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  1. #1
    MuscleMecca God
    bodybuilding reputation Andy Bruchey's Avatar
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    Sep 2018

    Keeping Your Ego in Check

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    Regardless of what we try to accomplish in life, be it a career move, securing a sports or supplement contract, starting a business, or building a better physique, one of the underlying consistencies permeating virtually endeavor, is the tendency we have as humans to both over inflate the value and importance of what we are doing, or have done, as well as to also deflate that said value on different days. These flip flops can be a result of which side of the bed you woke up on or perhaps, a snarky comment from a rival was all it took for you to feel a bit defeated. Regardless of the origin, the fact is that no matter your mood or mental inclinations, the value and quality of the endeavor will remain intact. It's just up to you to view it from a healthy mindset so as to facilitate a healthy and positive outlook, and thus continued growth. This applies to bodybuilding, business building, relationship building, and so on. It's important to stay positive, but not arrogant. Keeping your ego in check is imperative if you want to truly make progress, as opposed to spending your energy playing flip flop mind games within your own head.

    I've been an Austin personal trainer for over 20 years as well as a gym owner for well over a decade now. In that time I have worked with many professional athletes, including top tier bodybuilders. As silly as this may sound, but the one common thread they all share, is that they are all human. In other words, they are subjected to variations in confidence, including the ability to go to either extreme. It's simply human nature. As an example, I remember standing in front of the mirror with a very well known former IFBB competitor and simply observed as he stared intently at his reflection with a bewildered expression on his face. Before I could ask him what he was thinking, he uttered " My God, I'm so skinny, is all of this effort for nothing?" I could only laugh as I reminded him that he was a whisker shy of 300 pounds and he would be best served with a nap in order to restore some reality to his thought process. Conversely, I've trained clients who are the polar opposite in that they have over inflated their accomplishments to the point where the best way to describe it would be a kitten looking into the mirror thinking a full grown lion is staring back at him. It's utter ridiculousness in either case scenario, and ultimately, it's a complete waste of time and energy.

    One way to prevent your ego from getting in the way of your progress, is to simply leave it in neutral, so to speak. I had a young man join my gym, the Austin Fitness Center, a few years ago, and after shunning my friendly professional advice that he should do one exercise over another because of a glaringly obvious postural imbalance by saying he's read the same magazines as I have, went on to injure his back badly enough that he was out for the better part of 6 months. Had he piped down and put his ego in check, he would have 6 months of gains under his belt as opposed to that same number of months of bed rest and a lot of physical discomfort.

    One method of keeping your ego in check, is to not constantly compare yourself to other people in the gym, or anywhere, for that matter. It is absolutely irrelevant how much weight the guy across the room can lift, or even what he looks like, when it comes to me seeking to achieve the most possible progress on my own hypertrophy, strength, or conditioning. It's fine to acknowledge someone else's accomplishments, genetics, work ethic, and so on, but to compare yourself to others, unless we're doing a competitive posing routine in a bodybuilding show, is a diversion of where you should be focusing your energy. Whenever we compare ourselves to others, one of 2 things usually happens. If we compare ourselves to someone who is just breaking into the activity we've been fine tuning our skills in for years, you will likely generate an air of undeserved confidence as you're comparing apples to grapefruits. If you flip the equation and compare yourself as a beginner or intermediate level trainee to a person who's not only been doing it far longer than you, and also possesses vastly superior genetics, you'll only be beating yourself up and feeling unnecessarily inadequate. If you were to simply focus on building the best possible version of you, and let the others toil away on their proverbial side of the room, you'd not only get a lot more work done, but you'll help maintain a realistic and grounded view of where you are in the process, as well as what you have accomplished thus far.

    One of the things that I have come to realize in my own quest for realism and sanity when it comes to my appearance, though by no means am I a competitive bodybuilder, or even remotely vain, is to realize that on different days you will appear different. If you eat more dairy than your body is accustomed to, for example, you could easily suffer from some bloating. If you ingested too much sodium and blew up into a water balloon over the next few hours, it's important to bear in mind why you had a distended stomach and looked 8 months pregnant. It's only a temporary thing and you should be able to both shrug it off, as well as have the foresight to avoid making the same mistake down the road if it makes you that uncomfortable to possibly have a bit of a belly. The other important, but oft times overlooked thing to consider, is that if you glance in the mirror at the gym, or anywhere for that matter, and you like the looks of lets say, your pectoral development one day, but not the next, perhaps consider that you had 2 different shirts on and the lighting was different as well. That has a huge bearing on how we appear in the mirror, as well as to others.

    Whether we are holding a bit of water subcutaneously or not is a realistic worry of very few people in this world. They literally, as well as figuratively, are on a different stage than most of us mortals, yet somehow, they too must find a way of keeping the ego in check. My best professional advice is to not worry about it unless you're getting paid to do so. It matters little how much weight you can lift compared to the guy next to you, unless of course, you're both competitive powerlifters. Otherwise, if you are able to heave even a great deal more weight than they are, what do you get for your efforts? Massive respect, a trophy, and a pocket full of cash? No, you don't even get a balloon for your efforts. The bottom line is that it's irrelevant, and if you let your ego take over and endlessly seek attention and validation, you'll be on a merry go round that is very hard to get off. With all the social media permeating it's way into gyms these days, and the seemingly endless flood of selfies roaring through cyberspace, one little thing occurs to me, and that is the importance of seeking to maintain a calm, and well earned respect that eminates from within, as opposed to seeking attention from others. It's far more satisfying and longer lasting.

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    Last edited by TalkAdmin; 09-24-2018 at 09:11 AM.
    My name is Andy Bruchey and I have been a personal trainer in Austin, TX to the pros and the Joes for over 20 years now. I founded the Austin Fitness Center gym back in 2007 and live with my wife of 20 years Aleksandra and our 2 children Ana and Luka.

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  2. #2
    Junior Member bodybuilding reputation Jayson's Avatar
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    Jun 2019

    Re: Keeping Your Ego in Check

    Well, I think everyone should care what others think - to a certain point. In that case, I somewhat agree with the article - and think people, to an extent, should avoid comparisons.

    Anyway, some examples of what I view as good "negative reinforcement" would be situations where people are obviously goofing off at the gym! Should we be upset at teasing directed toward those people? I don't think so.

  3. #3
    Member bodybuilding reputation
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Re: Keeping Your Ego in Check

    Great advice. Plus being humble can make a person a great human being. It allows them to help other people who are having a difficult time doing a certain task. And they have a high score in agreeableness in the Big Five Personality traits which has a great impact on their helpfulness. Also, they are open-minded respectful people which makes them valuable in a society.

    Last edited by Concentrix; 11-12-2019 at 11:35 PM. Reason: Duplicate paragraph



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