T Nation

How To Give Advice?

I’m not sure where to put this, but off-topic should be a safe place. I’m having big problems giving advice. I’m not very big (190lbs @ 6’1), and internet references are not valued much. How do I convince them? When I see a friend taking advice about training at least 2 hours for each session, that more then 4 eggs a week might kill you, and getting explained “shaping exersizes”, a part of me, usually hidden, want to pick up something and wave it around the room. Crashing plants while screaming AARRRGH!! But since this doesn’t usually raise my creditability either, I try to hide the frustration.

I know many times, the entire giving advice thing is just my ego wanting validation for all the reading I’ve done. And kind of saying: “Look at me, I’m so intelligent, cool and knowledgable”, more then actually wanting to help out. However, there is a few times when I geniunly want to help. Or I hear somebody say something so so bad. How do you accomplish this? I find many people taking gym teachers or personal trainers words, weighing heavier than mine.

For instance I have this friend who started yesterday. I heard another guy (also beginner) tell him that “everybody who trains seriously trains 2 hours a day”, “Get off that bench press, you need something to isolate that chest of yours”…etc. I go “noooo”. I try explain about testosterone levels and focus dropping drasticly after an hour, but only get some sarcastic response. “oooh, fancy words, just out of some book with no meaning. The trainer in x-gym says this is correct, and she has a husband which is really strong so she is correct”.

Most times it only hurts me to get annoyed. Or getting into such discussion at all. Is the answer that I should not care, nod my head “sure - you are right”, and continue do what I think is right only with myself?

I know what you mean man… I’m in the military, so there are more than a handful of meatheads here (meathead read fat-asses) that think they know everything about training. After 2 years of being around different groups of people, I found 1… No, sorry 2 guys that actually knew a thing or two about what they were talking about.

The best you can do is let your results do the talking for you and tell them small basic things (at first) if they’re willing to listen. One problem I have is that when asked for advice or my stance, I tend to dump my knowledge on them leaving them more confused than before I started.

My attack now is to start with material from articles on here that deal with common misconceptions (traning myths) and stressing all the factors to building a nice, healthy body (diet, training, rest, lifestyle, etc.). I don’t know what to tell ya’ other than try to get them hooked on this website. That’s what got me started. Trying to lead the blind is indeed frustrating!


I know what you mean. I’m not a small guy, but my university gym is filled with really big guys (excluding their legs).
Maybe if anyone talks about isolating exercises, you could tell them that Arnold built his body up on the basics.
Also remember, unless someone is open-minded to begin with, no amount of logic in the world will change their mind. So maybe blaming your development is the wrong idea.

The only way I give lifting advice is if someone asks “how did you get to how you are now?”.Otherwise I don’t even bother wasting my breath.The only other peice I can offer is this- a bite peice will save you from crushing your teeth and severing your tounge out of frustration.

I only give advice if it’s asked. For years I’ve lifted at home and recently (about 3-4 months ago) joined a new local gym. In that time I’ve had about 3-4 people ask me for advice on training, supplements, and diet. When they do I’m glad to give it.

That being said everyone else can pretty much go fuck themselves. If you’re stupid enough to beleive someone simply because they are “The Big Guy” in the gym then be my guest. That way I’ll feel even better as I watch myself progress while these tards “tone up”.

However on the rare occasion that I see someone I know outside the gym/like for some reason here’s my approach. Don’t tell them what they’re doing wrong, as nobody really likes that. Instead say something like you know when you lift with compound movements you recruit numerous muscle groups at a time which results in greater gains in strength and size. Or something polite like that.

On the otherhand I usually just scream “MACHINES ARE FOR OLD MEN, BITCHES, OR PUSSIES!” while grabbing my dick and spitting everywhere in between deadlift sets in the powerrack.


Maybe you can take another direction that will at least make you happy? What if you say something like “beginners will make progress doing anything”. It is obviously a criticism, but it isn’t something anybody can argue with either.

At some point, if you get people to ask you to explain your point of view, they are much more likely to be willing to listen.

In this case, you could say that experienced lifters, who aren’t using special supplementation, limit their workouts to avoid the catabolic effects of overtraining and high cortisol levels.

Or you could continue to be cryptic and say “when you hit a plateau look me up”. I think many people in the gym, who are newer, have absolutely no idea and will soak up anything said by what appears to be an authority figure. Generally, a trainer wearing some type of logo’d uniform.

They so badly want to believe they have hooked onto a cure for what ails them that they simply can’t accept an opposing viewpoint… and when they make beginner gains they will think they are in nirvana. Save them later when they fall from grace… as they will make progress anyway at first even with the crappy advice! :wink:

How about not even bothering?

I have been in the position many times to both give and receive advice on physical training and physical skills. To some extent I will listen(listen is the key word, its different than agreeing or implementing) to anybody, you never know what you might learn. Thats me though.

Many people aren’t nearly as eager to learn and make very poor students(ie. they know everything already). Why waste your time?

Or, perhaps you are one of the types of people who feel they have to tell everyone what they should be doing. This can be very annoying and you should really try to determine if this is a personality trait of yours.

If you really know what you are talking about, in time people will begin to come to you. Trust me. Everyone wants to be
successful, and if they see you having success,regardless of whatever field we are talking about, they will want you to share your knowledge.

Wow. I did’t expect so many good replies :). Thanks guys. The problem is easilly solved by using a bit diplomatic language, not telling anything detailed or provoking untill asked and not to mention: just - not - care.

Important so I won’t fall into the trap of being iritated by others bad training in the gym, and lose focus of MY workout.

To the last reply: No, I’m not one of those who get off telling people what to do. Although I can be annoying because I always think I’m right (which I am :wink:

Thanks again for all the wise words

  • Imbrondir -

Ah, yes. Advice.

For working out, never give advice unless asked. Act like what you know is secret knowledge, and just ignore anybody else, or laugh at them behind their backs.

But if asked, impart your “secret” knowledge. Until then let the result of your diet and exercise speak for itself.

About a year ago I fell into the mistake of trying to help a person who was working out. He was getting results, but was following an interesting rule about not eating after 7 or 8 pm. While this is not the best rule in the world, he made it worse by not realizing it was meant for people going to bed at 10 pm, and I was talking to him at 2 am.

He has since regained all the weight he lost. It was obvious he couldn’t stay on this sort of diet, and the effects it had on his metabolism.