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Old 04-18-2013, 09:41 PM   #1
Reedo302
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Teenagers and Newb Lifters: Mentoring vs Unsolicited Advice?

Normally I have a personal philosophy that no matter how much someone's form and activity in the gym hurts to look at, I mind my own business and keep my mouth shut. Sometimes I'm looking at people doing incredibly stupid stuff and I can't help but stare in disbelief and shake my head. There are people in the gym who are in their 30's and 40's who go there on a "regular-ish" basis who do really stupid stuff, and I am just going to leave them alone. Those guys have been in there long enough to see people doing stuff the right way, so they have no one to blame for their inability to actually do things like a low enough squat or to fully extend open their arm while doing curls.

In contrast, I occasionally see teenagers in there, as well as some newbs. With school about to end, they're going to be in there for the summer; or at least for the first couple weeks before they slack off. Some kids I see in there in their groups doing stuff they learned in school, other stuff they are obviously trying to do that they learned online. The non-teenager newbs are there and they do stuff like randomly do shrugs for no reason, rolling their shoulders. Their workouts all make no sense because they're so random, or they're trying to cram a whole upper body or lower body workout into 60 minutes. Two weeks ago during spring break, there were two guys doing squats and they were putting on decent weight, but then I saw them do squats and they were only going down about 6-8". Horrible.
We've all seen these guys, and they're at every gym.

SO...what are you guys' thoughts on whether to say something, or let it be. I wouldn't mind mentoring some of these kids, because occasionally one will come up to me and ask me something about what I am doing or what I take for supps (I always tell them protein, vitamins and lots of food, because they don't need to worry about supps yet). I think some of them could benefit from proper advice. On the other hand, I don't wanna be "that guy" that goes around trying to give unsolicited advice to everyone.

Thoughts? Opinions?
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:47 PM   #2
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I helped a couple teens out with their deadlifts a couple weeks ago since they also saw me deadlifting... and I guess they talk amongst eachother. Since then I've helped about 10 so far with their squat form (too much weight, not going down enough, not straight back etc), and deadlift form. They've just come up and asked me to watch and explain.

I've gone out of my way once to tell someone they were doing something very wrong, and it didn't really work out well. So I don't bother anymore, and everyone is watching what you are doing... if you are regular enough you will be approached I think.

I saw a teenager trying to impress a girl, he threw on two plates and she goes "you can't squat that?!" and he said "wanna bet".. then proceeded to go about a quarter of the way down and struggle back up lol. Didn't say a word.

I know personally I can only wish I had a mentor back in the day, I would be so much further ahead than I am now. It's been a long, individual road for me.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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When I was in the Army it was a team effort with a couple buddies. I've been on my own for years now. I would hope that some are watching me, solely for the fact that I really try to do my best to have good form and do things right for maximum benefit.
Some I'm not going to approach because for them it's just them showing off and being social, so it'd be pointless. Others, I want to walk up and go "hey guys, I noticed you guys ______, would you mind if I made an observation?" or "I noticed you guys were going about 1/4-1/2 way down on squats. Are you guys trying to do that new half-squat fad that popped up?".

But again, I just don't wanna be a dick about it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
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I think if you notice the ones who you can tell are trying to take it seriously, they would be all game for pointers. I know someones serious about lifting I see them doing a deadlift for instance (in my opinion). Very rare thing at gyms nowadays
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:13 PM   #5
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I just keep it to myself. (This thread is like the "calling out someones Fake M thread lol)
Over time they'll learn if they observe.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:47 AM   #6
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i'll help someone out if they're doing something blatently wrong, so much so that they're practically embarrassing themselves. if it's just little things (e.g. not slightly arching your back when you bench), i just leave it alone.

for example, there was a group of teens deadlifting at my gym last month that were so awful that i just had to help them. these kids would bring up the bar to their kneecaps, and because their knees were in the way of the bar going straight up, they would hunch over further, bring the bar forward and up in a semicircular direction to get around their knees, and then drag it up their thighs. it was atrocious, and the kids really appreciated my help.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reedo302 View Post
Normally I have a personal philosophy that no matter how much someone's form and activity in the gym hurts to look at, I mind my own business and keep my mouth shut.
I'm of the same opinion. I have been approached a few times though by random people who ask for my help / opinion. I'm not gonna lie, it is flattering when someone else notices and acknowledges your hard work.

It's hard to not watch people with horrible form though... You can't help but stare and wonder. I've had to jump in a few times to save people from being crushed by the BB during a bench press, but other than that, I don't go out of my way to comment on anyone's workout. Granted I'd only be trying to help, most people will get offended by that.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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I think most of it is the way you approach the person. If you go in saying "hey dude, you're doing that all wrong.. Here, let me show you how it's done", they'll probably become offended, and think you're a know-it-all prick.

With that said, I'll pretty much offer advice to some of the "newb" regulars, who I'm on casual speaking terms with. Their form usually isn't too terrible anyway, I just offer to help critique it. They're usually pretty cool with that, since sometimes it's tough to tell what your form REALLY looks like.

