T Nation

Good Deed?

At my gym there’s always a guy who’s running for, like, 90 minutes or so on the treadmill. Then, once in a while, he may go to the cable machine and do a few pulldowns, loading up maybe 30 lb or so. Pretty bad form too. I never said anything to him.

Today, he said he’s doing the pulldowns to “build some strength.”
He seemed sincere, albeit misguided. I’m no expert, but I figured it’s hard to be more mistaken than that. So I volunteered some advice.

I asked him how many reps he’s doing. He said fifty. I’m like, “fifty, as in five-zero?” He’s like “yeah, why?”

(sigh)

“Listen, dude, you won’t build much strength if you go past 15 - as in one-five. Not 50, as in five-zero, but fifteen.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah. Load it up. If you can do more than 15, time to increase the load.”

He was astonished, but the fact that I could max out the cable machine when doing pulldowns probably made me the ultimate authority in his view, so he followed suit.

I only said a few more words about injury (“if it hurts a little, man up - if it hurts a lot, stop and see a doctor”) and lifting to failure (“don’t do it every single time”) and I figured it’s enough as a beginning.

I think there are many people like that, sincere, but lacking proper info. In this case, a little bit of common-sense advice seems appropriate.

Maybe later on, if he shows dedication, I’ll point him to some online resources so he can do his own research.

What do y’all think?

Might have been a little more information than necessary, as you approached him. But if he genuinely seemed interested there is nothing wrong with a little helpful advice. I’m not sure I would offer up too much more unless you want a pet project on your hands. I’m not a trainer, nor do I ever want to be, so the thought of that would creep me out, unless of course you were friends.

I dunno. I mean, it seemed to work in this case, but often it’s just annoying. For me personally, if anyone wants to give me advice, they better have at least 20 lbs of muscle on me, or be able to outlift me in the lift they are giving me advice on - otherwise I’d just blow them off.

I personally do not like people in the gym giving me advice when I do not ask, so I do not give advice to others unless I am asked.

I have on occassion recommended people visit this site.

But hey, if the guy took your advice and put it to work, good for him.

No good deed goes unpunished!

I chatted with an older guy rounding his back on the t-bar one day. I tried to ease into it as well… I’m no expert or anything, but I think you are rounding your back (imagine the letter C) a bit?

Blah, blah, recently broken shoulder and so on, but thanks. I hope he straightens out, because any real weight in the form he was using and he’s just asking for a hurt back. I tried.

Back to the knowledge level thing though, I recall when I was a kid… I didn’t realize it mattered what you did. I figured anything that worked the muscle would make it bigger, faster, stronger. I also hadn’t made the connection to protein. Woohoo!

[quote]vroom wrote:
I chatted with an older guy rounding his back on the t-bar one day. I tried to ease into it as well… I’m no expert or anything, but I think you are rounding your back (imagine the letter C) a bit?[/quote]

That’s about the only time I’m tempted to give advice, when I see someone about to hurt themselves. But they’re so sure to be doing the right thing, there’s not much I can think to say that would save them from injury rather than bring out a defensiveness.

The clearest example would be these three idiots taking turns at weighted BENCH DIPS (plates in their laps), egging each other on to the failure rep (“one more, one more!”). What the hell, say hello to traumatic shoulder injury.

Another thing that disturbs me is idiotic diet advice being passed around. One guy telling another that a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil on a piece of bread cured his joint pain. Then the other says that his doctor tells him “olive oil is pretty much the best thing that you can put in your body.” Never mind that it has no special benefit beyond clean calories…

These idiots hear about how a food is healthy, then think adding that to their junk food diet is going to change everything. This seems standard at the gym I attend, which is of the hardcore powerlifting variety. You don’t even want to hear about the frou-frou gym I’d been to before this…

From your description it sounds like you were helpfull. Maybe we should never give advice, but isn’t that what we all do here?

[quote]Kailash wrote:
Then the other says that his doctor tells him “olive oil is pretty much the best thing that you can put in your body.” Never mind that it has no special benefit beyond clean calories…[/quote]

From what I’ve read, there are a lot of benefits to olive oil, including reducing the risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and certain types of cancer, amongst other things…

The guy said he was doing 50+ reps for strength, and the OP gave him the straight goods. Nothing wrong with that, and it doesn’t sound like he just approached the guy out of the blue to give advice.

Polite, approachable, and spreading the gospel of iron. Way to go, bro.

[quote]conner wrote:
From what I’ve read, there are a lot of benefits to olive oil, including reducing the risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and certain types of cancer, amongst other things…
[/quote]

“As a replacement to trans fats”

Same way that they sell soy burgers as being heart healthy… compared to corn-fed beef!

Good Deed? No.

You did well, If they listen and do as told good, if not they are the ones that are more likely to get hurt, how many times i have seen all this guys with the latest man healths at the gym doing all that stuff that they have in those magazines and when you go talk to them they just look at you like you are some kind of freak! but you did well.

[quote]Avoids Roids wrote:
No good deed goes unpunished![/quote]

Yeah, he’s probably going to get hurt going too heavy. Then the OP is going to get served with a lawsuit.

DB