Many of us have been the proverbial caterpillar transformed into the butterfly, stepping into the gym average, perhaps dumpy, or scrawny, deconditioned and untrained. Only to take to the weights like a duck in water, our bodies responding rapidly and unexpectedly, while those around us ask, “Geez, what are you doing? What’s the secret?”
Some of those butterfly stripes are due to perhaps better-than-average genetic response, of course. And some is simply going to be a matter of consistency over time—nobody transforms overnight, no matter how stellar their genetic wiring.
But some—well, some of that transformation process comes down to the quality of the time we’re spending in the gym. Or, conversely, if you are not transforming out of your cocoon at the rate expected, perhaps you need to reevaluate the lack of quality time you are spending in the gym. I.e., stop fucking around.
So, in my quest to constantly observe, take notes, boil down the nonsense into eloquent simplicity and present it to you, my faithful reader, here is a list of things I saw just this past week that might, in fact, be inhibiting getting dem gainz:
Standing on the stepper holding a conversation—without moving: So Nikki and I walk into Gold’s Gym last week to bust out a quick morning cardio sessions, only to find all four steppers currently occupied. But of course, on two of those steppers—standing like champion hunters who have tracked and killed their prize—stand two fluffy middle-aged housewives. Not moving. Not sweating. Simply standing motionless on top of the steppers, laughing and trading what I can only assume are yuppie war stories. We approach and ask delicately, “Are you actually going to use the steppers, or just stand on them?” “Oh no, we’re not using them, ha ha ha”. Clearly. And it shows. Fail to get dem gainz in full effect.
Playing video games on your phone in between sets of leg extensions: Lots of people hate training legs. Particularly if you have testicles. And I would be lying if I said that I looked forward to every one of my brutal leg sessions. One thing I had apparently never thought of doing to make it more enjoyable, was to simply not focus on the leg workout, and instead, play a fun little video game on my phone for five minutes at a time in between half-assed sets on the leg extension. Granted, I might never have the flaring quads of a Tom Platz, but, I will sleep excellent at night knowing that I conquered level five and now have master status at Angry Birds. Angry Bird Sensei, you have failed to get dem gainz.
Loading every single plate in the gym onto the shrug machine, and budging it an eighth of an inch: Many variables go into muscle growth—load, time under tension, range of motion. And, of course, trying to recalibrate the gravitational pull of the sun by overloading the machine with every ounce of steel you can find in the entire gym. Who cares if not a single rep was done, on an exercise that is already entirely useless given its non-existent range of motion? You looked like a stud, while simultaneously ruining every other gym-goer’s workout by steeling all of the plates. And, while it looked like you were fully invested in your gainz, as a matter of fact, you did fail to get dem gainz.
Spending more time tracking down the Wi-Fi password at the gym, than actually lifting: I get approached at least three to four times weekly at my gym by members asking what the Wi-Fi password is. Shockingly, it’s never by people who are remotely in shape. No, it always seems to be the amorphous blobs of pasty goo who are so keen on staying up-to-the-second with cutting-edge news. And I’m proud to tell these members, “I have no fucking idea—I don’t go to the gym to play on my phone, I go to the gym to workout”. See, I know how to get dem gainz, while you, kind sir or ma’am, have failed to get dem gainz.
By no means is this list exhaustive. These are just a few people I saw this last week, who stood out to me, because it’s now expected that I put some funny shit out there once a week. And somehow, I tend to see funny everywhere I look.
So take these visionaries for what they’re worth—trailblazers, pioneers, leaders of the pack when it comes to avoiding dem gainz. If you go to the gym to get in shape, please avoid these people like the plague. BUT, if your goal is to multitask to the point of wasting all of your time, and somehow come home from the gym in worse shape than when you left the house, well, look no further—the gym is full of blokes who have no concept of how to get dem gainz.
-David A. Johnston
David Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within. You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( GEARDUp.com ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.
David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.