I’ve said before that working in a gym has a ton of perks. I work in a relaxed environment where just about everyone I interact with is happy to be. I get to develop relationships and friendships with a huge variety of people. I get to wear the equivalent of pajamas to work everyday.
Oh, and there’s so much room for activities!
The drawback of course is that I see a lot of things that make my eyes bleed and force me to bite my tongue to keep from screaming “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE STOP DOING THAT!!!!!”
(At this point in the blog, one might think I’m slightly exaggerating….I’m not.)
Here are three things that I see on a regular basis that I’m begging you to please stop doing.
PUSH UPS ON YOUR KNEES
This point should be geared more towards women, because seriously if you’re a dude doing push ups on your knees…well, you need to turn in your man card. Like, now.
It’s not uncommon to see females doing push ups whilst on their knees (or “girl push ups”…a term I abhor FYI). I get the logic behind them. Doing reps of legitimate push ups requires a decent amount of upper body and abdominal strength, something beginner female trainees can often lack.
By dropping to your knees you shorten the lever arm making the exercise easier. In some ways it makes sense.
However, what most people don’t realize is that by reducing the lever arm, you lose a lot of the benefits a push up has to offer. One of the biggest being simply gaining enough core stability to maintain the proper push up position. When you drop to your knees, the level of stability needed is greatly reduced and sets you up to never be able to do a legitimate push up.
Instead of doing push ups from your knees, modify the push up by raising your upper body while keeping your feet on the ground:
Doing so lessens the percentage of your body weight you will be working with, but keeps the movement identical to an actual push up. As you get stronger, reduce the height of your torso, eventually working your way to a legitimate push up.
ANYTHING ON A BOSU BALL
BOSU Balls came onto the scene in 1999 and were soon found in nearly every gym in the country. Touted as a way to increase ones balance as well as stability strength, personal trainers soon had clients performing nearly every exercise imaginable on them, from curls to squats. And apparently some trainers even prescribed reps of “Hey baby, wanna see my awesome BOSU Ball moves? I know they’re awesome ‘cuz my mom tells me. Every morning. ‘Cuz I still live with her.”
Unfortunately, when put to the test, BOSU Balls (as well as other unstable surface training) don’t hold up. Several studies have shown that while muscle activation remains similar whether on a BOSU Ball or on the ground, the force production (or amount of load you are able to handle) greatly reduces. In other words you do less work with no increase in muscle activation. Or in other-other-words, you’re wasting your time.
Some studies have shown that training on unstable surfaces can have some benefit when trying to rehabilitate something like a severely sprained ankle. So if that’s what your goal, great. Go for it. However, if you simply want to increase your awesome points and look good naked, ditch the BOSU, save yourself $30 and spare yourself from looking like an idiot in the gym.
EATING DIET FOOD
This one may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but one I feel is important. It’s not uncommon for people to stock their freezers with Lean Cuisines and their pantries with cases of Slim Fast when trying to lose weight. To a degree, I get it. I mean diet food companies do a great job of convincing the public that their products are the end all and be all to losing weight.
Don’t get me wrong, people have, can and will continue to lose weight using these products. I’m not saying that they can’t work. However, the idea that they are necessary, or even a good option is one that I whole-heartedly disagree with.
These products are full of preservatives, additives and are highly processed. In short, they are a far cry from where they started in nature. You are better off piling your plate with foods like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These are the original diet foods and will do more for you than a pre-packaged, manufactured meal ever will.
So there you go, three things that you are better off avoiding in your quest for a lean and mean body. If you have others that drive you crazy, feel free to drop them in the comments!