Why You Should Leave Your Ego At The Gym Door
So far I have primarily written science based articles, focused on providing information on nutrition, supplements, and training. To change things up, I have decided to get a little more philosophical.
Ego. We all have one, whether we like to admit it or not, it's just a part of life. What matters is how big we let our ego get, and how much we let it affect who we are and the decisions we make.
The gym, in particular, is a place where the ego runs rampant if it goes unchecked. Just walk into any mainstream gym at peak-hour, and you will see it on display in many ways. You see it in young lifters, throwing around the most amount of weight at the complete detriment of their form and technique. You can also see it older, more experienced lifters, who refuse to change their ways, completely dismissing any new advice or knowledge that might come their way. These are a just a few examples, and much more exist.
But an inflated ego is just a bad thing to have in life, especially in the gym.
Too Much Weight, Not Enough Technique
The most common and obvious ways that ego effects people in the gym are through trying to lift too much weight and sacrificing form. If we are realistic, people do this for two main reasons: to show off and pride. After all, the gym is a testosterone filled environment. People feel that when they are at the gym at peak hour, people will look at them and think ''look how strong they are'' I guess. These people don't want to appear weak to other people around them or themselves. This type of mentally can cause a lot of problems.
First and foremost it causes injury. Poor form causes injury with swinging, and cheating or rounded backs on deadlifts causing bulged discs. It can create crappy movement patterns in the long-term too when people cut corners with their range of motion in order lift more weight, with quarter squats and short bench-presses. Then there's when people get into the worst possible positions under-load, contorting themselves and twisting themselves just to lift the weight. It's just a matter of time before something pops or snaps.
This video below, by Barbell Brigade, also covers the point I am trying to make well.
Secondly, ego lifting with poor form stalls your progress in the long run. Either acute injury can put you out for extended periods of time, or chronic injuries end up preventing you from a lot of exercises. While ego lifting with poor form may let you lift more initially, building from proper form and a strong base is always superior. It will reward you in the long run with greater strength and muscles gains. Never be scared to set your ego aside and go back to light weight to improve form at any stage in your lifting life, whatever your goal might be.
Check out this video where Kai Greene talks about ego lifting in body building below.
Don't Let The Ego Get In The Way Of Learning
When people have been lifting for a long time, competing, or have achieved decent results, they often think that they know everything there is to know and become very dismissive of new ideas and criticism. This is the egos doing and it can be detrimental to progress and improvement.
When people invest a lot of time into a way of training, or a method, it's hard to admit that there is a better way to do it or that you have been wrong. Yea you might have achieved good results in either size or strength doing it that way, but what if there was a way to get even better results? Or, what if could have got the same results in half the time? Or with less effort?
The ego can stop you improving and learning. Just because you've been doing something for a long time or invested a lot into a particular protocol, don't let the ego stop you admitting you were wrong and continue to learn. People get extremely stagnant in the gym and don't make progress for years. A lot of the time this is because they already think they have it all figured out. They have achieved results in the past and ego stops them making progress by accepting new ideas or criticisms. You see these people dishing out advice to anyone who will listen doing the same workout, year after year, same weight, same size. Don't be that guy or gal.
Ego is destructive in the gym. It leads to poor form which can cause both long term and short term injuries. It can stop you gaining muscle and strength. On top of this, it can also stop you learning and halt progress in many different ways.
So leave your ego at the gym door if you want your best chance at progress.