The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule in Art of Anatomy is simple:
Train your muscles, not your ego!
If you’re training for a goal physique, it is paramount to train your muscles in an efficient manner. Training efficiency is reduced if you begin to prioritize the amount of weight lifted over everything else (read Muscle Hypertrophy and Progressive Overload to learn more).
Ego-lifting is the term used to describe someone who is prioritizing heavy weight ahead of factors that are more important (e.g., safety and efficiency). It’s most commonly associated with poor movement patterns, altered range of motion, poorly proportioned muscle growth, difficulties with developing muscle shape, or in the worst case, injuries and other physical ailments.
Check your ego at the door when you enter the gym; bodybuilding is not a competition of weight lifted. If comparing strength is something you care to do, try powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or strong (wo)man competitions.
Ego-lifting is a recipe for injury. The combination of less-than-optimal movement and heavier, usually inappropriate resistance can place your joints, muscles, and tendons at risk.
Prioritizing safe and biomechanically efficient movement patterns will drastically reduce your risk of injury. These safe and efficient movement patterns will all be taught in the Art of Anatomy program.
This part of The Golden Rule is rather self-explanatory: if you want to build your muscles, you need to appropriately train your muscles. You need to check your ego and worry only about yourself and your training. The biggest ego trap is feeling like you need to lift heavier weights than someone else.
This notion is invalid because the term heavy is subjective and varies from person-to-person, through different training modalities, and across different exercises. Plus, research has shown that muscle strength and muscle mass are not directly correlated.
Additionally, lifting weight that’s too heavy will reduce your efficiency as you’ll be wasting energy and nutrients on muscles you weren’t specifically targeting (e.g., using more of your deltoids and triceps vs. your pectoralis major on a bench press). An appropriate resistance will allow you to focus on your target muscle(s), thereby maximizing your efficiency and growth potential.
Maintain your focus
The worst thing you can do is look around the gym and compare the amount of weight you use to the amount of weight other people use. It doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing, and nobody at the gym actually cares about your workout(s); most people are focused on their own—which you should be, too.
There are many factors for why someone else may be using a different weight than you for the same exercise. Perhaps they have different goals; maybe their genetics (anatomy and/or physiology) allow for greater strength; maybe they have no idea what they are doing!
At the end of the day, you need to focus on your own workouts and train your muscles. Check your ego at the door. There is no place for ego in Art of Anatomy.
Continue the basics