I meet literally hundreds of clients every day. They have several doubts and queries pertaining to workouts, diets, supplementation, sleep, medical issues, etc. which I am happy to solve to the best of my abilities. But there is one reason which I find common, not only in the people joining a gym for the first time but also in people who have been working out in other gyms for months and years but are still stuck with either the same results in the gym or aren’t getting any results in the gym at all.
The reason is misguided and incorrect AIM. Yes, you heard it right. I am not talking about some workout strategy, some fad diet or a magic supplement. It’s just the aim, which is the starting point of every activity in life and in this case, it’s your health and fitness.
Whenever I meet people, without even asking, most people have a ready reply, about what he/she wants from the gym:
- Some guys/girls want a body like an XYZ model/celebrity.
- Absolute beginners are ok with a normal and healthy physique and want to lose that excess fat on the belly or hips.
- Then there are people who are suffering from a medical condition and want relief from it.
- Yet there are others who only want to get rid of the flabby arms and want instant results.
Similarly, there is a range of different aims I get every day only to correct them and get them to one single aim all of them should be having before they join a gym or for that matter start any workout, i.e. STRENGTH.
Understand that what results in the gym you want from the body is actually the effect on the body you are asking for. Let’s take the most basic of the example, something which we all have gone through. In any class in your school, what’s the only thing you actually have in your hand, to score good grades? The answer is not books, teachers, good school, tuitions, family support, etc. These are indirect factors, which in most cases, more or less act like excuses for not scoring good grades, than the other way around. The only genuine method to score good marks is to simply ‘study harder’. That’s it, and that’s all. You can beat the most brilliant of the minds in any field in the world, with persistent & focussed hard work. Rest everything is just a substitute.
The same is the case of fitness. When thinking about fitness, different people have different perspectives and pictures in mind, and so different aims and goals. But when we talk about different people, we are discussing laymen and common people in the gym. A fitness expert with knowledge and experience knows one thing and follows it by heart i.e. Basics.
There is a very famous quote in the fitness and sports arena, “Methods are many, Principles are few, Methods do change, Principles never do”. Most newbies get attracted by changing and trendy methods which come in attractive packaging, but neglect the basics, which form the dull and simple, yet a backbone of health & fitness.
In a 2017 study in the International Journal of Scientific & Research Publications, researcher B.T. Guta, states, “In the history of humankind, physical fitness has been considered as a vital element of everyday life of an individual. In being so, the ancient people were mainly dependent upon their individual strength, vigour and vitality for physical survival. These involved performances of some basic skills like strength, speed, endurance, flexibility, agility for running, jumping, throwing and climbing for the persistence of hunting, gathering food and building shelter for their living… the concepts of physical fitness as old as mankind, keeping in mind the survival of the fittest, down through the ages, as only strong and agile invaders, protect themselves and their property. It is a fact that physically fit people are in a better position to bear the rigorous and abnormal stress and strain, than those who are less physically fit. The basic movement like running, throwing, climbing, jumping lifting, etc. requires specific physical attributes such as muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance and coordination.”
If you actually get to the basics, you would understand that WHO, describes physical fitness as the ability to undertake muscular work satisfactorily and incapacity to carry out various forms of physical activities without being unduly tired including qualities important to the individual health and wellbeing.
Back in 2003, Coaches Jim Cawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax broke it down into 10 physical fitness components that we can all work to develop over time to achieve physical competence. These were Strength, Stamina, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance & Accuracy. However, irrespective of the age, the most crucial component for any human is Strength, which forms the foundation for all other components to develop.
Your single aim is to build strength. Strength forms the base of all the physical activities in the world which gives the best results in the gym, be it professional sports like weightlifting and powerlifting, endurance events like marathons or triathlons, rehabilitating from an injury or trauma, or just getting rid of the excess fat you have accumulated over the years.
Renown coach & author, Dean Somerset, says, “Strength doesn’t discriminate. It only asks that you move the weight. You either can or you can’t. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or where you came from. The weight is the same regardless of who grabs it.”
For coach & author Pavel Tsatsouline, “Strength has a greater purpose”, and even his organization is named ‘Strong First’.
According to strength coach and author Mark Rippetoe, “training for hypertrophy before you get strong is also the idea sold by the publishers of most media outlets in this business. They sell that because it’s a lot more difficult to sell people the idea that every week you need to make your deadlift go up to 10lbs until that doesn’t work anymore and then make it go up 5lbs until that doesn’t work anymore and then we’ll talk about Dorian Yates… In the absence of a strong base, how heavy are your sets of 10-12 reps with 60 seconds between the sets? Not very heavy. If we take a guy who can deadlift 225lbs for five versus a guy who can deadlift 600lbs for five, who is going to make the best use of the 8-12 reps with 60 seconds rest between sets? Who’s going to get the most growth stimulus out of that work? The guy doing the heavier work, right? It goes back to work capacity. Once you’ve built a strength base you increase your work capacity and the higher your work capacity the more hypertrophy the work can provide.”
Remember that the stronger you will be, the more fat you will burn, you will improve your body composition, you will be leaner muscular, improve your joint issues, have a better functioning brain, better results in the gym, etc.
Most of the people I meet are way too weak to make any significant changes in their body. They are having all sorts of ideas in their mind about workouts and that’s why their focus is scattered and they don’t get the results in the gym.
So whenever you are thinking about a workout, wherever you are with whatever equipment you have, BE STRONG FIRST.