Why Group Training is Life
Backstory: Bro, I’ve done it all. I was a bodybuilder (13-20yo), Powerlifter (20-22), Crossfitter (23-now), Weightlifter (27-now).
I learned so much from bodybuilding.com back in 2006/2007 - I would dive so deep down rabbit holes of isolation training, burnouts, supersets, grand sets, drop sets, isometric holds, negative training.. The list goes on. The excitement was in the pump. As Arnold says, “it's like I’m coming” and it kept me addicted because no matter how big you get, you'll never be as big as you wish you were, but you keep trying anyway.
Then I found Louis Simmons during my Sophomore year of college and read every single article that man put out. I even bought some of the Russian Training books he used in his research. I advise you NOT to read that shit. Here’s an excerpt for example.
WTF does that even mean?
For real though, read Louis’s stuff - it’s easy to understand and it’s free. He’s developed a powerlifting training system based on science and it’s used by every top powerlifter in the world, no exceptions. This guy is an OG of the powerlifting community and was probably the biggest influence in it’s growth in the US. www.westside-barbell.com
With powerlifting, I had fun training for something. In college, I started a powerlifting club, wrote the program and trained 3 athletes at the campus gym. I really enjoyed coaching the details of the conjugate system to new lifters and nerding out on strength progressions, force velocity curve measurements, special exercise implementations and GPP conditioning. Such fun.
However, I went to a few powerlifting gyms and didn’t quite find it very enjoyable. I was the smallest, weakest person there and I never had a desire to build a huge gut so I couldn't relate to many of them. I also missed the higher intensity workouts I did when I was a wrestler & bodybuilder.
Ok - now let’s get into how I made the transition from a lone wolf to finding a pack.
I was became an alcoholic and used drugs way more than I care to admit. I was a 22 year old living in San Francisco with a good friend and we were both making $$$ and being irresponsible. We had fun, but it wasn’t happiness. Fun and happiness are very different i’ve come to realize but that’s a different topic.
After 10 months of reckless behavior I got a new job and tried out a new gym. A functional fitness training gym. I did a workout with 3 other guys and a girl and I lost to the girl. She destroyed me. I was hooked. WHY though?
This was huge for me. I love being competitive, but I don’t like confrontation. I’m ok with losing, it excites me and lights a fire under my ass to work harder. Something about not being the best helps me work harder. There’s never any hard feelings, anger or aggression and I love that. If I wanted anger and aggression, there are plenty of other places I can go to find it. The gym is my sanctuary and where i come to find peace. A lion doesn’t go to his pride and become stressed out by other lions.
MEET NEW PEOPLE
I needed to surround myself with people that took their health seriously. This was very important to me. I wasn’t getting it at home or work and I wasn’t happy, instead I drank and partied because they drank and partied. Once I started this program I found people that were also excited about turning their bodies into powerful engines of endless capabilities. The funny thing is, most of these people drank like a fish and ate donuts all the time, but never gave you grief if you didn’t. It was almost like they did this high intensity exercising JUST to feel OK about partying so much. It was the best of both worlds really.
NO THINK JUST DO aka BOREDOM
I don’t come to the gym to break a mental sweat. I’m not a mathlete trying to figure out how many reps and sets i need to do to achieve a quickly fading pump. It was nice to have someone else think of the best workout based on a larger cycle of athletic development over the course of a year. That means strength progressions and metabolic conditioning phases that building upon each other. This is my zen time. Tell me what to do and say go. Thinking time is over, time to DO.
BICEPS ARE GOOD BUT EDUCATION IS GOODER
I learned a shit ton of stuff I never thought was possible with a coach. Weightlifting and Gymnastics training opened a whole new world of fitness capabilities I never knew were attainable. I learned how to stretch myself, fix muscle imbalances and strengthen muscle deficiencies. I learned how to fix pains in my body and i learned important mental fortitude principles to help me through tough situations. I love learning new things related to human movement and potential. It’s fascinating.
Having someone fix my form was monumental to my success for pain free exercise. Mirrors don’t do justice because you probably don’t know what good form even looks like, especially if you’re learning form from every other uneducated / uncoached lifter at the local planet fitness. DO NOT USE THEIR FORM AS A GUIDELINE TO POSITION!!!!! You will definitely hurt yourself. It’s not a question of IF - it’s a matter of WHEN. Plus, when you look in the mirror your form immediately changes.
All together, the Coaching, Learning, People, Competition and Progress I got in Group Training kept me coming back for more. This shit if for everyone, it doesn’t matter what your fitness level is. I workout with people that have never exercised before and people like me, that consider themselves fitness connoisseurs.
If you don’t think it’s right for you, please tell me why - I am genuinely curious and want to learn more about what motivates, inspires and challenges you. Please comment or message me with your thoughts!
If you’ve made the switch, please tell me why you took the leap and what benefits you’ve seen from it!
Thanks for reading!