What I miss about gym culture…

I consider myself lucky to have crossed generations of gym culture from the late 80’s to the present day. During this time I have seen a shift from what used to be to what is now. To avoid the trap of “back in my day” because “back in my day” wasn’t always better physically, I have noticed a mental shift from then to now.

Gone are the days of most people just showing up and doing work, it isn’t enough anymore for a large number of people. Now we have to be attached to a program, a training style, a philosophy of sorts. We have dogmatic approaches to training, even moreso than the days of the HIT Jedi. It isn’t enough to say, “I want to get bigger, leaner, stronger, in better shape” (or a combination of them), we have to say “I do CrossFit, I run the Cube, I run 5/3/1, I run A.S.S”

Programs have run the roost, labels are fought over because everyone wants to feel a part of something even if they aren’t directly involved with it. It isn’t enough to just train for you, you have to feel like you are involved in some community.

We argue over shoes, belts, wraps, brands, training styles, bodybuilding v powerlifting, etc… while forgetting the sole purpose we pick up a weight in the first place; to be better.

We study research papers in depth mocking broscience, while forgetting that broscience is often the inspiration for many of those studies. Without the gym rats, research would be far behind what it is now. While those researchers are poring over variables to analyze, they are looking in the trenches to see what they can breakdown next. Don’t believe me? Ask them. The best in the field of training research will agree with this.

We, as laymen and laywomen, are the lab rats. Most of us will never need a study. Most of us need to use our heads.

Train with a purpose, take planned rest, train hard for a period of time, back off for a period of time, eat for your goals…

Macros? Regimented diet? Clean eating? What does it matter? Why does nutrition have to be such a cut and dry my way or you suck type of deal?

Each way of eating works for every person differently. You may do best with macros while your brother may prefer a structured plan of eating the same thing every day. That is what makes this awesome. Training and diet doesn’t give a shit what you think, it works or it doesn’t, period.

For all the time some of you spend worrying about scientific studies, whether you should count macros or go by feel, if doing 5 reps per set is better than 3 for strength, if DUP is better than conjugate, you would cut out half the time trying and seeing what works for YOU.

I remember some of my first years in the gym before the internet. We didn’t compare shoes, we didn’t compare training programs, we didn’t compare who was eating how many grams of carbs per day; what we did do is try almost everything we could think of and kept what worked and threw away what didn’t.

Mistakes were made, but those mistakes led to growth and learning.

Some of us got fat because we ate too much, then we learned what it means to diet and lean up.

Some of us got hurt because we trained like idiots, but then we learned how to manage training volume and intensity.

For all the information available today, I wonder if people are spoiled to the point of not having to experience true failure before they succeed.

Makes you think about it all a little more, because the journey is often more fun than the end result.

The mentality today is different, some will say it is better, some will say it is worse. I take the stance which says I don’t know. I know for me that being exposed to the raw side of lifting, the mistakes, the failing, the getting fat, the learning things the hard way, the having to find out for myself before the days of today where all that information is easy to find at the click of a button made me appreciate the long path this hobby took me on.

Instant gratification is a real thing today, being spoiled with information happens, but don’t forget that you are the lab rat, you are the ultimate study, you are your own result.

Own it away from all the noise and all the chatter.


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