Yes. The title is correct.
The scholars told you that lifting weights is one of the greatest gifts to the male population. We should be forever thankful to the muscle cartel for providing us with the opportunity to lift iron and put it back to its original position, right?
Honestly, I am tired of con artists exaggerating the power of the gym.
There are many valid reasons to leave the barbell house. I will present the most essential ones in this article.
This may become one of the most hated posts on the site, but that’s a good thing. The hate will only prove the high content of truth.
1.The staggering lack of progress
The fun ends quickly when you are a natural bodybuilder. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care about your routines and nutrition. You will eventually reach the point when nothing ever changes regardless of your effort. This is the moment of nothingness.
Here’s how things work. Your role during lifting is that of a human crane. Consequently, your mechanics (bones&insertions) decide what lifts you are going to excel at.
The thickness and weight of your machine have a tremendous importance. The heavier you are, the more you lift thanks to the added stability, muscle mass and the reduced range of motion. You can’t be as strong as possible at your lightest bodyweight. There’s a reason for the existence of weight classes – bigger/heavier men lift larger barbells.
At every bodyweight, your human crane has a limited range of capacity. Regardless of what you do, the limits remain. Just like every alloy has a breaking point so does your body. The job of training routines is to get you as high as possible within the final spectrum. Once you arrive there, it’s time for epic stagnation.
Nothing will work. You will jump from one routine to another only to stall at similar weights give or take 10%. You could progress further by gaining weight, but the gains that will follow will be the result of your heavier machinery rather than supreme programming. This wouldn’t be too bad if the extra weight was muscle, but it won’t be. It will be fat for the most part, and that’s the reason for the string orchestra in your head. Fat does not cut it. It’s not why we are doing this.
The limitations that block your strength ascension manifest in the physique department. You will look the same year after year once the newbie gains have joined your frame. You may get leaner or fatter on occasion depending on what’s going on in your life, but that will be a function of dieting rather than a lifting based upgrade.
This is very demotivating and renders the pursuit of gym excellence highly irrational. Strength, muscle gains and leanness are the motor. If you are not getting them, why are you there? Those type of questions will haunt you. It’s normal. It means you are not crazy. Continuing without further investigation is the equivalent of doing something for profit without getting the profit.
Of course, the bros will say that you need to be spiritual and treat every rep of every set as some highly sophisticated philosophical process that will eventually get you above the rest. I get it. I have also done my fair share of similar rationalizations. However, the voice in your head asking you “why” is not your enemy. You don’t have to feel guilty for expecting a pay for your hard work. The men mocking you will retroactively realize that they were brainwashed to believe a lie.
Do you know why steroids are addicting? It’s not the substance itself. They are not heroine although they can affect your mood and give you more energy. The most addictive feature is the admiration and validation they produce. It’s all about the external love. Health and personal growth are not on the list. That’s fodder for the masses.
Do you remember the primary reasons to lift?
A. Impress/Intimidate other men.
B. Impress women
Steroid users have the muscle mass needed to make this a reality. That’s why they keep doing it. That’s why they keep presenting the gym as the purest temple. If they were not getting their dose of admiration and support, they would quickly change their official report.
An enlightened steroid user knows that it’s all about the drugs. The smart ones are aware that without the chemicals they would look no different than someone doing beach jogging and push-ups while walking the dog.
2. Reliving the same day forever.
Lifting is one of the sports with the lowest injury rates. Why? Because you are doing the same thing forever. Nothing ever changes. You go to the same dungeon, touch the same barbell, see the same type of people, listen to the same stories, go through the same motions. Eventually, the repetition and the lack of meaningful results unite and form a burden.
In an old video dedicated to Bulgarian weightlifters, one of them says that he hates being locked in the same room. He makes a comparison between cycling and lifting – cyclists may spend an entire day on the saddle, but at least they get to see the sunset whereas their weightlifting brothers are locked in a basement and do the exact same movements indefinitely.
3. Barbell strength is overrated
The modern obsession with barbell strength is legit stupid. People spend their lives chasing irrelevant numbers that mean absolutely nothing in the end and are absolutely unnecessary. What is the point of deadlifting 3 times your bodyweight? It has no point other than to record a video and impress the brahs and the sluts. That’s the damn truth. I can assure you that your spine and bones will confirm that sooner or later. One of my biggest mistakes in life is chasing numbers at the expense of form and sanity. The risk of injury and the drained adrenal glands ain’t worth it.
Guys like Rippetoe and communities like StrongFirst will tell you that strength is one of the most important qualities in life, but that would be pure nonsense. Barbell strength is exceptionally overrated for sports and life in general.
My father has never lifted a barbell in his life and yet has plenty of strength for everything he’s ever tried to do. We have transported furniture, taken down concrete walls, built fences and done a lot of construction work. Not once he has been at a disadvantage to me.
