Hey Miz. I know you are a big weight lifter and I had a story I wanted to share and also ask you about. I was at the gym the other morning and a guy asked me if I could spot him (Im a woman. I also was pretty flattered because I must look stronger than I think!). I said no because I wasnt entirely sure what to do. How do I know how to spot someone.
First, thanks for calling me a big weight lifter.
I’ve no idea what you intended by phrase and am taking it as a tremendous compliment (*flexes Seussian quadriceps*).
And back ‘atcha.
I’d imagine that you appear both strong and as if you know your way around the iron (which we all know is a fake it till ya make it game) if someone asked you to spot them!
Now to your question:
Spotting is, essentially, when you assist another person during an exercise.
The point of using a spotter or a helper is that the lifter is then able to hoist or push more than she could do safely on her own.
Technically (fingerquote) proper (unFQ) spotting involves knowing when to jump in & offer a little help *during* the lift and when to JUMP IN, grab the weights and help the lifter set them down/rerack them due to fatigue (theirs. not yours. poor sentence structure.)
In my experience, *good* spotting works in the same manner as a placebo effect.
I know when Im struggling on a final repetition or two, if Ren Man just APPEARS as though he’s going to assist me it’s enough to get this stubborn ole broad me to push through a few more reps.
(wait, is that placebo effect or my being a ornery? not sure…but you get my point.)
The mere suggestion of help is often times enough to assist the lifter to push through a perceived plateau.
It’s also crucial, in my opinion, that in order to safely spot that the spotter has enough strength to be able to CONTROL the weight if the lifter bails, errr, fails.
Notice I said control.
I do spot Ren Man and, while I cant lift the same weights as he, I can help him to control the dumbbell or barbell if his strength suddenly fails.
Now, all that said, spotting is a highly personal thing. Almost like this.
People like to be spotted in different ways (“help me at the elbows” “grab my forearms”) and in different manners (”let me get thisclose to failing” “jump in as soon as I appear to struggle in any fashion!”).
For that reason and because Im always in a freakin hurry as the Tornado is forever clamoring to get OUT of the gym daycare I rarely say yes to strangers when asked to give them a spot.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of “ditching the guilt” since your guest post ages ago. Not in a good way. I enjoyed the post but then felt worse because I havent been successful at doing it. It just isn’t as easy for me as deciding I’m not going to feel guilty any more. I still feel guilty. Any tips or am I just weak?
And her partner-in-crime, BFF: Shame.
This is a tough one, I think, for all of us.
Even if we now claim to roll pretty much guilt-free none of us started out that way.
Or very, very few of us anyway (FabKate? You reading? You *know* Im looking forward to your opinion here).
Me? I come from a background where guilt is stereotypically our forte.
There are enough Jewish-guilt jokes to fill volumes of books (and movies. You seen Mother? I highly recommend it—Jewish or not) yet I know that we, Jews, definitely don’t have the market cornered on this one.
Me? I think Ive finally aged to a point where I live pretty guilt-free.
I live 100% guilt-free when it comes to food & exercise and, when I feel guilty in other aspects of my life, 99.9% of the time it’s my conscience telling me that I acted in a manner which didnt mesh with my self-definition or personal mission statement.
Healthy guilt lets us know that, in fact, we have done something hurtful or unkind.
BOTTOM LINE: All I can do, oh emailer of ours, is let you know the steps *I* took toward guilt-free living & hope that they spark an ah ha! moment for you as well.
That they might cause you to realized what will work for *you* with regards to releasing the guilt as Ive found, like with exercise & diet, no two paths are precisely the same.
*PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY (yep. that’s why I chose it as my theme for the entire year.): It was only when I started to own my actions (& realized whatever I did was a choice and not an accident) was I able to assume responsibility over my life. This idea, as Ive said before, is entirely freeing for me. I control my destiny for the majority of events in my life!