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Old 04-19-2013, 05:33 PM   #9
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This is an area that I struggle with as well. I try not to be that guy giving the unsolicited advice, but there are occasions where I feel that it is my duty to step in and issue a word of caution (..along with a requisite gem of advice). Much like many of the experiences mentioned here, I've witnessed near death experiences where the barbell bench press is concerned, bosu ball barbell squats (...God I feel like that kid is going to f@ck himself up something terrible one day if he EVER slips off of that f@cking ball), rounded back dead lifts that would make your mother cringe, etc. In those moments, I provide inside and hopefully stimulate corrective action before one of these people ends up rehabilitating tore muscles/ligaments or something worse. I've had many people ask me the same questions about supplementation, workout strategies, etc., and like Reedo and a few others have stated, my replies are generally linked with whole foods, barbell work and rest.

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Old 04-19-2013, 06:03 PM   #10
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I can't speak for myself. As I don't think I know enough about it all where I would feel comfortable to comment on others. Also, I'm no, Rich, for example and look like I've been doing this for years. Haha.

But with that being said, I have sent email and letters to management of gyms. IMO, the trainers should be on the gym floor assisting people. If I ran a gym, this is how I would do it. Personally, I have two "free" trainer sessions that I will never use unless a trainer from the gym took the initiative to speak to me. Engage in conversation with my, form, particular exercise, etc.

I'm not asking them to give me a training session, but be visible. They sit at their computers, or sit in meetings EVERYDAY I'm at the gym. I would be Much more inclined to not just use my two free sessions, but pay for a trainer occasionally if they would practice these ideas.

Just my .02.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:24 PM   #11
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Teenagers and Newb Lifters: Mentoring vs Unsolicited Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiag46 View Post
I just keep it to myself. (This thread is like the "calling out someones Fake M thread lol)
Over time they'll learn if they observe.
Lol I kinda have to agree with this. I keep to myself as well. The ones walking around going from squats to dumbbell curls, shrugs to an ab machine don't have any routines and most likely won't stay committed to working out. The ones that routinely go to the gym will learn and become friendly enough with the familiar faces if they need a hand with something. Ive never heard of someone being made fun of for asking about proper technique and exercises. It's always the tough guys who try loading plates on and then wanna go down 5-6 inches like said above.


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Old 04-21-2013, 11:44 PM   #12
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...
But with that being said, I have sent email and letters to management of gyms. IMO, the trainers should be on the gym floor assisting people. If I ran a gym, this is how I would do it. Personally, I have two "free" trainer sessions that I will never use unless a trainer from the gym took the initiative to speak to me. Engage in conversation with my, form, particular exercise, etc.

I'm not asking them to give me a training session, but be visible. They sit at their computers, or sit in meetings EVERYDAY I'm at the gym. I would be Much more inclined to not just use my two free sessions, but pay for a trainer occasionally if they would practice these ideas.

Just my .02.
I send emails all the time to Lifetime that their trainers need to be walking around unfvcking the jacked up plate trees, removing the 30lb dumbbells from the 75lb slots, and picking up the bars and bands that people leave everywhere.


Quote:
Originally Posted by M3Inline6 View Post
Much like many of the experiences mentioned here, I've witnessed near death experiences where the barbell bench press is concerned, bosu ball barbell squats (...God I feel like that kid is going to f@ck himself up something terrible one day if he EVER slips off of that f@cking ball)
This just baffles me every time I see it. Haven't seen it as much as I used to though, so maybe the fad is dying off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Silversixspeed View Post
I think most of it is the way you approach the person. If you go in saying "hey dude, you're doing that all wrong.. Here, let me show you how it's done", they'll probably become offended, and think you're a know-it-all prick.

With that said, I'll pretty much offer advice to some of the "newb" regulars, who I'm on casual speaking terms with. Their form usually isn't too terrible anyway, I just offer to help critique it. They're usually pretty cool with that, since sometimes it's tough to tell what your form REALLY looks like.
I think you're right. My biggest issue would be finding a way to go in there sounding like I'm trying to mentor or help, and not be "that guy". I tend not to be a social person in the gym, and there are regulars in there that I've been working out around for years that I still have never talked to.

I think part of my issue is that I don't think I have the credibility to say it to people, which is why I tend to get under the belief that I would turn into "that guy". Probably an unfounded mindset though.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:41 AM   #13
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I see some form that really bothers me and as much as I'd love to step in and say something, i know it's not my spot. I have had some high school kids ask for a some advice though, and i love that. I find it very flattering and don't mind spending an extra half hour there occasionally if i have the time.

Quite often when I'm at the gym it's before work (1pm to 1-2 am) so I'm in a hurry and very focused, and not interested in talking at all. But i can tell i have acquired a pretty good reputation at my gym and really like that.

The only time I'll step in and say something without being asked is when I'm afraid somebody is going to hurt themselves, or when i see younger newbs that have absolutely no clue. But i always make sure to come off as non confrontational.

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