There are many important factors that account for the results you’ll get from your training: your training program, your nutrition (including supplement use), the quality and quantity of your sleep, the effort you put into your training and many other things. Among these other things is your training environment. Too much people underestimate the power of your training environment. Lifting in a weight room where you’re surrounded by people stronger than you, people that push you and where you listen to loud and angry music will make all the difference in the world.
I have known this for a while, and I actually lived it the for the first time back in 2007, when I was an intern at Robert Morris University under Todd Hamer. Before that, I was either lifting in commercial gyms or in private gyms and always with training partners that were weaker than me. At RMU, I learned what it was to be surrounded by strong people and having the ideal atmosphere. The progresses I made that summer were really surprising to me to say the least! But then I went back to lifting in a commercial gym for two years and a half and most of the time I was lifting by myself. That’s not to say that I didn’t make any progress during that time period, but it just wasn’t the same.
I have now been at Endeavor for close to a year, and I was looking back at the progress I’ve made in my training in the last year, and it’s simply amazing! I’ve put on 18 pounds (14-15 being lean muscle), I broke my deadlift PR within 3 months of being here:
I broke my front squat PR about 2-3 months ago:
and I broke my bench press PR last month. And I’m no exception. Our athletes all experience similar results. The environment in which you lift is one of the most underrated, yet very powerful factor that will influence your results. It’s about the people you surround yourself with, it’s about the atmosphere, it’s about the coaches and it’s about the music!
If you don’t have the opportunity to train in that type of facility for different reasons and you’re stuck lifting in a commercial gym here’s two things you can do:
1- Find a good training partner (ideally stronger than you) who’s going to be reliable and who’s going to push you when you need it.
2- I-Pod! If you lift in a commercial gym and you don’t have your own music, it’s been proven scientifically that your testosterone levels are dropping at an alarming rate every second you listen to Justin Bieber. And I can assure you that the lady lifting the pink dumbbells for 57 reps of curls while chatting with her friend is going to have the best of you. So do yourself a favor and load your I-Pod with angry music. For a couple of suggestions, check out my blog post Top 10 Lifting Songs. Rise Against, Korn, Rage Against the Maching, Eminem and Metallica are all decent options. But let’s face it when you’ve been listening to the same stuff for a while, you need something angrier. This is what led me over the years to become a huge fan of Slipknot and Devildriver. If you feel like your lifting music is not kicking your ass hard enough this is a good choice to bring things to the next level: