Walking into the gym every morning I get to play a game called: Which Machines Are Open Today?
Seriously, the earlier I get there, the crazier it is. I have arrived at 4:55 AM only to see the same 30 people stretching in the parking lot every morning waiting for the doors to open. These are legit psychos, and I admire all of them, but perhaps not as much as they admire themselves in the mirrors under the gym’s perfect lighting.
Most days I resort to working out on any machine that is available and camping there as long as possible, waiting for the other ones to open. It’s a weird experience, but I actually like it, since it keeps my body guessing almost as much as my muscles.
Today I got to the gym and the benches were open! Bars and plates, weights and machines, a free for all! A buffet for the hungry, a kid in a candy store, that is how it feels for the guy at the gym who gets to use whatever equipment he dang well pleases!
And so I did CHEST. Yes, my friend, you probably can’t tell that I never miss a day working out, but it is a true passion of mine despite the belly which continually interrupts the party of my admiration of progress in the gym mirror.
When you work your CHEST (and yes, I capitalize CHEST, because it is THE CHEST every man is always working out, some men do this 4 times per day between chugging protein bro shakes and crushing creatine in the mens room, and therefore, it is the main body part I rarely do with weights because it’s never an option), you focus on lifting weights that pump the CHEST, things like push ups, or laying on a bench under a heavy olympic bar (45 lbs) and then slapping weighted plates on both sides.
Some days I go heavy, but today I went for high reps, low weight. That means, you push the weight as much as you can, past the usual 12-10-8 rep pattern of lifting heavy. I was going for 20-20-20 reps today.
Starting out I felt good. Pumping iron is the closest I’ve ever felt to Arnold and a true Austrian accent. That is the voice in my head as I count reps: “Von! Tvwo! Thvee! Goood jawb meinen freunden!” (That’s my inner Arnold voice)
And then something happened within the glory of my repping, pushing, and pumping iron – I felt my neck scream!
That’s when I realized I was no longer working out my CHEST muscles, nor allowing them to do the work, or even giving them the gift of being worked out, instead I was pushing the weight with my neck!
That’s not to say the bar was on my neck. The weights weren’t on my neck. I was still doing the movements that should work the CHEST, but instead, somehow, my neck was taking all of the weight!
This has happened to me before. It actually has put me in physical therapy. I have had trainers standing in the gym next to me, watching this happen, as I’m doing the workout perfectly, with excellent form, and we realized I’m pushing with my neck to their horror and amazement at the strength of my neck.
Same has happened while doing LEGS and then hurting my BACK.
There’s not much glory in working out the neck. People aren’t walking into the gym looking to up their neck muscle game. It’s hard to flex the neck. I have a 6-pack of neck abs under this fleshy neck of mine. (I think my friend Ryan Hamilton did a routine on this whole neck bit… either at a gig we did together or on one of his specials, I can’t remember, if you can place it for me we need to share it!)
Yet, I didn’t STOP and throw the weight down, as if I did, someone would grab the bench and I’d be done with my workout.
I just slowed down, breathed, and focused.
All I had to do was REFOCUS on my CHEST.
And then – wallah – my CHEST began pushing the weight again.
Simple tweak, but it made all the difference. Pretty soon I was back to counting in my Austrian accent that was veering into Australian because that’s what happens inside my brain when I work out. Imagine Arnold and Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter having an arm wrestle – good times!
This may be the longest explanation of all-time when it comes to how we should refocus, and just like this post, I will now focus on the point!
You may be working on yourself as a parent, reading all the right books, listening to podcasts, even invested in family therapy…but not actually doing that one simple thing that will make you a better parent, such as engaging with the child who says next to nothing and listening between the words to what they’re trying to tell us with their actions.
You may be working on your business, busy every day, all day, cranking out content, rifling through emails…but it may not be the one simple thing that can move the needle, which in my case is simply getting better every time I take the stage.
You may be working on a latest project and pushing, meeting deadlines, getting closer to the finish line…but you have one simple thing you have yet to do which you know you should and just keep busy instead of hitting it head on. As is said, “Most authors have the cleanest homes. They’d rather dust than sit down and write.”
REFOCUS on the thing that needs to be FOCUSED on, otherwise you’re actually working on something that can hurt you.
Such as working your neck when pushing weight meant for your CHEST!
I promise I am working diligently on the same as a husband, father, business owner, speaker, writer, and content creator, and constantly have to refocus to get into focus.
I promise myself with every workout to REFOCUS on what needs to be FOCUSED on with every rep of the CHEST to avoid breaking the neck.
How about you?
“Von! Tvwo! Thvee! Goood jawb end fvocus ahn de CHEST!”
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Project Coach
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”