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Advice Isn’t Always Appreciated

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When I’m working out I usually am so focused on my workout that I don’t really pay much attention to whats going on around me.  But it’s really not hard seeing someone who either has no idea what they are doing or just has bad form.  If you are just going through the motions or not using good form while training, don’t expect to make any gains.  And there is a good chance that you are going to hurt yourself.

I do have people come up to me and ask me for advice, which I’m happy to give them.  In all honestly, I much rather do it when I’m done with my workout, but I have no problem taking the time to help someone out in the gym.  On the other hand, advice isn’t always appreciated, when you are just handing it out to someone.  I remember about 15 years ago I was training at a local YMCA in Maryland.  There was a women who was working out.  She was wearing hiking boots with cut off jeans and a plaid button up shirt.  Since I am not a fashion consultant, I didn’t comment on what she was wearing.  If the clothes weren’t a dead give away that she had never been in a gym, the way she was lifting was a give away.  I figured that I would be a nice guy and I said something along the lines of, “You should control the weight and slow it down.”  She didn’t even look at me.  She just started slamming the weights.  I guess I motivated her to lift hard.  Or that was her way of saying “Go F… Yourself”.

One of the things that I have learned (not just related to working out) is that even if you are an expert on something, people don’t like to be told that they are doing something wrong.  Not everyone appreciates unsolicited advice.  If you decide that you are going to give someone unsolicited advice, approach them in a way where they don’t feel like you are telling them that they are doing it wrong.  No matter what, the lady in the hiking boots would have reacted the same way.  If I decide to make a suggestion to someone, I will usually say one of a few things.  “Excuse me do you mind if I give you some tips, which will help you focus more on your rear delt?”  or “Excuse me, you might want to try that a different way to help increase your bench.”  Now they don’t hear you are saying, “Hey man, your form sucks.”  In some cases they aren’t doing anything wrong but they could improve their gains with different exercises or exercises done a different way.

Yesterday, I was at the gym and there were two kids who were about 15.  They were doing some seated lateral raises and their form could use some help.  I decided to offer it.  It made a big difference right away with their lift and when they got it down, they asked me if I could make some suggestions about how to work their rear delts.  If I didn’t say anything, there is a good chance that they would have trouble reaching their gym goals for a long time.  I’m not saying I fixed their entire training program, but I hope it made a difference for them.

When you reach your goals, it’s always nice to help others reach theirs.


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