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Do No Harm


7307-pubThe phrase, “First, do no harm,” is attributed to the Hippocratic oath that is historically taken by physicians. It should be the mantra of any bodybuilder who sees bodybuilding as the lifestyle that it was meant to be. Lifestyle means a way of living.

Unfortunately, every day that I’m in the gym, I see people of all ages working out mindlessly. Much of it is simply workout styles and exercise choices that will guarantee slow or no progress or, worse yet, that will eventually create permanent damage to muscles and joints. Just yesterday I watched a young, athletic women do her version of chins. They were, in fact, half chins executed with completely uncontrolled descents in an attempt to gain as much momentum as possible by bouncing out of the stretch position. Every rep had the potential to do serious damage to her arms and shoulders. It was the worst case of mindless action I have seen lately—but it’s not an isolated one.

There seems to be no cognizance of the optimum tempo, range of motion or breathing for training. I search my memory for parallels from my early days of working out, and it appears that we had better workout habits when we had less information. Now we are inundated with information, but all it seems to accomplish is to create more confusion. Why?

The proliferation of voices has a lot to do with it. Everyone is an expert, and the one who is followed is often the one who’s shouting the loudest.

Then there’s the exercise multitasking. Science says it’s impossible to get the best results when you’re doing many things at once, but we continue to see people balanced on balls as they perform presses with 25-pound dumbbells, courting danger and getting neither the complete benefit of the weight workout nor the best benefit of the balance workout. So, basically, they deprive themselves of getting the most from either.

You have 100 percent focus in the bank, but if you multitask, neither gets that 100 percent. Multitasking is both counterproductive and dangerous in the gym. I see people fiddling with their iPhones and headsets between sets. Can they possibly be engaged in their workout?

Bodybuilding is a process that requires you to be mindful—on every rep and every set your mind should be on getting the maximum feel out of the exercise. That’s how you get in touch with your body, how you learn what works for you and how you come to understand that the most important part is to get through your workout safely and get as much as possible out of it.

Nothing means anything if your process opens you up to injury. Injury takes the life out of lifestyle! IM

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