I’m now going to write my first “old guy” blog that’s going to start with the stereotype “darn kids today!” intro…so here goes:

Darn kids today! If there’s one thing I don’t understand about the younger generation I see in the gym – doing almost everything wrong – is, they really have no excuses. Back in the day, we had nothing to go on. We had some of the muscle mags, which were generally full of training articles written by genetically gifted drug assisted bodybuilders, and the advice of other clueless people in the gym, and that was it! There really was no solid science at the time, all that great east block training that has flooded the world was kept firmly in the east block, and there was no internet!

Hard as that is to imagine, yes, there was a time when no internet existed. Thus, we really had nothing but trial and error and a few magazines to go on. Today, there is an amazing amount of solid science based training information out there, and yet, I see the same mistakes happening in the gyms I did 20 plus years ago! All the great training information now available out there, much of it free, by the worlds best coaches and others, and yet, little has changed as far as the average kid in the gym still doing it all wrong…. I don’t get it. We had a pretty good excuse why we were clueless, but these darn kids today, really have none….

More perplexing, is the endless threads on the forums with people discussing workouts that are no better thought out or designed then the junk we were stuck with all those years go, seemingly ignoring all the great modern information out there today. No understanding of the basic concepts such as volume, intensity, TUT, periodization, muscle fiber types, etc, etc.

No, you don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to make progress in strength and muscle mass in the gym, but you do need to understand the basics. More perplexing is why people continue to make up their own (usually awful) workout programs that set them years behind (read, spinning their wheels!), vs. simply following the programs of people who have spent their entire lives figuring this stuff out! Why re invent the wheel here? Everyone seems to think they are an expert when it comes to a workout program… and they are not…

There’s a ton of great coaches and programs to choose from. Choose one, follow it to the letter, then move onto others that fit your particular goals (and don’t get me started on the lack of goal setting that is so common…) and over time you will learn what you respond best to, but that takes years of hard work. If I were to summarize why the majority of peoples’ program suck, in a nut shell:

•They are Linear program designs (lack of Periodization!)

•Lack de-training/de loading periods

•Lack of planned progression

•Lack of specific goals

•Fail to match training to goals

•Fail to track specific goals

If the above reflects your approach, that’s why you fail to make any progress and why your workouts suck…

Darn kids today!

16 Comments
  1. Robyn Booth 10 years ago

    Can echo that sentiment ad nauseam. Darn kids today! And not just when it comes to training. It is an era of instant gratification, so the idea of planning and setting goals, means that you have to acknowledge that something is going to take time and effort to achieve.
    The knowledge that we have at our fingertips these days constantly astounds me and I love the fact that we have all these amazing forums that we can go to if we don’t know something. But as you say Will, there is still a lot of misinformation on those forums, so it is a matter of being a bit discerning and being selective of where you take advice from.
    Some very valid points of why training can fail. Its a good reminder to me to be constantly checking that my training is geared towards my goals, as I tend to be a bit indecisive and erratic at times.

  2. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    We can all be indecisive and erratic. It’s the long term patterns that matter. As to the forums, that’s why I started the private BBR and FLR forums. To avoid the noise, endless repeat of the same questions, spam, trolling, and flaming, found on other forums never found on mine…

  3. Voytec 10 years ago

    I THINK I’ve got a good work-out. I’ve followed most of what I’ve learned on this site and others, but…
    Despite my high metabolic rate and working all the muscle groups 2 times a week and riding a bike everyday, since I started working out 5 months ago, my tummy fat has increased! What’s up with that?
    Anyway, good article, look forward to more.

  4. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    Thinking and knowing are two different things. Correct tracking etc lets you know exactly what progress is being made. The most likely explanation for your situation is nutrition, but it’s impossible to know from a blog post….good luck!

  5. kevin 10 years ago

    The problem is young men are loaded with testosterone. So they get decent results doing bad workouts. Sure, they’d get better results with guided coaching but even when they get injured, they heal quickly. Now at my age–52–I can strain my back just sneezing too hard. If my form is one degree off, I can aggravate old injuries like torn rotator cuffs, etc. And once the injury is back it takes weeks to heal. I’m leaning toward testosterone supplements to see whether it helps with old injuries.
    kevin

  6. Makster 10 years ago

    I agree with your article totally. I think that peple can design their own program that will work, but most can’t. I have been lifting for about 8 years steady, and still won’t make my own program.
    I rely on experts like you to make a program that is successful. You have studied and learned the right way to set one up to avoid injury and acheive success.
    Your Hybrid program is a prime example. It has always given excellant results. I would never have come up with anything like that.
    One other thing I hear a lot is how people take a program and “tweak” it. I think it is best to fallow it to the letter to acheive the best results.
    Rick

  7. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    Kevin. If you are 52 and thinking HRT, yes, you will notice a reduction in aches and pains and an improvement in bodycomp and strength. I recommend all men 40 and above be tested yearly. Read my article It’s In Your Blood for more info.
    Rick. I have been in the gym 25 plus years and I am still learning, and only fugured out the Hybrid program for example more recently as you know. I’m still reading and learning too, so people that have been training a few years who think they can slap together an effective program will usually get sup par/sub optimal results…

  8. gene 10 years ago

    “Rocket surgeon.” Great one! Next it will be “brain scientist”!
    I’m an older guy, and have never done weight training before. I must have better genetics than I thought, since I’ve enjoyed pretty good health (but a tiny physique) all my life. Since I started pushing, pulling, dragging and sometimes lifting some dumbbells, I’ve noticed that my genetics have improved a lot.
    My main goal is to be healthy, not build massive muscles. Still, this was a good reminder to pay attention to form and have a good plan, something that has not been given the attention around here that it deserves.
    Darn old codgers!

