When you hit the gym, do you put your focus on what other people are doing or do you focus on yourself? This is a serious question. Why? Because if you don't focus on yourself, you may not achieve the results you want from your efforts. Let's discuss this.
Focusing on Everyone Else
Trying to be someone or something you’re not can put you in a downward spiral. Watching how people train and what they lift may sound like a good plan, but they aren’t you. Neither of you may have the same genetics or structure. You may not have the same muscle origins and insertions. Sure, you can look to others as a source of motivation but when you try to emulate what you see them doing, it could be counterproductive to what your goals are.
You have probably heard people say this in the past but, everyone is different. Which is a good thing. But at the same time, it can be extremely frustrating because what works for someone at your gym may not necessarily work for you – there’s no “one size fits all approach” to fitness and exercise.
If you find yourself judging your results from others in the gym, it can negatively impact your motivation to exercise. This can crush your adherence and even cause you to stop exercising. If you’re just beginning your fitness journey, it could take your body months to adjust to what you’re trying to force it to do. One thing you need to remember is that your body doesn’t want to change. It likes to keep things in equilibrium. That means it doesn’t want to lose body fat nor does it want to add muscle mass.
To see the results you want, you need to focus on yourself and figure out what works for YOU. And that's half the battle and leads us into our next topic.
Focus on Yourself
Why would you want to put your time and effort into things that you can’t control? Focusing on others doesn’t help you achieve YOUR goals, right? The fun, yet frustrating, part of fitness and exercise is that you need to go through the process on your own (or with the help of a personal trainer). Your body reacts differently when compared to other people and that’s just how it is. When you mirror the workouts others are doing, it doesn’t mean you will get the same results.
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What it comes down to are trial and error. If you’re trying to put on lean muscle mass, you may need to experiment with different rep ranges and volume. You may see great results with a rep range of only eight. Or, maybe you see better results when you’re around 12 reps? The problem is, you don’t know unless you test things out. And mirroring what others are doing is simply slowing down your results because you’re doing what works for THEM and not what works for YOU. Focus on yourself and constantly be tracking your progress so you know what is working and what isn’t.
There is ONE common denominator though when it comes to your workouts and everyone else’s in the gym – everyone should be using a weight they can control through the whole range of motion and which can be completed using strict form. If either is compromised, you're not effectively targeting the muscle you want to work and you should lower the weight. The last thing you want to do is try to lift a weight trying to impress someone and get injured.
When you focus on yourself in the gym, you have a much better chance of hitting the goals you set out to achieve.
Matt Weik, owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published more than a dozen books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com.