I thought it would be interesting and educating to find out what everyone has learned in '06. What’s worked for you, what you wish you hadn’t done, training revelations, anything.
For me 2006 was awesome, mostly in part because I started training at the tail end of 2005.
I learned that the best use for a machine was to sit for a rest; despite popular belief the shoulder is more than the anterior deltoid, and that nutrition is a hell of a lot more important than I originally thought.
My perceptions about training also changed. I used to think I just want to be stronger. Forget size or definition, that’s just a plus, I just want to be strong. I could care less about shape in my biceps or triceps, darn it I want to curl and push big! That’s not to say compounds were not the focus of my workouts, but I held the same philosophy for bench or squat in every exercise. Now I look at a muscle and say, what do I want it do for me? Looks? Does it help a major movement? I think this was a big turning point for me.
Another thing I am still dealing with is the “fear” of what others think. When I started out one of the main reasons I stayed away from the free weights section was because that’s where all the big guys were, and being a fat bastard with a WoW sedentary lifestyle I lifted like a 130 pound girl. My biggest regret was around the time I finally got some balls to move to the free weights: I was quite ignorant about anatomy and was not aware there are muscles that the mirror doesn’t show (mainly, the back; excuse my poor attempt at a joke).
Another thing I learned was that no, I’m not invincible or impervious to injury. Currently dealing with a nerve entrapment (thank God for ART) and having some fun with shoulder pain has taught me that “training” does not just consist of lifting some weight and I need to do a hell of a lot more pulling exercises.
Also, 2007 will not bring me a 1000 pound squat or 800 pound raw bench press. Coming off newbie gains was a bummer, but also a lesson in not just training hard but time to think about training smart.
The best of 2006: Benching 1x my body weight. Ye, I know not very impressive, but it was one hell of a day for me.
The worst of 2007: Ironically not having to stop benching due to injury or failing to make a PR, but being told I should be lifting a lot more for a guy my size. Obviously it was true, but having just started training it was an embarrassing moment. I figured I could be a pussy and go back to machines in the corner or keep busting my ass and change that fact. I’m still nowhere close to where I want to be or with respectable numbers, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put it in gear at the gym trying to get there.
Well, here’s looking to 2007 and a big thanks to everyone at T-Nation, staff and members alike, for building such a great resource.
Stay Strong! (and healthy!)