobility – The ability to produce a desired movement
  • Practice basic human movements – Squat, hip hinge (deadlift), move on one leg, push, pull, and twist.
  • Progression – Measurable increases in exercise intensity over a given amount of time.

Understand that you can do these things in addition to whatever it is you like to do in terms of your fitness.  If yoga is your thing, grab a mat!  If bouldering gets you up in the morning, clap some chalk! (or whatever the battle cry is, sorry)  Just know that if you really focus on these principles, you will not only be able to do your favorite activities better, but you will look, feel and move better in general.

And why is that even important?  Most of us move pretty well now.  At least well enough to get by without looking like we play basketball with our feet tied together and wearing a pair of beer goggles.  But if that’s what we do now, imagine what that will look like in a few years.  Yeah maybe not so pretty huh?  This isn’t just for tomorrow or this summer or even for after the holidays.  This is for the rest of your life.  We get one body to take us through this thrill ride and if we don’t apply these 3 principles to it, we’ll never improve the way it works now, much less maintain it.

So, as to not leave you with something to apply immediately to your training and since we live in the I-need-something-this-very-instant-or-I’m-going-to-throw-a-hissy-fit Instant Gratification Era, I’ll leave you with a couple of videos.

1)  Squat Stretch.  This will immediately have an effect on your hip mobility, if it is lacking.  And believe me a lot of us are lacking in this area.  Remember to push your hips down and forward.

2)  Dan John Squat Video.  Remember those smart dudes that know a lot that I mentioned earlier?  Well, Dan John is one of them.  And in case you don’t believe me, he has a long list of credentials that you can look up since this is also the Google Era.  The bottom line is that this video changed the way I looked at movement forever.  It’s about an hour long, so set aside some time for it.  You will not be disappointed.

So there’s part 1.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I’ll be out with part 2  covering mobility in a few days.

  1. Sean W Andersen says:

    Nice article man! I love it! Keep writing. I look forward to 2 through 4.

  2. chrisalarcio says:

    Dude, thanks for the support Sean. Gonna need as much of it as I can get! I’ll do my best to deliver the goods haha

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