Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

Fitness Style Choices

No, I’m not talking about which leggings are hot and which ones are not. What I’m talking about specifically is the lifting choices people make when working out. In my years as a trainer, I often have found myself walking the gym floor, looking at patrons working out and wondering to myself, “Why are they choosing that way of lifting and not another way? What benefit are they getting specifically from lifting one way instead of another?” Weightlifting is a very personal thing when it comes to style choices and how people choose to lift weights. There are so many resources at everyone’s fingertips so finding ideas for your most effective workouts are relatively easy, all you really need is access to the internet. With that in mind, what weightlifting style is right for you?

With choosing a weightlifting style, you first have to look at what kind of physique you want to have. Are you a dancer? You want to look into things like Barre, Pilates and Yoga type workouts as well as stretching to assist with dancer-like movements during performances and practices. Are you an athlete? For which sport? If you have an athletic background, odds are that you already have enough knowledge about your individual sport that you know which type of training works for you and what doesn’t. For type.the run of the mill gym-goer who just wants to ‘be healthy’, knowing which type of training can be difficult, which is why it’s important to have in your mind a body type you wish to aspire to. Once you have that figured out, it’s important to research different types of workouts that are consistent with that particular body type. Body types are usually divided into three groupings: Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph.

  • Ectomorphs are long and lean, with little body fat, and little muscle. They have a hard time gaining weight. Fashion models and basketball players fit this category. While most of us love to hate these genetically-blessed individuals, some male ectomorphs may not be thrilled with their narrow-chested frames, and some female ectomorphs long for more womanly curves. Exs. – Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling
  • Endomorphs, on the other hand, have lots of body fat, lots of muscle, and gain weight easily. “Football lineman tend to be endomorphs — they’re heavier and rounder individuals.” “And they don’t have to necessarily be overweight. Ex.Chris Pratt
  • Mesomorphs are athletic, solid, and strong. “They’re not overweight and not underweight. They can eat what they want without worrying too much about it.” They both gain and lose weight without too much effort. Exs.Ryan Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg

Our body types are in a big way determined by our genetics and heredity, however, living a certain way and the foods that we eat do play a role as well. Since genetics are a major part of the puzzle when it comes to determining what your body can and can’t handle, you need to take that fact into consideration when practicing for a sport or training for size, speed and/or strength. NOTE: I am not saying don’t try, just be cognizant that the human body can only go so far in ways of physicality so don’t be shocked when you hit a plateau that seems impossible to get over. If you’re super determined, good for you! Fitness in itself is a personal journey and some people’s journeys just happen to be longer than others. If you get frustrated, instead of quitting, re-assess why you’re hitting roadblocks and then figure out a way to overcome them.

A lot of people have certain ways of lifting and depending on who you ask, their way is always the BEST way. In this age of having knowledge right at our fingertips, everybody is an expert in ways of lifting techniques, proper forms and dieting do’s and don’ts. What do I think? Well, for one, I think you need to do your own research. Search reputable sites and see where articles are being posted. Fake news is literally everywhere so make sure you do your due diligence and scan multiple sources before you try any diets or try certain lifts that may or may not hurt you in the gym.

Some exercises that people try in the gym may look cool but you don’t always know the stressors it’s putting on their body OR the lifting experience that that person may have. Needless to say, some exercises and ways of lifting are usually the result of a personal style choice or hey are purposely lifting that way. They might be trying something new or they night be showing off….regardless, don’t try everything you see for yourself because you may run the risk of getting hurt or winding up in the ER. I’ve worked with a lot of clients in the past who have said to me during our sessions about somebody lifting at the same time in the gym as us and how they wanted to try what the other person was doing. At some points, it’s as if I had to talk someone down from the ledge because they were so adamant in trying the lift, even if they were going to hurt themselves.

This goes without saying but if you’re not sure, do your research, try the lift under guidance from a trainer or a trusted friend first. You never want to perform a lift by yourself that you’ve never done before. People have their own ways of performing certain exercises and lifts in the gym and like i said, 95% of people performing lifts you’ve never seen before are a result of a purposeful style choice made by the lifter. If you’re curious as to why they do it a certain way, ask them. They may be able to give you value input into your own lifting style.

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John J. Schessler is a Pittsburgh-based Wellness Coach (HWC), Personal Trainer (NASM/NPTI-CPT), Orthopedics/Sports Injury Specialist and host of the podcast, “ManAlive!”, available on Apple Podcasts. He is also a Men’s Life Coach and works with clients on how to deal with emotional, physical and behavioral techniques to cope with men’s issues within society. If you have any questions or inquires concerning online or in person personal training, either call 412.925.4066 or email j.schessler@pghwellnesscoach.com.

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