I’m also broken down in so many ways.
13 years of baseball, and a genetic predisposition to being glaringly one-side dominant, it’s become evident over time just how much damage it’s done to me. Below, I’ve listed my shortcomings, issues, and how I’m actively trying to fix them. If you must know, this happens to be a rant, a ramble, and it has some funny stuff and self-reflection in it. Read at your own risk.
About a year and a half ago it dawned on me that my hips had terrible mobility. I spent all this time trying to build bigger muscles and strength that I spent zero time stretching. I had the squat depth of a really jacked 80 year old. You’ve all seen that guy; big barrel chest, uses heavy weights, does ¼ reps and stays in the gym for 5 hours taking breaks to use the sauna naked.
I was limiting my strength potential and growth potential by beating my joints into single-plane exercises.
2. Infrequent Training
At one point, I was enamored with professional bodybuilders. I spent most of my time isolation training; meaning, I only trained a body-part directly once a week. What I didn’t realize was that, while great for hypertrophy, I wasn’t in a position where that benefited me. I realized no, I’m not stepping on stage for a living, nor do I fit the specifics of what that lifestyle requires a person to do. I’d much rather build muscle, but also be able to run fast and jump high. I’m now at the point where I can still be that “Adonis” I was striving to be, while also being able to deadlift a house and do 25 pull-ups.
3. “Ego Lifting”
Every single man who’s ever stepped in a gym is guilty of this; lifting outside his practical potential simply to stroke his ego. It could be because that one hot-chick that uses the Stairmaster every other day glances his way; it could be because that one dude that bench-presses 3 plates a side for reps is eyeballing his squats; it could be because that one pseudo-trainer with his skinny lackeys paused to watch his deadlift. Whatever it was, he lifted heavy weight with awful form and most probably does it frequently.
I’ve been there. Hell, I’m still there. It’s tough knowing you have the capacity to do something, even if it’s not the most constructive.
4. Not listening to my body
It reached a point where I had to work out balls-to-the-walls every single workout to feel like I was growing. I always had something wrong with my body. My triceps are tight; my biceps are tweaked; my lower back is killing me; my knees ache. It’s a bunch of nonsense, and I can’t believe I lived like that.
Now, this one is a tough one to list. I made awesome strength gains and muscle gains by dirty-bulking; that is, eating as often and as much as possible to put on weight. I’ve always been a hard-gainer, so it worked in my favor. I got to be the heaviest I ever was by doing that; I ate great tasting food all the time, and loads of it. The only problem with that reality is things didn’t feel right. I felt full to bursting at every meal. It’s such a first-world problem; eating so much you hate it. I loved the food I was eating, don’t get me wrong. But about half-way through the meal, I’d have to give myself pep-talks to finish. That’s not right.
The accumulation of all this stuff leads me to where I am now. I’m constantly unsatisfied with one physical pursuit over another; I’m not lean enough; I’m not big enough; I’m not strong enough. So while I strive for one goal, I’m upset I’m not at another one. It’s surprisingly common for “gym rats” to feel this way.
However, I’m much better now. I’ve done a lot of self-reflection, and I’m also much more of a scholar in fitness than I ever was before. I understand the importance of mobility, proper form, proper nutrition, and the value of progression. I understand the most efficient ways to perform an exercise, and can understand when it’s being performed incorrectly. Most of all, I know to listen to myself. Right now my body’s trying to come back from all the ass-backwards stuff I did; namely, mobility and tearing. I may never be 100%, but at least I can assess and know when not to push my limits. It’s a good feeling, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to help people not make those mistakes before they start, too.