Gym culture is strange. It’s a different set of rules, etiquette and has its own sorts of characters. I can’t help but escape the classification of two of these characters as they really make up 90% of who I see and even who I train.
I have one question for you:
Are You A Supersoaker:
or A Damn Starfish:
Here’s one thing every guy knows: the worst women in bed are “starfishes!” They just lay on their back or lazily hop on top and basically do nothing. Like you owe it to them to bring them to orgasm, or that they’re doing you some big favor by letting you…whatever. Look, I’ll earn my keep, I’ll rock it like a porn star, YOU have to bring it too. For if you don’t want to…what the hell are you doing here?
Now, I’m not just picking on you ladies, as I’m about to point out, the metaphor above in relation to the topic at hand is mute. Most women train harder than their male counterparts any given day! Take the top woman of any sport, the top guy of any sport and put them through a strength & conditioning workout (if they have equal experience in such): the woman will leave the man begging for mercy.
So what the hell is this metaphor I’m talking about; this Supersoaker vs Starfish?
Let’s look to Urban Dictionary for the definition of a half-asser:
Someone who actively decides to do less than their best because either they don’t care
or they feel the task doesn’t deserve the time it would take to do a good job.
Okay, that’s simple enough. What about a Supersoaker…
Well, I’m going to make up my own definition here:
A Supersoaker is:
Someone who chooses to:
1) Show up for their workouts when they said they would
2) Performs a proper warm up and doesn’t rush it, nor do they take their sweet ass time. Warm ups are about efficiency. If you can’t get the warm up right, your workout is going to be just as disastrous (or even dangerous)!
3) Uses FULL range of motion
4) Understands when and how to apply strict form, “loose/bio-mechanically correct” form, and when you’re boarding on sloppy
5) When the thought pops in our head if we could possibly use more weight, or do more reps or control the negative more…we do that! We don’t question the question. What’s the worst that can happen?
6) We auto-regulate. I’m not a sheep. I follow a workout program but I adapt as needed with all the other guidelines above followed first. But if my shoulder is really hurting on the bench press today: switch the damn exercise for today. Try a dual cable standing chest press, letting your hands rotate as they want.
7) I may whine, but it’s really because I enjoy this madness we put ourselves through and I’m still getting it done
8) Our workout partners always remark how we’re always trying to find a way to make it harder
9) We thrive on the angst and anxiety of the coming leg day
10) We have leg days
THAT’S A SUPERSOAKER!
I’m also going to say that 60% of people in gyms across North America as Starfishes. The percentage is higher than my clients because those that seek out personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and the like at least intend to excel. They want more.
A few other things about Starfishes:
1) There is always an excuse why they haven’t reached their goals
2) They lack consistency
3) They never use the full range of motion because that would require too much effort or even the effort required to perform proper self myofascial release, dynamic mobility warm ups, stretching and therapeutic work (chiro, ART, massage, physio when injured) to be able to make their body be able to handle full range of motion.
4) It’s never their fault they don’t have the body or performance level they want
5) Their training session is more than 25% social. Look I talk a lot during my training, but it’s when I’m resting (the appropriate amount of time) but when it’s set time, it’s time to STFU and train! Don’t talk about social stuff to me during my set. If I look angry to you or pissed off, it’s because I’m working. I’m focused. You, on your cell phone, your buddy squatting and still able to carry a conversation while doing so; with his head cocked sideways none-the-less…You are Starfishes!
6) You don’t understand that training is about learning. Learning not only how to perform an exercise, but how an exercise affects your body, how your body moves, how it may be slipping into poor posture, alignment, dysfunction. There are no hunchback 6-year-olds.
7) They always chose to do the bare minimum number of reps in a given rep range
How do you think granny ended up like this:
A bunch of my clients are now going to proceed to get offended or freak out, wondering if I’m pointing the finger at them. Well, for 40% of you, I am. Now, it’s my job to point out when you’re not straightening your arm all the way, not squatting low enough, taking too much rest. But if I’ve told you 50+ times the same thing and you choose to ignore me. That’s cool, that’s your decision. I will stop you, of course, if you are going to injury yourself. But you get in, what you put in. And you’re the one paying for the session, so you’re the one governing how much you bring to the table in terms of effort and enthusiasm. You’ll know you’re a starfish if I’ve had to give you the same instruction more than 5 times in a session in regards to the same exercise.
A Supersoaker would stop and ask me how to they can better perform, understand and utilize the exercise in your program. A Supersoaker would keep their ears open, while performing a set just in case I need to cue you. If you had to annoyingly ask me “WHAT?!” during the set after my instructions, you weren’t paying attention. Zone in to what you’re doing, don’t zone out. Yea, I know it’s hard, it’s supposed to be.
For use trainers and coaches, the Supersoaker clientele is just as fun as the toy was when we were kids! They are the reason I do this job.
In conclusion: this thing we do and why we do it means different things to different people. There is ALWAYS going to be someone bigger, faster and stronger than YOU. That’s not what matters. You didn’t start working out to improve how good someone else is. This is about you. If you’re happy with your level of success in your health, fitness and/or sport performance endeavors, I’m happy for you.
You get in what you put in…so…are you a Starfish or a Supersoaker?