Are You A Normie Lifter?
There’s nothing wrong with being normal in any aspect of life, and that certainly holds true with ones approach towards physical fitness and exercise. However, if you want extraordinary results, don’t fool yourself into thinking that normal methods or an average mindset will produce them.
They won’t. And anyone selling that is lying to you.
Here are five signs that you are a normie lifter. If you feel offended or attacked by this article, you probably are one. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to change that status, you might want to level up your training game.
#1 You Aren’t Constantly Learning
Lifting is like an onion: there are far more layers to it than you think, it often smells pretty bad and it can make you cry with startling ease.
Every great lifter is a student of the game. You have to be, or the iron will rip to you pieces. Alternatively, you’ll just go nowhere. Solving the puzzle of what works for your body will take time, and just as much of that time will be spent learning as actually lifting. This could be talking to people, this could be watching YouTube videos, this could be reading…but without learning your potential is very much capped.
The more you learn, the more gains you earn.
#2 You Vary Your Training Too Much
On the flip side, experimenting excessively with your training is a good way to go nowhere as well. You must learn and apply information to yourself, but you also must give the process time to actually show — or not show — results.
If I had a penny for every beginner that did a different program every week, I’d be a very rich man. You do need some variation in your training — no one sees optimal results off of only 2–3 exercises — but constantly varying your training is a good way to spin your wheels, especially as a beginner.
If you think “muscle confusion” is a thing, you have a surefire case of “brain confusion”. You need practice with the same movements over the course of at least several weeks, in order to get good at them. In the first few weeks of a new training program, most of the strength gains are from neurological adaptation, not muscular growth.
Once your nervous system and brain are efficient with the movements, you can now add muscle. It’s a lot “cheaper” to optimize the nervous system rather than slap on new physical muscle tissue, so that’s usually what the body does.
#3 You Aren’t Analyzing or Experimenting with Your Training
Not all training programs, exercises, protocols or systems work for every person. Shocking, I know.
What works for one person might work for you, or it might be a complete dumpster fire.
So many variables go into the training equation that using someone else’s exact plan is more often than not very far from optimal. It might be OK, but “OK” only gets you so far.
This is where experimentation is crucial. See how your body responds to higher or lower volume. Higher or lower frequency. After all, if some entire studies find that high frequency is best for growth, while others find that low frequency is best…you can bet that for an individual it could be either.
Write stuff down. See which movements you can feel best, and don’t beat up the joints as much. I regret that I didn’t start a training log sooner, because there’s a ton of value in data on yourself. Studies are good, but knowing what YOU respond to is many, many times more useful.
#4 You Don’t Know How To Push Yourself
If you go into any typical gym, probably 90% of the people you see…have never sniffed failure. Most people simply don’t know how to push themselves to where the bar is slowing drastically, they’re pushing as hard as they can, then suddenly the bar is going in the opposite direction that they want despite a truly maximal effort trying to lift it.
I’m not saying that failure is needed for muscular growth or strength increases. It’s not. But most people butcher their self-assessments of “failure” so badly that it’s a useless system for them.
The mantra of “train harder than last time” is one lacking in nuance and depth, but for the vast majority of people, it’s the truth. Learn the skill of pushing yourself and you WILL see improvement. Don’t learn it, and stay a normie forever.
#5 Blindly Following Other People
Crossfit. Athlean-x. Calisthenics. Keto. Veganism. 5x5.
There are a lot of cults in fitness, and most humans will be drawn to overly simplistic systems that don’t necessarily account for their own unique differences. But blindly following any one person or ethos is a recipe for disaster.
There is value in all of the above, but everyone has to find their own path. If you never find the courage to question those you hold in high esteem, finding that path will be extremely difficult indeed.
Be a thief. Steal brazenly from any creator or system, apply it to yourself and see if it actually works. If it doesn’t, throw it away, and maybe try it again later. If it doesn’t work several different times, bin it. See dumpster fire pic above.
If it works, keep it, but keep an eye on it, too. There are so many variables at play that sometimes it’s not those pause squats that blew up your legs but the lunges you added in as well, or the fact that you are now in a caloric surplus, or sleeping better, or you were doing too much before.
Take note of everything and comb through the data regularly to really extract the clear trends in your training so you can optimize your own system rather than just blindly copying someone else.
If you truly want to graduate from normiehood, you’ll need to address all five of these issues, and it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.