Throughout my career as a coach, sports nutritionist and now gym owner I’ve come across some particularly ‘interesting’ fitness theories, as I’m sure everybody in the industry has. It’s important to note here that the people who come to me with these theories are not to blame, nor accept any responsibility for the their origin. They’re often relatively new to the whole ‘fitness thing’ and will have spent some small amount of time in a local gym or spots club, before wanting to seek professional help in the form of a trainer or coach. And it’s in these local gyms that the theories are crafted, fermented and eventually distributed to innocent, unsuspecting gym goers… and what a shame this is.
The blame for these theories lies unequivocally with Jeffs, or, ‘The Hench Guy In The Gym’ who likes to tell you everything you’re doing is wrong and has the magic answer to all your gym going problems;
‘Jeff’. Adjective meaning, “that guy in the gym who is a complete and utter arse. He walks around in a ridiculously low-cut tank top with the most aggressive tan you’ve ever seen. His ability to simultaneously watch himself in three gym mirrors, produce sharapova’esq noises, and do his hair is breathtaking. He will often suffer from a severe case of ILS (Imaginary Lat Syndrome), and is unperturbed in his failed attempts to hit on anything remotely female in the gym (including the Puma fast class posters). Approach with extreme caution.
There is no denying that every gym has a Jeff, and that they are a real problem. They provide misinformation to people who don’t know any different, and this can be a dangerous thing.
Common things to come out of a Jeffs mouth;
- Bro, toning is all about low weight high reps
- Want to lose fat?… Treadmill, 10% Incline, Walk at 5kmph for 4 hours!
- Legs weights are for egg chasers
- Want to improve your core strength?… 1000 Crunches
- Want lean gains brah?… up your protein intake by 1200%
- I’m doing the Mens Health Cover Model Challenge
What you should hear come out of their mouth;
- Why are my legs the size of an 8-year-old girl when I have 22inch biceps?
- Why can’t I run for more than 30 yards without needing a fourth helping of Jack3d?
- Under no circumstances should you listen to anything I say, copy anything I do, or wait for me to finish my curls in the squat rack before you can use it.
Although my points have been mainly humorous so far, there are some serious issues that need to be addressed here, that really explain why you shouldn’t listen to these guys in the gym.
First of all, you need to understand that for all my ‘Jeff Bashing’; these guys are obviously doing something right, as they do tend to look like they want to, even if that is truly ridiculous. But appreciate that you might not have the same goals as them, and this is the first reason why you shouldn’t listen.
1) People who think they look amazing will tell you that what they do is the best for you. They cannot conceive that you wouldn’t want to look exactly like they do so will disregard any of your goals (that could be quite different to what they have achieved), and tell you what you’re doing is wrong and that what they’re doing is right.
If you do listen to them and accept their training methods as gospel, then realize this… they might well be lying to you. Quite an interesting fact about these people is that they see the chance to give advice as a chance to brag about how good they are, and how they’ve done everything naturally and it hardly took them any effort at all. So, when you hear the spotty backed cover model looking guy trys to tell you that all he’s done is 3 runs a week and some sit-ups, this is a lie; and know that he’s taken every muscle-building and fat loss supplement available on the market, been unable to sleep or stop sweating for months, and does in fact train (/curl) 3 times a day.
2) Don’t believe everything you’re told by other gym users as their reason’s for telling you may well lie with their own arrogance rather than your progress.
If you go even further, and take up these magical training methods for a few weeks then this is where the real trouble starts for you. If you’re gym Jeff has told you the correct exercises and more importantly the correct form, then you’re in luck, and although you may be doing the wrong workouts for your goal, you might not be causing yourself any long-term problem. However, if you are taught the wrong technique, and this becomes a habit, you’re in some trouble. It will take roughly 300-500 repetitions to form a new habit… It will take roughly 3000-5000 repetitions to break a bad habit. So here is the third point
3) Understand that what your guy in the gym is telling/teaching you might be incorrect, both for your goals and for your form. If you listen to them and go ahead with learning an incorrect technique then it will be a much harder road to recovery and ultimate success.
Finally, there is a reason why most trainers are trainers. They have to have passed certain test or exams to get their status. This gives them the basic knowledge and understanding that they need to help you achieve your goals. This doesn’t mean that anyone with a level 3 personal trainer qualification is some kind of fitness guru, but it does mean that they should have a basic level of understanding that puts them in a position to give you advice. Your guy in the gym doesn’t have this, maybe because he thinks he doesn’t need it, or maybe because he doesn’t want it. But whatever the reason, the truth is that he can read all the blogs, forums, and magazines he likes; but this doesn’t put him in a position to tell you what you should be doing.
Go to a professional coach or trainer who has some credibility and accreditation to their name. Go to someone who is recognized as a reputable trainer, and who other people have used to get where they want to be. They should have no other agenda, and no reason why they wouldn’t help you in the best way they can to reach your goals. This could be the difference between you reaching your goals, or never achieving them.
Written by Sam @GBNutrition | GetInTouch