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Back in the Gym after 10 Years - Includes common gym mistakes

Below - Its me - Anton Hedges Health, Fitness, Longevity Expert

If you've been following at all then you will probably know by now that even though I work within health & fitness for over 20 years, originally as a personal trainer although it has evolved to so much more over the years..

However, you will know that I personally haven't stepped foot inside a gym for almost ten years now possibly even longer

See, you don't actually need one, although I'm not knocking gyms if you that's your thing and not forgetting the social side

However, having recently spent some time living abroad, part of my (business) plan, I was back in a gym environment for the first time in OVER TEN YEARS

Usually whilst I'm away travelling I would (and enjoy) being creative with my exercise/workouts.

Bodyweight push ups and pull ups - Always a good pull up bar available if you keep your eyes open (local park etc) then you throw in the flexibility/mobility routines (stretch/tone and recover) walking and swimming etc it's usually enough, however, as this trip was for a good 3 months I decided to join the local gym and also out of curiosity as this was my first time back in a gym environment in OVER TEN YEARS

Above, its me again- Just getting creative at the local park in Kamala Beach Phuket Thailand

You see, the best gyms are plentiful and free, there are the all-access gyms already conveniently located in your neighbourhood. You've probably walked by this gym countless times without giving a second thought.

It's always open--never closes and if timed correctly it's always empty--and no contracts required.

In a playground there's almost always some type of pipe or pole enabling various pulls and with a little imagination you can get yourself a whole-body workout!

So, yep you don't actually need a gym or loads of exercise and boring diets to build muscle/tone, torch fat, and remove pain - strong good looking- pain free body as all the people using my system are discovering and with rapid results

Back in the day I worked in a variety of gyms and I also set up my business (in some else's facility - first bad move) within a budget gym before moving to a corporate style (another HUGE mistake with those scumbags) and I even thought that you could only really get full benefits from being in a gym..

Fast forwards 20 years of experience, research, investment, study, and failure I am now of the conclusion I'm still not that fond of gyms having moved away from them, some 10 years ago, when one I was renting from closed unexpectedly. This alongside some of these experiences led me to actually just do some coaching in the local park for a while.

This also pushed me more towards movement (functional) style patterns and routines, that I was working towards anyway. Incorporating a blend of bodyweight exercise/moves alongside dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX, Olympic rings etc

Moving and training functional how the body is designed to move - back and forth, side to side, and rotationally as opposed to the traditional 'isolated' gym routines and machines for example isolating arm day that has no functional or usable cross over to any activity (or sport) which is why these tend to lead to imbalances that cause pain (elbows, shoulders, and the common back pain etc) and it also takes a lot of gym time to maximise these results, which is fine IF this is something you enjoy.

Also, if you are a bodybuilder then of course you will need to train this way so it comes back to your clarity of what you really want and why but for the average man/woman (myself included) who just wants to tone up, lose fat (weight) remove pain (not add to those imbalances) this model really is broken, especially if you are over the age of 40

Learn more about why this system is different here:

This was why these 'gym' routines (twice weekly) incorporated my similar 'movements' including a total body mobility warm up (improve mobility improve performance and stay pain free) followed by pull ups and push ups some bodyweight and then kettlebell squats and lunges.

I then had a play on a few machines, just because I hadn't for years as they dictate your movement patterns before then returning to the kettlebell for some strength and conditioning work - builds muscle, burns fat, irons out imbalances and improves USABLE strength and agility before finishing with some extra abs or chin ups and the all important cool down for relaxation in body and mind!

I'm also not dictated by bias, I will DO the stuff I dislike. I keep an element of intensity and apart from the timer tracking I won't look or use my phone during this time, for me - time of focus or my 'me time'

The fact I also still seeing the majority of gym goers, all over the world, doing the majority of the same mistakes means not much has changed in the last 10 years, from the woman's weight loss brigade just smashing out cardio machines but scared to do any resistance work, ask yourself where do you see the people with the best bodies in gyms?

There not smashing out endless cardio!