  9. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    Gene, it’s important to note that as we age, it’s not about “massive muscles” per say (though personally I would prefer to have/keep a muscular physique…) but keeping the all important muscle we have, because no matter how good your genetics, everyone loses muscle mass as they age unless they work hard and smart to protect it. For more info on that, read my article on Sarcopenia, and how to prevent/treat it.

  10. David Doane 10 years ago

    Hey Will
    I have been in the retail supplement industry since 92 and the uptick of the younger, newer lifters wanting a quick fix, Test Boosters, is amazing. I mean there has and will always be the group that wants that fix but it seems 8 out of 10 guys that come in are more interested in the Test boosters than the protein, multi’s, basic nutrition and training knowledge I try to espouse onto them. Damn kids think they know it all.
    Peace

  11. Matt Gilman 10 years ago

    I think the problem the younger generation has to cope with is information overload.
    There is this one program that promises super muscles in 4 weeks and they follow it for a bit until they find that program that promises them the same results in 3 weeks.
    Much stuff is just a big scam nowadays.

  12. Darren Munday 10 years ago

    I agree with Matt, (I’m 41 and so can be classed as an old codger).
    It’s all well and good stating that:
    “All the great training information now available out there, much of it free, by the worlds best coaches and others, and yet, little has changed as far as the average kid in the gym still doing it all wrong”
    …but where do the kids find this “great” information Will? (and don’t say “on my website!!” good though it is! ;o) there is so much conflicting training info in the ‘net today that it’s nearly impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff? Had I been 20 years younger at this point in time I would have constructed my own programmes by now frustrated by the lack of results and conflicting training info from the internet “experts”. Just my £10 worth! Keep up the good work! Regards, Darren.

  13. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    Darren, fair points. The good news is, there’s no one right answer to training per se. The bad news is, as you point out, there’s a lot of bad and or conflicting info out there. Great info can be found via people such as Poliquin, Staley, Waterbury, Tate, King, and others, and are easy enough to find on sites like Elite Fitness Systems or their respective personal web sites.

  14. Aymen 10 years ago

    great post thanks
    i personally think that most people don’t even have a fitness goal. after all how can you explain why people are still doing the same workouts despite not getting any results. anybody serious about building muscle can do so and like Will said there is no lack of good information these days

  15. John 8 years ago

    Will,
    I find that it’s not just the young but the majority of folks training at gyms( I use the word training loosely). I see maybe 10% working out using a training log to track what they are doing and the rest are just lifting weights.
    It’s like I tell you to go to some place but I don’t give you directions. Sure you may find it on your own but it would be much faster if you had a clear cut idea on how to get there.
    Without a log how do you know if you are truly progressing? I lost my log which had the last 4 months of my training and I was lost.
    Great article BTW.
    John

  16. Michael Bourne 2 years ago

    Yeah, I agree with those mentioning goals. That’s the biggest issue I see. Lack of a crystal clear, meaningful goal which will lead to the result. Which, also much to the ire of most ‘trainers’ is also a large topic, requiring a decent effort.
    Most do have crystal clear meaningful goals, more often than not, without even realizing them, which quickly over ride the ‘just wanna get toned’ style of goal. Think of yourself as a production company. And in that company you have many departments, including a department that’s sole purpose is to evaluate the importance of jobs/goals, and treat them accordingly. That department is expert at doing just that, and its manager and staff are elite, the very best. Daily they are bombarded by other departments in your company, or you, with requests for jobs/goals to be done. So they evaluate each one on the merits, and importance of the requests.
    Say a top, successful actor needs to be in a certain, clearly defined condition for a zillion dollar, career defining movie role, or their whole career/lifestyle is in jeopardy. The department in charge of evaluating jobs/goals has no problem giving that top, number one priority, and keeping it there. On the other hand Joe or Jenny Blogs decide to ‘tone up’, or ‘lose a few kilo’s’. At the same time job/goal requests for their best mate’s yearly party marathon is coming up, the Superbowl weekend is on, that TV/dinner party/show is on, Facebook, twitter, hair appointments, My Kitchen Rules, kids, bills, emails, etc, etc, etc… endless job/goal requests. The job/goal department can’t be fooled, and file the ‘tone up’, or ‘lose a few kilo’s’ job/goal request where it really belongs in your real scheme of things. Where it always ends up. Somewhere stuck at the bottom of the pile. Soon forgotten, like before… and before… and before… further highlighting and exacerbating the situation of that particular job/goal request.
    That situation must be addressed seriously, to get a different result.
    So, say it is. An important, clearly defined job/goal is in place at the top of the heap. Think of it as the ideal, the best map available. The next crucial step is knowing exactly where you are on that map right now. Because if you don’t the map will be useless, no matter how good it is. Or, you can pay, or get someone else to do that for you. But, someone better know accurately exactly where you are in relation to that map.Lest you head in the exact wrong direction. And get lost, maybe permanently. For example, bulged discs, bad knees, abnormally kyphotic upper spine. And then finding yourself stuck at the powerlifting rack, with ‘the boys’, about to do some max rep, arse to the grass squattin’, with your ‘trainer’, or worse still, your app, screaming at you for just one more. Or, sizing up the 32kg kettlebell for a few sets of swings.
    Start with deluxe plans, site preparation and foundations for a decent chance at a deluxe building.

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