*REALIZING IM HUMAN Before I was able to live without feeling guilty about every damn
thing— it was crucial for me to acknowledge I felt guilt because what I’d done wasn’t in alignment with how I saw myself/ didnt help me grow closer to achieving my goals. Once I realized that and was able to love myself anyway I was on my way…
*FORGIVE MYSELF Two simple words and yet so tough to do. When we feel guilty about something we essentially wish we’d made a different choice/feel emotionally ‘bad’ about the choice we made. I needed to learn it was ok to forgive myself. It isn’t that I no longer *acknowledge* the fact I wish I’d behaved differently in certain situations—I just morphed from GUILT (which to me is self-punishing) to REGRET (which to me is a feeling/emotion I can learn from).
I now forgive myself, learn from my actions, & try to move forward. Which brings me to…
*MOVE FORWARD I realized if I didnt release the baggage of guilt I‘d be stuck in the same place with regards to personal growth for quite a while. Not only does guilt bring along the sidekick of shame– but the two hanging out together result in that general malaise we all know as low self-esteem/low self-worth. Remember when we talked about how to take a compliment? Do you struggle with that? Are you one who oft carries around guilt-baggage, too? I thought so…
Ok, my faithful reading Peeps.
Ive rambled at you enough for one day.
Here’s where I look to you to take over the reallyrandomreigns of today.
From spotting (do you offer? do you use one? are you like I am and avoid spotting strangers at all costs?) to losing the guilt which can feel like an inevitable part of being human—please to chime in & hit us all up in the comments.
Sally saysJuly 29, 2009 at 4:02 am
Lots of great information here and as a woman who tends to get STUCK when it comes to self forgiving I need to focus there.
For me it isn’t yet enough to learn from my actions as I keep beating myself up over things and remain in the guilt phase.
I like how you explained it.
Trying to move forward,
Bea saysJuly 29, 2009 at 4:16 am
(no one will ever ask m e to spot them LOL)
I needed to realize that I am human and I have failings before I could start to move past feeling guilty for EVEY THING in my life.
It is a process, emailer.
Crabby McSlacker saysJuly 29, 2009 at 4:47 am
I think self-critical people are more prone to guilt, and until we can change our personalities to being less self-critical, we can at least use this to our advantage.
So one trick for dealing with guilt is to think of it as an indulgence. It really is a “cheap” way of feeling better about ourselves without actually changing our behavior. It’s easier to think “Oh, I’m not the kind of person who thinks this is OK” than to change the behavior. Or, alternatively, to admit that we ARE the kind of person who thinks it’s ok, and stop beating ourselves up out of a desire to seem more virtuous than we actually are.
I try to replace abstract guilt with either an action plan for next time, or a “forgive and forget” approach. To continue berating myself for something I’m not going to change is just “ego” disguised as penitence.
Andy saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:05 am
I love your point about enough strength to control the weight when you spot not necessarily be able to LIFT IT.
Mara @ What's for Dinner? saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:06 am
Oh do I have the guilt…Jewish or otherwise. Guilt for eating right and spending too much money; guilt for NOT eating right; guilt for spending time away from home to work out and guilt for NOT working out. I need to take your lead and FORGIVE myself and BE PRESENT.
love you 🙂
Trish (@IamSucceeding) saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:12 am
For me guilt (in healthy balance of course) helps keep me honest, it is part of my trained conscience. Without a certain amount of guilt I think we all would feel free to do whatever to whomever we chose.
Hanlie saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:21 am
I don’t think anyone sees me as good spotter material. Yet!
I had a very debilitating relationship with guilt and shame for a long time, but I’m learning to let go and forgive myself. It takes a while, but it’s so worth it!
POD saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:22 am
I am a weight lifter every time I move my butt. No one needs to spot me though if they do, they’d get a huge thrill.
As for guilt…’healthy guilt?’ Never heard of it. Heard someone once say it’s a useless ’emotion.’ I try not to feel guilty. I might have to eat over it and double the fun.
I am up WAY too early. Couldn’t sleep but surviving.
Samantha saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:25 am
LOL at Shame being Guilt’s BFF & sidekick.
I needed the laugh as this is a serious and sad topic for me.
But I’m working on it.
Diane, fit to the finish saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:36 am
For me a little guilt goes a long way. When I feel guilty for something it’s usually because I should! 🙂
But, I try to turn whatever experience I had that made me feel that way into a lesson for myself to not make that particular decision again!
dragonmamma/naomi w. saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:36 am
I never spot strangers. Too many of them don’t know what the heck they’re doing and they DO expect you to do part of the lifting for them.
Guilt? Why should I feel guilt? I’m innocent, I tell ya, innocent!
Susan saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:36 am
I’ve never been asked to spot, nor do I ever ask anyone to spot me. Most of the guys in the weight room look at me pretty apprehensively as is, I’m sure they’re getting ready to run to my rescue if I drop a weight (which I’ve come close to doing, pretty darn scary actually).
I’ve actually gotten pretty good at dealing with guilt! I thank my mom for that one 😉
Miz saysJuly 29, 2009 at 5:38 am
More when the Tornado downgrades to a tropical storm.
Dragonmamma? Your comment brought to mind Jim Gaffigans (sp?) stand up routine about a spotter who is shouting at him:
ITS ALL YOU!!!
To which J.G. responds:
How about LESS of me & MORE of you!
cammy saysJuly 29, 2009 at 6:16 am
Since I am (apparently) invisible at the gym, I have no spotter. I’m not sure I would want the responsibility of being one either. I might break a nail. Or someone’s head. 🙂
As for guilt, who me? Yes, me. An ongoing struggle, some legitimate, some not. Still trying to sort it all out.
Hope the tornado is on the mend…
Terry saysJuly 29, 2009 at 6:23 am
THAT IS IT FOR ME.
When I feel guilt is truly because my actions don’t mesh which who I want to be.
Sagan saysJuly 29, 2009 at 6:36 am
Never been asked to spot or have gotten someone else to spot me. I never really “got” the whole spotting thing. And I’m pretty sure that people would take one look at me struggling with 8 or 10 pounders and then move onto someone who can lift a bit more, haha.
I like the steps that you’ve taken to relieve guilt- will keep those in mind when the guilty conscience kicks in (as it so often does).
Leah J. Utas saysJuly 29, 2009 at 6:38 am
I got nothing. I don’t lift weights, and feeling guilty requires a conscience.
Cynthia (It all changes) saysJuly 29, 2009 at 6:56 am
I don’t spot anyone because I’m afraid to do so with my back. I’m strong but don’t know if I have the confidence to even help with a larger weight. And I tyr to use things like the smith machine to avoid spotters myself. If I’m going to lift heavier things I either do it with my trainer or ask Hunni to come with me.
The guilt is big for me. I have a major guilty conscious and I’ve been working on it for a long time. Lately I’ve had to stop and ask myself if there was anything I could do to change the situation. If not than I really shouldn’t feel guilty because I had done my best. Still hard but it helps.
debby saysJuly 29, 2009 at 7:01 am
This was a great post with a lot of info!
Mostly, I just want to say–the movie ‘Mother’ is fabulous–a must-watch for ANYONE with a mother.
I think I am doing pretty well in the guilt department right now. When I have the correct view of God and His view of me, there is much less guilt in my life.
tricia2 saysJuly 29, 2009 at 7:23 am
Creepy, I just e-mailed you about a non-fitness thing and asked if I was a bad person for being selfish.
FitHungrygurl saysJuly 29, 2009 at 7:40 am
Hi Miz! I’ve been gone for a minute. But I wanted to come back and say hello!
I’m gonna get back to reading all my favorite bloggers starting next week. I’m looking forward to reading more of your inspirational posts.
Hannah saysJuly 29, 2009 at 8:02 am
I love the movie Mother (adore albert brooks) and fear the movie Mother.
I’m a fellow tribemember 🙂
erin saysJuly 29, 2009 at 8:44 am
I would have said no to spotting as well. No one’s ever asked me, however. Not too shocking since more often than not I wimp out on the weights if there are a bunch of men in the area and just use my dumbbells at home instead. I know that’s lame.
Gigi saysJuly 29, 2009 at 8:45 am
Love your message about guilt. You’re right – once you start taking personal responsibility for yourself, almost everything else falls into place.
Marste saysJuly 29, 2009 at 9:27 am
Ooh, I love the end of Crabby’s comment:
To continue berating myself for something I’m not going to change is just “ego” disguised as penitence.
A lot of times, we – er, *I* – feel horribly guilty about things that others have long since gotten over. I’ll beat myself up over something all day (sometimes for multiple days) and the person in question DOESN’T EVEN REMEMBER the incident. And I’ve known people (not been guilty of this one myself, thank God) who feel so guilty that they’ll KEEP apologizing for something long after I would have gotten over it. And after the 4th or 5th apology, I am well and truly angry about the incident – even though I might not have given it a second thought before then.
I think it’s the same for diet and exercise to a certain extent. If I eat a handful of chips, my body won’t “remember” it tomorrow. But if I feel so guilty that I keep “bringing it up” in the form of bingeing, well, now my body’s PISSED OFF.
ANYWAY. All that to say that at some point, I think Crabby’s right. At some point it stops being true penitence and becomes an exercise in ego.
Or as my mom is fond of telling my dad, “IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU, YOU KNOW.”
Dr. J saysJuly 29, 2009 at 9:29 am
This was a wonderful post to read! Lots of useful information and strategies. You have the best commenters on the Net!
Quix saysJuly 29, 2009 at 9:42 am
I’ve gotten better at living without guilt. I realize that not every single choice has to be a step toward accomplishing some big and awesome goal. Sometimes, I choose to eat the fries instead of the veggies because they taste good. It’s not because I fail as a person, it’s because I am making the priority of enjoying myself now higher than accomplishing a weight loss goal .0004% faster (I also realize that I can’t do that all the time or it won’t happen – if I fall into bad habits a little healthy guilt is in order, but only if it is coupled with a plan of attack to change).
I spent years feeling GUILTY about being obese, but I wasn’t ready to do anything about it. That was such a waste. I’ve since decided that I either attack something, or put it out of my mind and attack something else. If I’m not willing to take steps to change it today, it’s not worth worrying about because guilt is EXHAUSTING.
OOoooh I could write up a whole post on that. Have to file this topic away for another day…
Fab Kate saysJuly 29, 2009 at 10:05 am
LOL you KNOW I’m ALWAYS reading, Carla…
I don’t think anyone is 100% guilt free unless they’re a sociopath. They can be 100% UNREALISTIC guilt free, and I think that’s probably where you’re going with this.
Of course, as you pointed out, there is such a thing as healthy guilt, and it’s important to help us change or moderate our behavior. Some people may call this “the god within” or some such. It’s conscience, and every sane person has one.
I think the problem is for some people that the level of guilt they feel is out of proportion with the event they feel guilty for. So you miss that one day at the gym. Big deal. Maybe you shouldn’t have, but if you feel bad about it, you’ll go next time. If you obsess over it, it’s no good for sure, let it go and move on. On the other hand, if you miss every day at the gym and have taken to sitting on the couch watching soaps all day and popping bonbons, it’s a lot healthier to feel a lot of guilt (if it gets you up off your butt) than to “forgive yourself” and blow it off.
The problem with guilt is that it gets to spiraling out of control if you don’t resolve it with either forgiveness or a change in behavior. Sometimes a change in behavior isn’t possible, and you just have to forgive and move on.
I think that a lot of people have difficulty deciding what actions that generated guilt can be changed, and what can’t. Some people would rather forgive everything in themselves rather than do the work to change themselves. I find a lot of times these people talk a lot about self forgiveness, and use this as an excuse not to change, or in some cases, even to recognize that what they did was wrong.
It’s unfortunate that we live in a “feel good” society where unpleasant feelings and discomfort are glossed over, ignored, or medicated. In most cases, those feelings are our mind’s cue that something is wrong, something we need to change. All unpleasant feelings are not pathological.
Normal to Natalie saysJuly 29, 2009 at 10:28 am
I recently participated in a Bible Study called “Guilt Free Motherhood” and it was fabulous for teaching me how to deal with guilt in all areas of my life! More or less I have learned that we can’t be governed by our emotions but by what we know to be right and wrong. this is especially true with eating for me!!!
oh and i did a post today with before/after pictures of me and my 80lbs lost!
