Our world is a vast hybrid of numbers: How much do you make? How many dates have you had? How many clubs can you get in? What’s your dress size? For many, the number seems to justify a person’s real value as a human being. Indeed, it is often the higher the number and not its true quality that is mistakenly rewarded. While the number is arguably important to everyone, it is interesting to note its differences amongst the sexes.
For women, the smaller the number, the seemingly better it is. As it pertains to body fat percentage, dress size, conquests and overall body weight, the less the number, the more ideal. For men, the higher the number on the bench press, arm measurement, conquests or downed hamburgers, the seemingly higher their status as men. Never mind the fact that most of these men are using their anterior deltoids, triceps and even erectors on the bench press to move the weight instead of the intended pectoral muscles. So while the number of their bench press may seem higher, the actual development to the intended muscle is not.
Concerning my own training and that of my clients’, the number has always been a means to an end. It has never been the scale or particular weight of a dumbbell that has motivated me but rather how my clothes fit and what the mirror tells me. It is imperative that the proper targeted muscles are firing (working) and not ancillary (unless specified) muscles coming into play like reinforcements in a war to complete said repetitions.
Furthermore, the usage and reliance on numbers seems too machine-like and exacting when it is the flawed human body we are dealing with which adapts to different stimuli in countless and sometimes unforeseeable ways. This is not to say one should not enter the gym with a clear goal and plan in mind as they should but one should be open to new and sometimes more effective ways of arriving at their goals.
In my own role as personal trainer I am often posed the question “Do you make up the exercises as you go along?” My answer is similar to that of a professional wrestler: know thy outcome but how you get there is based on an educated and somewhat improvisational way of arriving at said destination. Furthermore, it is a "less is more" philosophy that allows an experienced athlete to accomplish in just 1 or 2 sets what a neophyte lifter may do in 4 or 5. Just as a carpenter may hammer in a nail in one effective shot, the hardened gym-goer can generate more intensity in one set than his or her less capable peers may do in more. Like a well-placed smart bomb, it is this “keeping it honest” mentality of placing tension on the muscles at hand that will result in more muscle hypertrophy and ultimately, results!
The number is seemingly so important; my own health insurance has me paying more because of it. The BMI or Body Mass Index is used to measure a person’s healthy body weight based on their height. Developed in the mid 1800‘s, my main issue with this system is this number does not seem to tell us what is muscle, fat or even water in its composition and so a lower BMI measurement (to them) represents health. Generally speaking, people are heavier and more muscular nowadays; this will likely raise one’s BMI level. In my own case, my 228 lean pounds on my 5 foot 9 inch frame (to them) represents borderline obesity. I’d hate to think how “obese” they’d declare Mr. Olympia who routinely walks around weighing in the 275-pound range WHILE carrying a single digit body fat percentage.
In my opinion this outdated way of thinking needs to be reexamined and it begins with replacing words such as skinny and thin - which implies an emaciated state and is completely unhealthy, with lean and muscular. We must stay away from the scale for it does not break down one’s true lean body mass and instead embrace the mirror and the feeling of one’s clothes as true indicators of one’s current shape.
Women in particular would do well to celebrate and to be celebrated their wondrous curves and maximize their own voluptuous bodies rather than try to exercise, diet away or even surgically remove their God-given shape and very defining feminine characteristics in the first place. Put down those emaciated magazines and star tabloids celebrating the skinny and withered and pick up the weights ladies! Remember, one can not alter their genetic shape - if you have hips, embrace them for they are here to stay - you merely have the power to maximize your shape by keeping those hips lean. GET ON IT!
In closing, the only numbers one should be concerned with are mine in making your appointment!
For those who’ve not yet experienced the awesome intensity, focus and results, be sure to come in to Gold’s Gym Hollywood for your free workout on me!
Yours in Health,
310 775 3771