For Best Results, Check Your Ego at the Door
Ego in the gym is a funny thing. It causes more injuries than broken down equipment, bad trainers or poorly designed workout programs.
It starts with the ego of a newcomer and what they do the first time they walk in. The ego goes over to a random piece of equipment and starts exercising. Ego is so worried about what other people think, he or she would rather jump right in than ask for guidance.
Here's a little secret. Exercises done in random order, or with bad form, or using more weight than you should are what make you look foolish.
Asking for help in designing your workouts, for guidance on how to move properly and insight into what may be best for your body will make you look like a genius. You don't just jump into a car and start driving. You can't expect to walk into a gym and start exercising until you've learned the basics.
The same rule applies once you know what you're doing. Our bodies grow by being pushed. Doing the same thing, day after day isn't going to do a lot of good. You should also avoid pushing your body to extremes to prove that you can keep up with a workout partner.
Showing off in the gym by ego lifting is dangerous. Injuries can set you back months, or even take you out for good. You won't impress anybody if you try to lift something ridiculously heavy, and end up being rushed to the emergency room.
If you're looking for a challenge, you should be competing against yourself. Work towards improving your time, increasing your weight or doing things just a little better than your previous session. That means keeping track of all your workouts so you have clear documentation of the changes.
Once you've got your ego under control, do the same for the people you work out with. If you're looking for a personal trainer, avoid the ones who see themselves as the only solution for every person that talks to them. Imagine going to an eye doctor for a pain in your leg, or a stomach specialist for headaches. Seems kind of silly right?
I can't tell you how many people go looking for a personal trainer and settle with the first person they talk to. It's not really the client's fault, they may not know what to look for. That's why trainers should be educated about other fitness programs, so they can properly refer people when something else would be more appropriate.
For example, if someone is recovering from an accident, a physical therapist is typically the first stop on the road to recovery. If someone is dealing with flexibility issues, yoga may be more appropriate. As a personal trainer, I can help both those people, but referring them to others will serve the clients interest better.
An easy way to see if you're dealing with too much ego in a trainer is simple. During your initial consultation, ask them who they work with. A good trainer will work with at least one other person. That way there are options when they get sick or go on vacation. A trainer who works with a partner has someone to share new information with and try out new ideas on.
A trainer that works alone may have too much ego to work with anyone else. Their knowledge may suffer as well, because it's hard for one person to keep up with all the latest information. Unless they're just getting started, consider a trainer that works alone a warning sign, your workouts may be all about them.
One of the perks of getting in shape is being able to show off your results, but the time to do it isn't in the gym. Check your ego at the door and surround yourself with people who do the same. You won't have to brag, because your results will speak louder than any words ever could.
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