I’m talking about checking our egos at the front door before walking into a gym. The biggest thing that stands in our way for optimum health is our own self. It’s going to be hard to do, because as a member of the iron lifting community, I love to lift heavy weights and put them down. Occasionally, I might have to flex a pose in the mirror after a heavy set, ‘Yeah, check out these guns!’

In all seriousness, the reason we train is to get fit, stronger, leaner and for overall health. In order to train correctly we need to focus on proper form. Proper form will allow a particular movement to focus on the specific muscle you are training. If our form is off, then your body might compensate by incorporating secondary muscle groups to complete the task, which becomes counterproductive. This usually occurs if the weight is too heavy. Unless you’re a competitive power lifter, your focus shouldn’t be about how much weight you can lift. It should be about how much weight you can lift properly with repetition.

Getting strong

If you want to get big, you need to be strong! This is where proper strength training comes into play. Getting stronger will come with time. If you’re consistent with putting in the work, eating right, and getting enough rest, your body will flourish. One big enemy that robs the body of its true potential is alcohol. If you’re trying to pack on muscle, steer clear of the booze. (See previous blog about how alcohol destroys gains)

Drop those heavy ego weights!

There’s no need to do a 1RM (One rep max) every time you’re training a particular muscle group. This does not create hypertrophy (muscle growth) and only leads to injury. I’m sure you’ve seen or heard the stories of people snapping a bicep, pec, or other muscle trying to reach a world record. This is only feeding the ego. Does anyone really care how much you can lift anyway? You have to constantly check that ego when your form is less than textbook.

Getting the most out of a work out

Concentrate on all three movements of an exercise in order to enforce proper form:

1) Concentric: (positive movement where the muscles shorten)

2) Eccentric (negative movement where the muscles lengthen)Remember slow and steady on the negative. You’ll get the most out of a movement with the eccentric.

3) Isometric (tension in the muscles without contacting) One second of time under tension usually equates to one set of a concentric rep.

The muscles are blind and don’t know how much weight you’re lifting. You still want to lift heavy while contracting those muscles with the most amount of tension. If you want to push through some plateaus and lift heavier, your focus should be 85% of your 1RM for 6-8 reps.

**Bernau Bodies tip of the week – Remember to stretch out those muscles after you’re done lifting! Never before! Stretching a cold muscle is bad news. Warm up the muscles by starting an exercise with light weight and higher reps.

The more you know, the more you grow…

Feel free to contact me or Stephanie if you’re thinking of starting a new fitness/nutrition plan. Bernau Bodies is the only place where you get two trainers for the price of one!


Jamie Bernau

Personal Trainer, on-line coach

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