The thing I like most about the gyms I train in are the number of different disciplines people follow. I see Powerlifters, Bodybuilders, runners, cyclists, rowers, crossfitters, olympic lifters and people just after general fitness and wellbeing. On the back of an article I read (written by Christian Thibadeau) on what we can learn from Crossfit, I thought I’d write something more general about what we can learn from each other:
Powerlifters – I think the biggest takeaway from powerlifters,females in particular is that lifting weights doesn’t mean you’ll get all big, bulky and masculine. Sure, there are some monsters lifting crazy weights, but there are also some very strong lifters(both male and female) who do not look like some muscle bound gorilla.
Bodybuilders – If you want to look good and drop bodyfat, you need to get to know where you are with your food. This doesn’t necessarily mean weighing every last gram of every meal like bodybuilder dieting for a competition, it just means you need to track your food for a while to determine roughly how much you currently consume. This allows you to determine how to improve choices and reduce caloric intake that will allow you to lose fat without doing anything drastic.
Runners, Cyclists and Rowers – having cardio fitness is important for the vast majority of us. It’s all well and good being big and strong and/or ripped with a body that could grace the latest copy of Men’s Health, but if you get out of breath just running for the bus or having a kick about with your kid, that’s not going to go well long term. Don’t be afraid of doing some cardio. I mean proper cardio, that taxes your heart and lungs, not just fuel work plodding away to burn calories.
Crossfitters– hard work (blatantly stolen from Christian’s article). You can argue the pros and cons of crossfit as a whole ‘til the cows come home, but one thing you can’t deny is that they aren’t afraid to work hard. Just watch the participants leave a class – covered in sweat and flushed. Doing every wrist curl and chest fly combination won’t make a blind bit of difference if you don’t put proper work in instead of just going through the motions.
Olympic lifters – practice, practice, practice. Technique is important when you exercise. Doing something with poor technique over and over again will not only be unproductive in terms of training goals, but can be outright dangerous and lead to injury. Take the time to perfect what you are doing, don’t just chuck on as much weight as possible to satisfy your ego.
General trainers – Those of us who follow one or more of the disciplines above would do well to remind ourselves of the biggest benefit to everything we do in our training – improved health. This should be at the core of what we do (elite athletes aside), don’t use your‘sport’ as an excuse to become or stay unfit. Never look down on someone out of shape who steps in to the gym and takes their first tentative steps on the treadmill – we all started somewhere, people need to be encouraged to do this not berated, mocked or humiliated.
So there we go, it doesn’t matter what your goals are, there is always something to learn from someone else, after all, we all share one goal and are here for the same basic thing – to improve.