She-Fit saysJuly 29, 2009 at 10:48 am
Great information! I just soak it all up. As for spotting… I run as far away from those people as possible! The key, looks down and don’t make eye contact with you think someone is going to ask 🙂 haha
Guilt-Free comes to me when I know I have done my best in everything and accomplishing that which was on my priority list and working down. When I start feeling the guilt I remind myself of this
the Bag Lady saysJuly 29, 2009 at 11:12 am
You mean there are emotions in the world OTHER than guilt???!!! Who knew…
deb saysJuly 29, 2009 at 11:27 am
I have never asked to spot -beyond saying to someone “that’s 12, you can do 13.. “. I DO ask for spotting help when I fear I will quit/fail/chicken out on the last set of a heavy weight lift. And, yes, just having someone there ready to help me and verbally encouraging me is often enough.
I think the verbal encouragment -or even verbal cueing- is a key point of spotting that many don’t use.
And way too often I do less because I fear doing so without the spot.
The Crazy Woman Inside Me saysJuly 29, 2009 at 11:57 am
Lots of great info, Carla! While I’m not Jewish, I grew up with a heaping lethal mix of Greek and Irish guilt which left me cloaked in remorse for just about everything I thought or did until the last 10 years or so. Happily, today I’m as close to being guilt-free as ever and, whew, what a relief!
As for spotting, seriously, the only use of that term a non-fit, non-gym-rat woman like me is familiar with has to do with my time of the month.
Aw hell, I probably shouldn’t have said that. Now I feel guilty…and ashamed.
bjbella5 saysJuly 29, 2009 at 11:58 am
“Ahhh, Guilt. And her partner-in-crime, BFF: Shame.”
Love that! Great post.
Mary Meps saysJuly 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm
I workout solo at home, so am never in a spotter position.
Guilt was tough to give up. I designed *fail safes* into my rules to help with that. As long as I followed the rules, there was no reason to feel guilty. I also changed my focus. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing better. That helped, too.
Melissa saysJuly 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm
Crabby is so right: “So one trick for dealing with guilt is to think of it as an indulgence. It really is a “cheap” way of feeling better about ourselves without actually changing our behavior.” My Buddhist priest therapist told me a long time ago that guilt is “a false emotion” for this very reason.
I never have been very into guilt. (Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a Jewish mother?) I like to save guilt for when I’ve done something really bad. Which of course isn’t often…? 😛 I just substitute being annoyed with myself on the more mundane matters, like not exercising or eating a bag of Cheetos.
Bears saying again that I loved that guest post a couple days ago about “Just saying yes!” That’s really helping me.
charlotte saysJuly 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm
The guilt I have also not been able to kick (although these days I’m too tired to give it more than a cursory nod) but SPOTTING, well that I have plenty of opinions on;) I’m all about the spotting after dropping two 30-lb dumbbells on my chest. Owie.
Jody - Fit at 51 saysJuly 29, 2009 at 3:37 pm
Love your posts as always!
On spotting, like you, it is hard to spot others you do not know. I am in the gym when not many people are there so what I do is ask how they like their spotting.. elbows, forearms.. whatever it is. I also ask their opinion on “jumping in”. My opinion may be like yours, Miz but that may not be theirs! 🙂
As for your guilt part, I just love reading things to help me on this. I am going to read & reread this. BUT, I have gotten to a point where I can go out on the weekends & just sit, read, do nothing much, accomplish nothing much but R&R and NOT feel guilty! Yahoo! Being Jewish, I understand the Jewish guilt! 🙂
PS: A small mention of you in my tomorrow post…
Spring Girl saysJuly 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm
Sometimes I actually feel guilty about self forgiveness like I’m letting myself off too easily. It’s not very helpful though.
Geosomin saysJuly 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Very true…guilt can hold you back from doing so many amaxing things 🙂
Michelle at No Time to Weight saysJuly 29, 2009 at 9:13 pm
Great post! Oh, if I could only have someone to spot me at each weight training session – would be heaven!! lol I definitely offer AND take up anyone who offers to me because I jump at the chance to get in a challenging set 🙂
I find as I get older, I am getting better at letting go of guilt. I am definitely not 100% there but I see a huge improvement as time passes. I think becoming a mother has a lot to do with it as I don’t want my girls to have a lot of the issues I grew up feeling.
Andrea saysJuly 30, 2009 at 7:09 am
this post was totally meant for me (and I’m not joking) I feel guilty when I say NO to people who ask me to spot them.
Send help 🙂