The same applies to sports. Strength is precious for two main events – weightlifting and powerlifting. For everything else, it’s not the deciding factor.
Why should I be slaving away in some dungeon? Chasing meaningless numbers? To satisfy the bros? To cover some imaginary requirements? Nobody will ever be impressed or satisfied. Whatever you do is never enough. Then again you can say – you should do it for yourself.
I get it, bro. But let me paint a picture for you.
Many mainstream articles judging the effectiveness of an exercise say this: “If I was alone on a deserted island, I would bring exercise X with me…”
Guess, what, clown? If you were on a deserted island, you wouldn’t do a single exercise. You wouldn’t train at all. That’s a fact. If you were a castaway, you wouldn’t be doing 1RM deadlifts and searching for the latest Sheiko routine to boost your numbers. You wouldn’t care because there would be nobody to impress.
Once you have built a decent foundation, which is far lower than the e-stats posted online, you are good enough. Everything else is just a show for the camera.
I personally do not care about satisfying any numbers. I lift what I lift and that’s it. If other people have a problem with that, it’s none of my business.
4. You are not going to build real muscle naturally.
Check the URL, bro. It’s nattyornot.com. The little voice telling you that you can be the natural champion of the year can shut up now. It’s not happening. This is the rock. All the muscle heroes that you worship are doping. Bodybuilding is about drugs and drugs alone.
While you are at it, you can let the fairy tales about squats&deads fall into the abyss too. Yes, brother. They all lied to you. The 5×5 squad and the prophets leading the movement are no different than the dudes from the local supplement store telling you that consuming eggs and milk in powder form at the right intervals is the key to mass.
The squats&deads mafia tricked you by using reverse engineering and manipulation based on perceived effort – you think that something is effective just because it hurts.
It’s all nonsense. Here’s how the world really works.
You will start doing your squats and deads. Things will go well. It will hurt, but you will love the pain because you will be focused on the prize – the muscle mass produced by the mythical barbell movements that Arnold and his mentors did. Just the sole fact of having a heavy barbell on your shoulders raises your testosterone, right?
To supplement your upgrade, you will begin a bulking campaign too. You will start to get slightly fat, but that will not bother you because your captain Rippetoe and the sycophants on various forums will tell you to “eat like a man”.
The scale will report an increase, but you will not be satisfied nor will the people around you reflect your muscular improvements. Why? Most of the extra weight will be fat.
The muscle mass that the 5×5 mafia promised you is a myth.
5. Exercising is artificial
I used to get mad when activities outside of the gym hurt my recovery. Consequently, I would avoid them if possible or schedule everything in a way to minimize the damage.
My point of view has changed. The gym is the one that should take a step back. It is supposed to be a supplement rather than the main eater of your physical juice.
Exercising is an artificial form of physical activity designed to fix the fact that most people live extremely unnatural lives deprived of meaning and adventure. This is why we look at boring stuff like squats and deadlifts to add color to our plain existences.
The barbell house is a sterile environment that cannot satisfy your hunger for adventure.
One of the greatest quotes that I’ve heard in the gym was “I wish I was going somewhere.” said by a guy getting off a treadmill machine. I don’t think he even realized the depth of his exclamation.
The gym is an extension of the modern world where people do masturbatory activities designed to satisfy natural urges in a way that doesn’t threaten the consumer world and the overall order of events.
We spend our days in sedentary positions and then run on a treadmill that goes nowhere in order to fake activity.
What to do instead?
Manly stuff. Touring on your bicycle, construction work, woodwork, welding, hunting, fishing, training outside, working with your hands…etc. Exercising for the sake of exercising is plain and boring, especially when you are a natural lifter who doesn’t enjoy external admiration. Therefore, it’s only logical to seek adrenaline elsewhere.
Every exercise, including squats&deads, trains specific motions. But those motions are just building blocks. Without a context they are sterile. The gym cannot provide that context fully.
People like to compare training and working out. Training is supposed to be of better quality because it has a higher purpose. Hence the powerlifters lifting for a contest make fun of the bros who do it without direction. Competition provides a deeper drive – it creates an environment where your exercises acquire a higher status – they are no longer exercises, they are lifts.
The same upward transposition can be applied to competition too. While competition is bigger than gym lifting, it is still pretty soulless compared to activities with a higher impact on your immediate existence. For example, saving someone from a burning building is an act that makes sports adventures look like plays. The environment created by the fire is not orchestrated comfortably. It’s natural.
If you are wondering whether you should skip a trip because your squat can suffer, don’t. Let your squat burn in hell.
At the end of the day, exercises are training wheels. Even if you become the best at using them, there’s still a higher step to be taken.