(Warning! This Article is in its Raw state! It has not been proof read or edited)
Okay so you really shouldn't give workout advice for any reason other than someone asked you. That is a lesson I have learned the hard way. I admit it is tough especially when you see people doing something so incorrectly that they could injure themselves. It is still tough when you see that guy who isn't making any progress and you think you've keyed in on the problem.
Look there is a ton of information out there on the Internet, in magazines. Anyone who takes it seriously will find out what works for them over time with research. It is the process we all went through. I started lifting when I was 17 years old and I did it wrong for at least 5 years. I had some results so I felt good with the progress. Also I have to say, i still do not have it right. I have it okay, maybe passable and I'm 35 now. That means I've been working out for half my life, with a lot of breaks and never that seriously till recently. I still have many troubles, my biggest is consistency. Although this is also my biggest challenge outside the gym.
I do not even have any advice for how to keep from giving others pointers unless asked directly. All I can say is I have learned that it will not end well. I guess I should give some examples to back up my experiences. Two years ago I tweaked my back Squatting. I do not know the true cause but some related issues includes obviously poor form. low concentration, lack of focus, terrible warm up, not easing my way up (even though it was only 275lbs and I was on my way back down), too much lower body cardio which caused my legs to consistently be sore and never fully recover making my back vulnerable and I was rushing through my workout to do more cardio. I remember I thought it was because I didn't wear a weight belt but research tells me otherwise now. ****ght, so I got some incomplete advice from a trainer at the gym, "put ice on it!" Oh and boy did I ever. I ice that thing all day. I suffered the worst cramps of my life. Much worse pain than it initial back strain. If I had done my own research I would have know to rotate ice and heat to keep from cramping. Also I should have gone to the Dr. and got a shot (don't think I would have needed it in retrospect) and the much needed muscle relaxers which really, Really helped. I would have been back in the gym well before the two weeks it took to recover and without the Muscle cramps that kept me up all night, screaming.
So a year later I see a kind of skinny runner type doing some squats in the morning. I'm thinking I better help this guy out so he doesn't suffer the same fate. He had on some low sole running style shoes. I had on running shoes when my injury occurred and thought the last of sole and stability may have contributed. Of course the already timid, skinny, middle age white guy who was just at the gym minding his own business was very gracious as I explained, in ignorance how he should wear basketball type shoes when performing squats to help with stability and stave off injury as I shared my tragic, unrelated story with him. My 200 lbs big black dead wrong ass, although trying to dial it back, was still too intense for him. I will never know how he really felt as I wasted his precious little gym time before work, with my way off base "help." He may have wanted to straighten my out with my poor facts or just dismiss me with a mind you own business. All I know is if he could disappear when he sees me coming he would. Awkward!
Not convinced? Here is another example. There are a group of kids that workout at my gym. I really don't know how old they are. As a matter of fact, they could be young adults. Well their gym etiquette left more to be desired. Not racking weights, Leaving loaded bars laying on the floor, loud grunting (with light weights), Slamming weights down noisily ect. Well there are always a few gym rats and trainers who would comment about this behavior to me. I understood where they were coming from because it annoyed me as well. So from time to time we would share a laugh at their expense. After weeks of this the guys noticed and remarked. Why are you always talking ****? I said, we aren't talking ****! Even though I would listed to the experiences guys and chuckle a bit I would always remind them that we all had to start somewhere and at least they were dedicated and came consistently. Still more weeks passed. A trainer was over talking to me about some of his new training methods ect. and came to a boil. I'm sick of those little punks dropping weights. "He stop dropping the weights!" he yelled. A little back and forth and I chimed in. "He's not wrong." More confrontation. I walk over to them initially to intimidate but check myself. They really are tiny, I reminded myself. "Hey guys look. Everybody drops the weights from time to time. Just try not to do it all the time." And they replied, "you should mind your business. You don't work here anyway." They weren't wrong. I don't work there although I practically lived there and thought I was helping out by defusing the situation and providing a little mentoring. This situation blew up in my face. It was so awkward that I didn't want to even see those guys and stop going at the time they would be there. Shame. They may have since picked up some tips from the new gym etiquette posters and all i have picked up is fat from not going.
Still Awkward but all I have learned is to mind my own business. So that brings us to today. Not the first time I've been on the other end of advice. Someone is always trying to show you a slight variation that will be more effective. As I made my way down to do some spinning, still haven't learned that lesson well enough, I stopped off for a chat with a guy I see a lot and he is always full of good energy and I really admire the way he looks at thing. he is quite the Zen master. We were sharing that we would both be laying off spinning some. I was saying I would be focusing more on weights and how I've discovered I'm stronger when I spin less. I was also bragging, because I was/am in need of validation at the gym as I get back into shape and also because I have had a good week of strength training secessions. So somehow I worked in how I was squatting 500 lbs yesterday and that I can't go much lower because my capable of doing 625 and wouldn't get a good workout if I went lighter.(bull****) He asked me how many reps? i lied and said 20. I've done this but not yesterday. I did 450 8 times with the hack machine. He asked me how long it takes to complete 20 reps. I concluded about a minute. He suggested I try doing it over 5 minutes and if I couldn't then lower the weight. I got a little steamed but tried to keep my composure as he said how many do you think you could do like that? I remarked i don't even think you could do 1, under my breath. I guess I should add that last week he guessed my age was 40 and I do turn 35 next month and haven't quite reconciled that 35 rounds to 40. Also he went on to tell me the ages of his kids 33, blah blah. So there was probably some residual feelings from this encounter. I'm somehow offended either way. 40 because when we talk he equates my maturity is of an older persons or because I look 40 and discovering I was only 2 years older than one of his kids that he was now in a fatherly role to give advice. So even though I usually do not consider myself to be sensitive, I do have feelings. I thought about what I would say if he follows up about how the tip was working, as I have done many times. I also thought about his physically condition and if it allowed him to even give me advice. I have to admit he is one of the people I have seen at the gym for years and just cannot tell if he is improving. Not that everyone has the same goals but I think I'm genuinely worried that I will still be going to the gym in 15 years and be in the same shape, round. I would love to give the people I see like this some advice too. I now realize that advice is for my current and future self, just as his advice is about himself and what he is trying to achieve, muscle confusion and to mix it up. Simple but a lot of thoughts and feelings to get to it. Can't say if it will be awkward now between us. Probably a bit at first but the bottom line, much like the top is still the same. Don't Give Unsolicited Advice.