Analyzing Your Workout for Self-Improvement

So there was a recent incident at my gym that involved a membership being revoked for “excessive nudity” and signs posted at the entrances and all around that members had been complaining of “excessive posing, nudity and photography.”

“Finally!” I thought. Here is a perfect example of negative gym culture being taken down a peg. Besides being obnoxious, and wasting your time as well as everyone else’s…well I guess there’s not much more to it then that.

But the incident got me thinking.

How focused am I on my training, rather than the appearance of my training?

My Patented Ugly Sweater Workout routine certainly helps keep my focused, but is it enough? How much time do I spend looking in the mirror, trying to see my own muscles bulge, or catch the cute girl looking my way? We all do it, I know. But here’s where I had a brainstorm.

My new rule of thumb for a workout analysis goes something like this:

Were you training like Rocky Balboa at the beginning of Rocky 3? Or were you training like Rocky Balboa at the end of Rocky 3?

I know, I know. It’s not the strongest film in the franchise, but I challenge you to find anyone who doesn’t understand the concept of a Rocky-style training montage. But I digress.

At the beginning of Rocky 3, when he is first challenged by Clubber Lang, Rocky has gone soft, fighting easy opponents, and doesn’t take his training too seriously. The press is in there with him, bombarding him with questions. He takes breaks to pose for photos, and smooch pretty ladies. There’s no fire, no urgency, no intent. It’s all a show.

Compare that to after his defeat, when Apollo begins training him. There’s intensity, desire, and will behind every action. There’s no fancy equipment or press box.Training is just training.

Now say what you will about the Rocky movies (except don’t actually, BECAUSE THEY’RE AMAZING) but at the end of the day, I think this lengthy metaphor holds true.

Are you in the gym to train? Or are you there to look good training?


First Weightlifting Belt

Hurray! Thanks to a gift from my wonderful partner, I now have my very first weightlifting belt.

Absolutely loving it, having never used a lifting belt before. It was strange to get used to, but after a few sessions trying it out on my various lifts I’ve come to appreciate the support it lends. Hoping to not need to rely on it to hit my new PR’s, but it definitely helps with the training.



The Quest for 500 (Part Two)

To meet my goal of a 500 lb deadlift by christmas, I’ve had to change my approach to training. For the next four months I will be moving away from my full-body program to a more focused one, centered on the deadlift.

I will deadlift one day a week, with another day devoted to leg accessory training, and 2 days devoted to overhead training. For the next 3 months, I will be doing low-medium weights and training for reps, rather than attempting to max out any of my lifts.

The workout program I have built works on the deadlift as a whole, with emphasis on my weak points, in this case, my lockout. To build strength above the knees I’ve added hip thrusters, rack pulls and upper back work to my deadlift routine, and I now alternate between conventional and sumo stance to better train my hamstrings.

September, October and November will be hard training months, with some few breaks (my partner and I’s two-year anniversary next weekend, for one) and the first few weeks of December will be for recovery. Midway through December I will prepare for a heavy lifting day and attempt a 500 lb deadlift.

I feel optimistic about my odds of success. My training is going well and I m seeing improvement in my technique already.

The added benefit of this new program is the additional high-rep/low-weight overhead training will help me build up the base muscularity to help my weakest lift: the log press.

Send some deadlift inspiration my way!