I could not sleep tonight at my designated time for sleep that I never adhere to, so I decided to write the post about what I have noticed at my weight room for the past few weeks. This is probably not representative to the total population of Christians, but at least with the ones that I have interacted with, it seemed like the majority would fit the trend. So without further ado, Christians, do you even lift bro?
The basic trend that I have noticed in my recent years interacting with Christians in the weight room is that most of them do not know how to lift weights properly. Now, I have seen people in general doing the same thing at the gym. If you go to a gym at a fairly popular time you will no doubt see at least one person that you can tell has not lifted for very long. The characteristics of these gym noobs are usually as follows:
- Terrible form
- Which leads to using higher weights than they should have
- This is mainly because when you first start off lifting, you will not be the strongest in the gym. No one ever is a professional the first day they start something, so why do they try to prove they are?
- Odd exercises
- They often will employ weird exercises that look cool, but may not necessarily be beneficial at all to their goals.
- Their routine split makes no sense
- They will mix different exercises without a set theme to the day (arm day, push day, pull day, legs, etc.)
- Their rep ranges are also out of whack. They often will be seen doing tons of curls hoping that that will some one “tone” their arms.
I am sure I can think of other characteristics for spotting someone new or that has no idea what to do, but I will just keep it as those for now.
What implications does this have? Why should I care if people do not know how to lift? Am I just being a judgmental jerk that feels superior to everyone else in the gym? NO! I generally care about people’s knowledge on weight lifting for many reasons. The most important reason why I care should also be their reason to care as well, I do not want people to get hurt. Often have I seen new lifters in the gym that have not researched the correct form, nor consulted a more experienced member on how to do the lifts correctly, often take large weight and try and lift it. This is largely why I do not like cross fit. I find it to be quite worrisome when someone decides to pick up dumbbells that are either higher than the ones that I do, or not far from them, and then try to lift them. Often they are cheating and using horrible form in order to lift the weight, which to them might give them a sense of accomplishment since “they can lift as much as this big dude,” but honestly, this is dangerous and an issue with their pride. Many times I am always tempted to use horrid form in my curls just so that the guys next to me don’t show me up lifting more, but with horrible form. That is a pride issue for me. Of course I want to look strong, but that will not get me the correct workout that I wanted, and I could seriously hurt myself. If you want to see an intense consequence of what can happen in the weight room, just look up bicep tear videos and notice the guys that are trying to lift super heavy weights with bad form. Here’s an example.
Another reason why I care for these people is because with proper education on how to lift and workout with weights, they will be much more successful in attaining their goals. There are so many benefits to lifting weights, but it gets disheartening to see people come in and due to pride, not educate themselves, and then either not get the results fast enough or decide lifting is not for them. Who would not benefit from a little bit more muscle? Or a stronger core? Or a higher metabolic rate?
Now, I would be lying if I said that some of this care I have is due to it annoying me to see it. I find it irritating when I see someone with bad form lifting and thinking they are doing well. I find it irritating when someone uses a weight belt for everything instead of leaving it to the heavy lefts that require core stabilization. If this does not make you feel annoyed, I do not know what will. Here is another one. Why can people not just lower the weight and practice full range of motion with proper form?
All of that was me explaining why I care about people learning how to lift properly without touching the topic of the post. Well here it is, with my past interactions with Christians, it seems like many of them do not know how to lift. I do not think that as college aged students, we are any less susceptible to the sin of Pride. I think we often care a lot about our image and we do not want to look bad. We therefore will try to compensate by acting like we know what we are doing and try to seem like we are experienced. As Christians, I think we need to stop this and swallow our pride.
In years past, I have seen groups of Christians come into the gym only to not know what to do once they are there. They will do curls for maybe a set, and squats on the smith machine, then after 15 minutes they are off to the elliptical machines. Many follow programs that are often riddled with broscience or routines that have been shown not to work. The closest thing I could call it would be like a pinterest workout routine where you do high reps and low weight. I have noticed guys come in and pick up weight that is obviously not starting weight for the lift they are about to do. Then they use bad form and cheat by rocking their body or using half reps. Now why does it matter?
I have a theory about this. It is not a bad thing in all honesty. The trend that Christians do not know how to workout might be because they have not focused on vain things as much. Seeing Christians obviously being new to lifting in college showed me that many have not cared to become more attractive by the standards of Western society. This is a good thing. Often I struggle with my self image hoping to become a blazing hot, male model, because I feel the pressure from society. I feel that I need to achieve this fitness model look in order for me to be more attractive, thus leading to a higher chance of getting the girls (a large influence in my life). But with these Christians, I have seen that this may not have been their struggle. This is great for them! Later on, they may be more concerned about this. It could be because now they are getting more concerned about relationships and marriage. They might want to be as attractive physically for the person they marry so that one that wedding night, there will be quite the surprise! Or it also could be that the society’s pressures might be starting to push at them. That I suggest because of the focus that the female population puts toward glute and leg workouts.
Now there are exceptions to this trend and I will discuss them a bit. I am the first exception. By including myself, I mean to say that those that were not raised Christian or did not have the focus of Christian values definitely had society shape their motivations. I did not have anything pushing me back from wanting to be more aesthetically pleasing so I could get more women. 4 years ago, my motivations changed. Now I was Christians and my focus has shifted to a more God centered motivation. It does not mean I have to stop working out. I know it is good for me, and I do want to look good for the woman I marry, but I definitely have put less attention on working out since my freshman year.
The next exception are those that were in a sport that included weight lifting, or they were in a class that taught the fundamentals of weight training. These are more often the exceptions I see at the gym that do know how to lift. I am part of this exception as well due to my football and track involvement. So Christians could have been in these activities and learned how to lift.
Another exception are the Christians that may actually have been pushed by the pressures of society. They may now be working out and learned properly how to do so because they want to pursue the vain desire of physical attractiveness.
My last exception, which is definitely just the last that I thought about off the top of my head, are the people that just picked up weight lifting and genuinely enjoy it. I have not met a Christian like this, but I know many people like to workout for the endorphins or also from the feeling of a job accomplished. Like collecting stamps might be someone’s hobby, fitness could be someone else’s.
These are probably not all the possible exceptions to Christians that do know how to lift, but are just ones that I thought about. In the end, I think everyone should try it out and see if they like it. I encourage people to learn about the proper form, routines, and research, then give it an honest try. It will not only benefit them, it could also prevent injury.
“Christians, do you even lift, bro? Oh yeah, that’s right, you probably were not concerned about the pressures of the world to have cared.”