Archive for the tag - advice

The Definitive Guide to Unsolicited Advice at the Gym.

don't breatheUnsolicited advice at the gym. You almost always know when it’s going to happen. First, you feel their eyes watching you. Second, you feel them come up next to you. Third, you hear, “Excuse me, but…” followed by a (probably) well-intentioned but totally uninvited suggestion.

Excuse me, but did you know that you are squatting too low?

Excuse me, but you really need to keep your shoulders up when you run.

Excuse me, but you shouldn’t train two body parts per day because your protein gets confused and doesn’t know where to go.

Excuse me, but stop.

The first thing to know about unsolicited advice is to not give it. Why? Because not everyone agrees on the best way to exercise, and the individual may actually be following the advice of their trainer or doctor. Because you may actually embarrass someone who is already uncomfortable or insecure about exercising in front of strangers. Because they’re probably going to think you are a dick, and won’t listen to you.

dwfHaving said that, there is one exception. It’s appropriate to intervene if – and only if – the person is doing something that’s potentially dangerous. In this instance, notify a gym employee of the situation – and let that person step in and do their job.

The second thing to know about unsolicited advice is how to respond when you receive it. The truth is, most of us don’t like receiving fitness advice from strangers. We tend to take such instances personally, but remember that it usually comes from a good place. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Laugh it off. I know of someone who says, “Thanks, but I’m trying to stay amateur. I’m not trying to go pro.” And then get on with your workout.
  • Listen to it. Sometimes they might actually have a point. For example, I had someone point out that I was cheating on my barbell bicep curls by using momentum. In fact, I was. I didn’t like receiving the advice, but I knew he was right. And I adjusted myself accordingly.
  • Smile and say no thanks. If being more direct is your style, just smile and say, “Thanks, but I’m training for something specific,” or “Thank you but I’m good.” Most people will get the hint and move on.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your approach to unsolicited gym advice. Do you think it’s appropriate to give it? How do you respond when you receive it?

P.S. For some very solicited advice on building mass, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a simple, step-by-step guide to building muscle and increasing strength.

 

Fitness Advice for a Newbie.

Hey Davey,

So finally I made up my mind to go to the gym and get bulked. I’m here asking you for help in making a full body gym routine for me. I have a few questions:

  1. I’ve been thinking about hitting the gym 5 times a week minimum. Is this a good amount?
  2. How much weight should I add on when weightlifting per week?
  3. As I want to lower my body fat percentage, should I go low on carbs and high on protein?
  4. And since I want to add bulk, should I not focus on cardio exercise?

Best regards,
Josimir

Hey Josimir,

Congratulations on your commitment to a healthier and stronger you!

You have four basic questions about frequency of exercise, progression, diet and ratio of cardio to strength training. I’ll do my best to answer these questions in a general way, but you’ll need to customize my advice for your individual goals, circumstances and situation.

Frequency of exercise is huge. Your commitment to 5x per week is noble, but it’s something I’d advise against. Yes, going to the gym more frequently does help accelerate results – but it also increases burnout rates for new exercisers. I advise newbies to hit the gym 3x per week for 30 – 45 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s really about making your gym commitment sustainable. Once this minimal workout schedule feels doable, add in another day – or extend your workout times by 15 minutes. Gradually build up to a schedule that is more in line with the results you want.

Since you’re looking to increase muscle mass, progressing to heavier levels of resistance is a must. You ask about adding resistance per week, but it doesn’t really work like that. Progression is different for each person and each body, but I generally recommend following the “2 for 2 Rule.” When you can do 2 extra repetitions on your last set of a given exercise for workouts in a row, it’s time to add more weight. If you are new to working out, you may be able to increase resistance by 5% – 10%. If you are more advanced, 2% – 5% may be more appropriate. This usually amounts to 2.5 – 5 pounds for smaller muscle groups and 5 – 10 pounds for larger muscle groups. If you have questions about the number of repetitions that you should be performing, read more about it here.

Regarding diet, a low-carb and high-protein diet is in line with your fitness goal of increasing muscle size and definition. Just remember that your body does need both protein and carbs after you complete a workout. It’s important not to eliminate carbs entirely.

Lastly, you do need to perform both cardio and strength training. Cardio provides a number of great benefits that will help improve your lifting – and life. For people looking to add muscle, I recommend 30% cardio to 70% strength training. In other words, if you exercise for 45 minutes, you’d spend just under 15 minutes doing some type of cardio – preferably interval training. The rest of your time would go to strength training. For people looking to release weight, I recommend a cardio/strength training ratio of 50/50. For definition or general health, a cardio/strength training ratio of 40/60.

I hope all that helps! And again, congratulations on your commitment!

Love,
Davey

P.S. For detailed step-by-step help building a routine that is customized to your goals, I can’t help but plug my Ultimate Guide to Working Out. It essentially hires me as your personal trainer – together, we create a complete and comprehensive program that works for you.

Best Fitness Advice Ever.

This picture really has nothing to do with the post but you are welcome anyway.

Every now and then, I stumble upon a gem of fitness wisdom that changes everything. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of fitness advice. But three jewels really stand out about the rest:

  1. Take the first step. This one works on many levels. In the most literal sense, it reminds us to take the first step in the morning when that alarm clock goes off. The first step is always the hardest! It’s very easy to go back to bed and put off an early morning workout. In a larger sense, if we look at our fitness goals, things can seem overwhelming. This piece of advice reminds us that, as they say, “a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” Those little steps add up. Just keep moving forward.
  2. Educate yourself. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to workout out. I see a great many people making mistakes at the gym that will prevent them from getting results. If you’re going to spend 30 minutes or more at the gym a few times a week, why not take 15 or 20 minutes to read some research online. Signing up for Davey Wavey Fitness updates is a great way to start.
  3. Look at your workout as an investment. I know that we only get 24 hours in a day – and that each of us has many, many commitments. There is a temptation to look at fitness as an expense – but it’s not. It is in investment in a healthier (and yes, often happier) you. And unlike the turbulent stock market, your investment in fitness is going to yield great results. And provided you do your research and have something of a clue, those results are just about guaranteed.

Those are the three nuggets of wisdom that really stand out to me. But now it’s your turn – what is the best piece of fitness advice that you’ve ever heard, seen or read? Leave your answers in the comments!