Then there's the meatheads and wannabe alphas with there cute gloves, tight wifebeater tops, with the big biceps but even bigger bellies, avoiding cardio or any kind of beneficial intensity, throwing the weights around and thinking their special because they are fat, sorry big...

And even those that are a bit more humble, you'll still see them come in smash out their biceps, usually front of body bias for guys, what they can see, leaving even more imbalances, before then attempting chest having just knackered their arms out

I also notice that there is usually a lack of focus and intensity, I'm not talking about ruining yourself, you know where people sit on a bike hardly breaking a sweat whilst on their phones.

Or just taking selfies or should I say MANIPULATING selfies for the social likes.

Other common gym mistakes include:

>Not warming up - Correctly or at all (and cool downs)

>Random workout - No plan or direction

>Consistency - See above

>Intensity & Bias - Examples also given

>Staying hydrated

>Improper Form/Technique

>Not tracking progress

>Consuming supplements that are not needed (another blog post)

>Overtraining - Workouts too long and brutal (or short) no rewards in ruining yourself every time you exercise

>Muscles over movement - That's down to your belief system as of course traditional weight lifting has been around years and has it's place is done correctly and within a structured balanced plan.

I could go on but you get the idea.

Below, back in the gym in Phuket Thailand, for the first time in about 10 years. See these guys just sat around playing on their phones with little or no intensity within their routines regardless of the fact this isn't really a high end gym...

Or perhaps you've seen them just sat hogging machines and equipment between their 'sets' and some of these high end gyms?

Thing is, modern life is high on entitlement and we crave/love comfort.

We love state of the art practice facilities, oak panelled corner offices, spotless changing rooms, and fluffy towels. Which is a shame, because luxury is a motivational narcotic: It signals our unconscious minds to give less effort.

It whispers, Relax, you've made it. Comfort breeds contempt!

Anyhow, with regards to this type of traditional training and a more usable functional approach...

AL KAVADLO - Who is a well known coach in the calisthenics world, tells guys over 40 to forget about getting big - unless you already have a 6-pack - As it is so much harder to gain muscle at this age, however, if you look to lose body fat (ripped) you will naturally look 'bigger' anyway.

Now if I was to use a kettlebell, for example, and complete a 10-15 minute total body strength and conditioning routine a couple of times each week this offers a bigger bang for your buck in building real 'usable' strength FAST, as opposed to 1-2 hours of those traditional routines, because agility is more 'usable' than brute force alone

(so again, it all comes back to what is it you really want?)

Yet my experience of being back in this gym after so long was I didn't see one person actually use a kettlebell correctly as in not one person (apart from myself) did any kettlebell swings, such an amazingly beneficial functional exercise

Let alone any other KB exercises or movement patterns, which meant this area was never overly busy, although I did see some people make interesting attempts, but no the majority were all doing the 'traditional' stuff as mentioned above

The Health & Fitness industry now recognizes more integrated movement patterns that show how we actually create movement. This isn’t a difference in semantics but takes into the account the powerful role of the nervous system.

The inter-muscular coordination (how muscles work together to create a movement) that improves with more functionally based movements is what professionals believe creates better development in all around fitness.

Outwardly, isolated (or bodybuilding style) would seem like a very solid look at strength training movements.

That is the problem. We look at movements often as what is done in the weight room and not the demands needed outside of the weight room.

While the above is good, it can be much better.

Being strong is not just about muscle building. Just because you have strong individual muscles, doesn’t necessarily mean your whole body is strong. Often disproportionately strong muscles end up working against you. You might be strong at lifting a dumbbell, but what happens when you need to climb over an object or wrestle an opponent?

To truly become strong we need to embody its deeper meaning. To embody strength is to be connected to your body and mind, so they work efficiently as ‘one muscle.’

The body really is a complex system made up of many chains. These chains, when they are working well, help us move better, produce more force, and create more speed. However, when there is a weak link in the chain we often don’t address the chains, but rather the muscles and a very general movement pattern.

Just something to consider, especially if you are making some of these common gym mistakes, or and not happy with your current results and reality compared to effort ratio...

Want to learn more about these systems and so you can optimise your result and overall wellbeing with or without the gym? Grab my free personal blueprint here:


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