5 Fitness Phrases That Must Die

With September now in full swing, there is a new influx of members, meat heads, and new trainers alike hitting the gym trying to work on their fitness. Being one of the inmates who runs the asylum, I like to use the odd encouraging phrase, and occasionally want to kick my own ass after asking myself with my inside voice “Did I really just say that??” Sometimes I’ll just get caught up in the moment, and want to say something profound and life-shaking, like “Master your abs” or “Over the Top,” but what normally will come out is a dyslexics version of combining the person’s name with the previous clients name and the muscle being worked: Something sounding like “Je-lanie-dorsi!!!” To which I’ll just receive either plain blank stares of ignoring, or the odd “what the eff?” look from whoever it is I’m training. Now I could go one of two ways: apologize for messing up the verbiage (not going to happen) or just nod and insist it was what I meant to say all along (usually the case).

Despite these thoughts of pithy wisdom, I will also say some of the typically de-motivational cliche terms from fitness lore, and want to slam my head in between the lid and the bowl of the toilet repeatedly to knock some sense into myself for falling for that kind of crap, and trying to pass it on to someone else. So I have determined that there are some phrases used by personal trainers and other fitness enthusiasts that should die, and die quickly. Here they are, with a witty rationale as to why these phrases suck the life from me.

Phrase the 1st: “All you, bro, all you!!”

Really? And who else would it be? Maybe you’re also multi-task spotting grandma on the leg extension machine as she goes for a personal best with 20 pounds for 10 reps, cuz that’s what she heard J-Lo does to sculpt her butt. Of course it’s all whoever the hell is under the bar.

This is typically used when guys are trying to do max weight bench press, and the spotter is shouting down at them to give them encouragement. These are the same guys who will straddle the head of the person they are spotting, giving the person under the bar an unrequested view and a new meaning to the phrase “All you bro!!”

Phrase the 2nd: “Engage your core.”
What the hell does this mean!?! I’ve done a whole bunch of fancy book learnin’ on the subject of abs, core function, and whatever you can think of, and not once did I find a text book or research paper that said to say to the paying public “engage your core.” There’s three layers to the abdominal wall, each with a different function that interlink with the other two to produce stability and mobility. Which layer do you want to contract? To be more technical, the core itself consists of the abs, as well as the diaphragm, the pelvic floor, and the erector spinae/quadratus/multifidus complex of the low back, and the form a rough cube in the tummy-tum.
What part of the core do you want to “engage?” Pelvic floor? Go nuts!! (actually, if you do this properly….well, that’s….that’s probably not important).
Maybe we could be more specific in how we “engage the core” by actually explaining what we want the person to do to flex their ab muscles properly. Dr. Stuart McGill, the lumbar spine guru, advocates the concept of abdominal bracing to create “super stiffness”, which sounds a hell of a lot better than “engage your core.”
Here’s what I think of when I hear “engage your core:

 Phrase the 3rd: “Feel The Burn.”

Feel my index knuckle grazing your chin instead. How many times do we have to hear this? I’ll bet Jane Fonda is rolling over in her grave whenever she hears these pithy words of wisdom. This blanket statement doesn’t say whether the burn is good, bad, or even necessarily a part of exercising, just orders to “feel it.” There are different types of “burn” sensation: intramuscular hyper acidosis (lactic acid buildup caused by anaerobic metabolism), neuralgia from an entrapped nerve, which may or may not be getting more impinged by doing whatever the hell you’re trying to do, and just plain ol’ friction, which means you’re an inappropriate individual for doing THAT in a public setting, you sick freak.

Phrase the 4th: “GTL, baby.”

For those who don’t know, this comes from “Jersey Shore,” a TV show that lends credence to the fact that stupidity is observed best from a distance, and there is no God since these chromosomally challenged youth get paid mad skrilla to be completely useless to all of society. The phrase means “gym, tan, laundry,” which is apparently the three time-killers that run these orange and spiky-haired individuals lives. I won’t even dignify them with a photo.

For some reason, this is becoming normal vernacular these days, and it should be stopped at all cost. We should launch a new holy war against these types of individuals and anything they say or do.

Phrase the 5th: “No Pain No Gain”

This is just plain stupid. If you’re doing something that’s causing you to injure yourself, then keep going!! Why do you think there are so many baby boomers with messed up knees and backs after years of step class and piss-poor technique? This is something no self-respecting trainer should ever say, and if you ever hear a trainer use this one, please do me a favor. Walk over to them in front of their client, and say “You must want to hurt your clients,” and kick them in the junk. Hard. Twice.

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
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