Other than taking too many selfies, many gym-goers are guilty of another lifting sacrilege: lying to themselves.
The problem may be that you don’t know you’re actually lying to yourself.
Much like the infamous words spoken by George Costanza, “…just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”
Let’s start being honest. Let’s lay all the cards on the table and cut through all the lies to reveal our true weaknesses.
The perception you have of yourself may indeed be skewed. You look in the mirror and only see what you want to see.
The way we look at ourselves can evolve and shift as time goes on and, in the process, we will start to ignore flaws and focus on strengths.
Below are eight lies you may be telling yourself every time you set foot in the gym or the kitchen.
Take the stand and repeat after me.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
1. I’ll get lean one day, just not right now
This is the “I’m bulking right now and after I’m done then I’ll go on a diet” crowd. But the catch is you never quite start that diet.
You get caught in the bulk year after year with no real plan to clean up your eating and finally strip away body fat. You also avoid wearing any revealing clothing and skip the pool and the beach in fear someone may not mistake you as a bodybuilder. The diet phase is right around the corner, right?
Tell the truth: Most of us dread the “cutting” phase because we love and are accustomed to the way we eat. The see-food diet (see food, eat it) is like home. It’s comfortable and doesn’t require much planning.
It’s time, right now, to start. You’ve had years to “bulk up” and now it’s time to walk the walk. Take some time to plan out your eating. You’ll be glad you did.
2. If I just ignore my weak points, they’ll go away
Look in the mirror. Are you proportioned? Are your deltoids, chest, biceps, and quads all balanced? How about your back, triceps, hamstrings, and calves? Training your mirror muscles is only half of the equation.Or maybe you are all upper body with no hint of leg development? Do you wear pants to the gym? Don’t fool yourself. We all have weak points. We just do our best to ignore them while we give our strengths all of our attention.
Tell the truth: Have a training partner assess your physique. Are you in need of legs? Yes, leg training is hard, but you want to wear shorts one day without others staring for the wrong reasons, right? Let your strong areas take a back seat and start to focus more on your weak points.
Is your back lagging behind your chest? Start performing twice as many sets for back than for chest and train it in the beginning of the week when you have the most energy. Be honest, train your weak areas, and get better proportions.
3. I don’t have to squat to grow my legs
I won’t get on a soapbox touting the life or death mentality of needing to squat, but if you stick to machines then you’re missing out on growing your legs. Not adopting any form of the squat is a sure-fire way to halt progress. Sure, leg presses, leg extensions, and other machine exercises have their place, but squatting is a natural movement of the human body.
Tell the truth: Leg training is hard. If it were easy, everyone would have big, gnarly legs. Whether it’s back squats, front squats, single-leg squats, pistol squats, or any other version, including squats in your routine will instantly take your leg training to the next level.
Don’t fool yourself in believing a few half-rep sets on a machine will pack on the muscle. You will need a thorough plan of attack. You most likely perform countless sets of grueling exercises for chest and arms, so why should your legs be any different?
4. If I don’t bench press, I won’t grow my chest
So many gym-goers are scared to death to leave it out of their chest program, so they include it in every single workout to a fault. Using bad form and loading the bar with too much weight to impress others are just a few of the mistakes made.
Tell the truth: Maybe you’re the type who doesn’t quite benefit from the traditional barbell bench press. Maybe it stresses your shoulders a bit too much while doing little for any real chest development.
Switch to more dumbbell work. This will allow you to personally manipulate your unique range of motion, arc of movement, and the ability to squeeze the muscle fibers more completely. And, as an added bonus you won’t have to wait in line for the bench.
5. Lift as heavy as possible for muscle growth
Lifting heavy is sometimes necessary, but lifting heavy for the sake of lifting heavy alone serves no real purpose. What’s more is that many lifters use so much weight that they only eek-out a couple of reps on their own. Lifting like a power lifter will ultimately give you the power lifter look.
Tell the truth: If your goal is to reshape your physique into one equipped with a V taper, six-pack abs, and a broad, shapely chest, then you need to train correctly. Moderate weights, moderate reps, and plenty of sets are the tried and true proven formula to reach such a goal.
Going heavy all the time with too much help from your training partner will eventually lead to sore joints and little or no results.
6. I need to do more curls to grow my biceps
Curls get the girls, right? Bigger biceps have been an age-old goal of so many who have ever touched a barbell. I’m sure you’re no different. So you grab the barbell and dumbbells and curl away.
Set after set and rep after rep, you toil away at curling. You go heavier, do more sets, and forced reps with little-to-no results. What gives? You think that you just need more of everything in order to finally get the biceps you want.
Tell the truth: Have you ever seen someone with big biceps but a small and weak back? I didn’t think so. Bigger arms are a byproduct of performing the bigger lifts such as chin ups and rows. If you practice pullups and heavy rows in all their forms, then your biceps have no choice but to grow.
So, do you just stop doing curls? No. Use curling exercises as finishers to put the final touch on your guns. Stop doing so many curls – simply pick two angles for a handful of sets and then apply a heavy dose of consistency.
7. Hamstring development doesn’t matter
Hamstrings are yet another victim of the mirror muscle conundrum. Hamstrings play a pivotal role in not only the aesthetics of the thighs, but also strength and function. Not paying attention to this area is common. Throwing a few sets of leg curls at the end of a leg day seems to be common practice.
Tell the truth: Having well-developed hamstrings will go a long way toward a better, stronger lower body. During a squat, for example, your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes (along with many other supportive muscles) all work together to lift properly.
If a weak link exists it will greatly limit your ability to progress. Hamstring training shouldn’t be limited to lying leg curls. Try including Romanian deadlifts, standing and seated leg curls, and lunges to get a more complete workout.
8. I’m too heavily muscled to do chins
Are you a big guy? Do you normally start your back workout with pulldowns because you think you can’t do pullups or chin ups? Have you tried in the past but failed and have never returned to the pullup bar? Why bother, right? As long as you have a trusty pulldown machine around who needs pullups?
Tell the truth: You can perform pullups and chin ups. As one of the best exercises for back development, passing up on such an effective move is insane. Pullups and chin ups stimulate the back in such a way that pulldowns pale in comparison.
If you have difficulty with this exercise start with one rep. The next time shoot for two reps and once you reach the point that you can do three reps in a row set a goal of ten reps total. No matter how many sets it takes go for 10 total reps and over time you will become proficient and will be able to perform multiple rep sets.